First off, I need to apologize for the lack of posts for the past couple of months. Between the holiday break and getting closer and closer to my wedding date (a little over 3 more months to go!) things kind of got crazy and blogging sort of fell off my radar. However, I do want to be better about posting, especially since I keep coming up with new ideas of things to write about. Clearly I need some kind of environment to chat, even if it ends up to only be me reading these posts in the end. Alright, now that I got all of that covered, let's jump into my experience so far with running groups.
A few months ago, I joined one of my friend's running groups. I was worried about joining a group, because I am a relatively slow runner (9-10 minute per mile pace on a good day) and I didn't want the pressure of keeping up with a fast pace. However, my friend assured me that the group is very social and more supportive than competitive. Now that's my style!
I had originally tried running with another group, but found that the pace was way too fast for me and I couldn't really enjoy myself or talk to other people since I was out of breath for the majority of the time. In the end I came to the wrong conclusion that running with people wasn't for me. I'm glad I was able to give running groups a second chance and was able to find one that really fit with what I wanted. So as you can probably tell from earlier posts, I'm a list maker through and through and jotted a few things down that I really enjoy about running with a running group.
1. Makes the time go by quicker- I was really surprised by this one because I don't listen to music when I go out with the running group. I thought that a 2 hour run would drag by, but surprisingly it actually goes by faster than it used to. It's a lot of fun to be able to chat with people about everything and anything while being in a pressure free environment.
2. Try out new routes- I tended to do the same long run path over and over again since I was always worried about trying a new route and getting lost or having to run longer than expected. I didn't realize how extremely boring it was. I'm lucky that the person who organizes the running group (whom we like to call our fearless leader) always has a fun new route to try and never gets us lost. It really is great being able to learn new routes for future reference.
3. Meet new people, and not in a superficial way- If you are going to sweat with someone for miles, you definitely bond with them pretty quickly. I love being able to meet a diverse set of people who all share a common interest.
4. Motivation- It is very motivating to know that the group is going to always run at the same time on the same day week in and week out. It makes it super easy to plan around (not that I would probably be awake at that time if it wasn't for the group anyways!). It really motivates me to go every week just to catch up with the people.
5. It's healthy because you are indeed running- Talk about killing two birds with one stone- you can chat AND do something extremely healthy at the same time. It's kind of the best thing ever.
6. Get tips from other runners- This was one benefit I hadn't thought of before but has become so valuable to me. It is so helpful to be able to talk about any problem areas you are having and if other runners have experienced similar things. It is also helpful to see other people's good habits and adopt them for yourself. One example is eating some kind of energy gel once every hour and making sure you have enough water to follow up on each gel. I notice I start to fade if I don't eat something to refuel my body.
7. Learn about upcoming races- Although I am often perusing runningintheusa.com, it is nice to hear about fun races people have done in the past or are going to do in the future.
8. Safety in numbers- For whatever reason, I feel a lot safer when I go out for a run in certain parts of the city when I'm with a bunch of other people. It's easier for cars to see a decent size group over just one person. Plus it's nice to have extra eyes to look for oncoming traffic.
9. Keeps you accountable- you want to make sure you put in those shorter runs each week so you are ready to go on the long runs during the weekend. If you don't, you will definitely be feeling it during the run which makes it harder to chat with people (since you will likely be out of breath).
10. Fun! I've had a blast so far with this group. I feel really lucky that I was able to find such an awesome group of people who are interested in running and fitness just like I am.
While I'm sure there are other reasons out there that are motivating me to keep running with my group, these are the ones that seem to stand out in my mind so far. Hopefully this might convince some of you to try something new, even if it isn't specifically a running group. Joining a club or group is really a great way to meet people when you are an adult, plus it helps motivate you to continue pursuing your interests and hobbies.