Runner club. Those two words, when spoken together, have the power to instil dread in the hearts of nearly anybody. Even if you know better, pictures of whippet-thin runners in Lycra pounding out mile-repeats at a speed you couldn’t even hope to maintain for 30 seconds are likely to come to mind. While some of these organisations exist, they aren’t the norm! In today’s society, there is a club for every interest and skill level. Do you want to go head-to-head with those speed demons? Take a chance! Would you rather hop from one brunch location to the next every Sunday? For that, there are clubs!
In today’s society, we have a plethora of running clubs to choose from. All you have to decide is whether you want a serious or sociable setting, and if you are willing to pay a membership fee (there are lots of free clubs!). Then simply attend a session! There’s a running club out there for you – just keep in mind that, like everything else, you might need to try on a few different ones to see which one fits you best.
Here are my top five reasons why you should keep looking for your perfect match:
- You’ll make friends and meet a lot of individuals who share your interests.
Your non-running friends and family are probably sick of hearing you whine about your blistering feet or having to devote an entire Saturday to running 20 miles (‘But you knew this would happen when you signed up for a marathon,’ they’ll remark, utterly missing the point). Join a running club to talk about your problems with individuals who know what you’re going through. Joining a running club is also a great way to meet new people if you’re new to town or just want to broaden your social circle.
After all, you already have something in common to discuss! I joined London City Runners nearly as soon as I moved from sunny California to London, and I quickly discovered that it was the ideal way to get to know my new city and meet new people.
- Your running will vastly improve!
You’ll always be able to locate someone a little faster than you to chase after in a club because members come in different speeds and skills. Even if you don’t want to compete, discovering that you can run faster than you believed possible is hugely motivating. You can also participate in interval workouts arranged by the club, which might be frightening or complicated to handle on your own. The exercise will be designed for you by coaches or club volunteers, so all you have to do is show up and run fast!
- You’ll have a lot more motivation.
Have you ever looked out your window on a dreary winter evening and chosen to curl up beneath a blanket on the couch rather than go for a run? It’s a lot easier to face the bad weather when you know there are hundreds of other individuals who are also putting on their running shoes and braving the elements. Even if you are not required to attend, knowing that others will be present can make the difference in getting out the door!
4. You’ll socialise and have a good time.
Most people will remain around after the run, perhaps for a coffee or beer, giving you the opportunity to meet new people without having to try to converse while gasping for oxygen! Apart from regular post-run talks, some clubs may provide separate social events so you can meet fellow members in a less sweaty and odorous setting (though you may struggle to identify individuals when they aren’t dressed for exercise!). My club, London City Runners, provides a wide range of social events, from curry evenings to theatre excursions to seminars led by running coaches and professional athletes, and it is one of the aspects of the club that our members appreciate the most.
5. You’ll get a lot of help.
Joining a running club will provide you with your own personal cheer squad. Not only will you have a group of individuals who will push you to take steps toward your objectives, but you’ll also receive a wealth of training ideas and guidance, and you’ll always have people cheering you on during events – which may make all the difference when the going gets tough! Your teammates want to see you reach your objectives, whether it’s to run a 5K without stopping or set a new marathon personal best – and will be a tremendous source of inspiration and support.
One of the finest things you can do for yourself and your running is to join a running club. So, what do you have to lose?