Why Join A Running Club?
‘If you want to run fast, go alone…
If you want to run far, go with others” African Proverb
I love this quote, and It can be applied as to why it is better to run in a group, or join a running group
Running not very far and fast is OK and usually you can cope with that on your own, but running far can be tedious and hard, best to have some running buddies to lighten the load
There are lots of great reasons to join a running club, here are the main ones
Coaching- many running clubs (especially Lazy Runner) are run by trainers or coaches and this is the best way to learn how to run safely and effectively. The way people approach running always amazes me! When most people want to take up a new skill, sport or hobby they usually go and get some training or coaching, like Golf or Tennis lessons, swimming coaching etc…however, often with running, people just go out there, take off like a lunatic, run a couple of hundred metres, wonder why they can’t breathe and can’t go on and stop and then tell everyone, ‘Oh I can’t run, I’ve tried I just can’t’.
Running like all sports, is a skill, it requires some training, and takes time to get it just right. A running club that has a trainer can show you the right way to run, and once you learn how to run then there is no looking back. A trainer can also give you tips on training methods and how to improve your running or train for a specific running event.
Accountability- Running requires discipline and I say to be a runner and to stay a runner you need to run 3 or 4 times a week, so if you are part of a club you are far more likely to turn up and run. Also if you have told the trainer or other runners that you are planning to enter a 10km fun run, a half marathon or even a marathon, once you have put it out there, you feel more compelled to work at it and achieve it, just by turning up at the sessions
Motivation- The thought of turning up to a session and being trained or told a course to run on, with your goal to complete a run, can be very motivational. As opposed to waking up, lying in bed and tossing up whether you should get up and go for a run! When running its is best to set small goals and work at them and the easiest way to do that is to turn up at your running club, where there are other runners working on their own goals. Motivation comes from being around other motivated people and running clubs are full of those type of people. Your goals may be to improve your distances or your speed etc, you are more motivated to work on your goals when you have a group of fellow runners with the same goals to support you.
Social- Running can be boring and lonely sport, out there plodding along on your own. Sometimes we like the solitude of running, but other times when it feels hard or tedious it’s good to have someone to have chat with or just run alongside. You don’t have to be running in the group the whole time or with someone all the way to get the social benefits of a running group. Warming up with someone, or doing your stretches afterwards and chatting, or going for a coffee after your run are the social aspects of Running Clubs
Meeting like-minded people- When we were younger, We usually did our sport in teams or groups , like footy , netball or cricket, where there are many people the same age that have the same sporting outlook and interests...however, when we get in our thirties and over we tend to not participate as much at team sports, and then we can lose contact with our team mates.
Running like all sports attracts people with similar goals and lifestyles, so it’s great to able to compare notes on races and events and to just talk running to other runners. I know over the years, my family and my friends, all who were non-runners, would give me either glazed over looks or looks of horror if I talked about my running training…non-runners don’t seem interested in hearing about our huge long runs, our blisters or our sore ITBs, but other runners are fascinated!
Fun- Yes running can be fun! I have spent many runs with Lazy Runners laughing a lot of the way or having a bit of friendly, fun competition when training, laughing at myself or someone else!
Competition- many runners cringe when this word is mentioned, however, I mean healthy competition. There is nothing more stimulating and exhausting than chasing someone who is faster than you or trying to beat your running buddy, and them in turn trying to beat you. Runners usually have one main competitor and that is themselves, but to beat yourself (meaning your last run time) you need to work harder and one way to do that is to push yourself against the members of your running group, it’s a win /win for all involved and yes it can be fun!
Improve your running- The advice you can get from the trainer or coach of your group or the other members is invaluable. If you are out there just running and no idea really of what you are doing you run the risk of becoming injured from either over training or training the wrong way. There is a right way to run and coaching and advice from other runners who have been there and done that can really help you prevent making mistakes with your running. The best advice and ideas on running I have had over the years has more often been from my running buddies rather than all the work and education I have had in the fitness industry
Troubleshooting running groups
Elite clubs- there are some clubs that tend to be a bit elitist with their runners, running times, their running gear and their strong competitive edge. If this is the sort of running club you are looking for then great, go for it. I have had many runners come to Lazy Runner after going to a group that said it was for all runners but once there felt very out of their league and not at all welcome…the best way to avoid heading off to the wrong group is to research it, there should be a contact person and really pin them down about what type of club it is? how fast the runners are? what distances they run? general age group, percentage of males to females? etc…I often get emails from people with all of these questions and I answer the questions very honestly, so hopefully most groups will be honest with you…word of mouth is often a good indicator as well, so see if you can talk to some of the runners in the group
Non-runners- some running clubs like their runners to have a 5km run base or more and some take anyone and everyone. However, if you are a non-runner and have never run, you need to know that the group you are going to is prepared to teach you how to run , and not just run away on you each week…that won’t be much fun and you will not learn any new running skills from this, so once again you need to know that if you turn up and cannot run that you are welcome and someone will be there to help you…Lazy Runner takes total non-runners and turns them into runners!
Beginners- many groups (Lazy Runner) have a beginners session, and this is great, it is basically for people who have never run or have been out of running for a while and want to get back into it. The great thing is that all the runners will have less than 5km running ability with the goal to get to that 5km running all the way. I strongly suggest that non-runners start off at a club that offers a beginners program, Often once you get to the 5km mark (doesn’t matter how slowly as long as you can run it) you will then have the confidence to join in some of the other running sessions held by that club.
Excuses- I don’t know how many times people have said to me, I am going to join your running group, but first I am going to get out there by myself and get good at running and them come along! This is like saying, ‘Oh quick the house cleaner is coming I better clean up!”, if you are thinking about getting into running or getting fitter or joining a group, go and do it now, don’t wait…you will reach your goals far quicker by going along as soon as you have decided to make the change in your life than by putting it off.
Another common excuse I hear from people are ‘I can’t join a running club, I am too slow everyone will be waiting for me”. The majority of running clubs are really not about speed. The distances of the runs usually are up to approx 5- 10km. I can’t speak for other clubs, but I know Lazy Runner clubs do not mind how slow the runner is or who is last, and the trainer waits for all runners to finish.
Types of Running Groups
Business Running Groups- Lazy Runner clubs and many other running groups are businesses. They are run by qualified, fitness trainers who often have a running background and offer a variety of services, like coaching, running programs, running improvement and set runs. All of the sessions are facilitated by the trainer and you just need to turn up and run. People come along to these groups for a variety of reasons, to get running, improve their running, get fitter, lose weight or train for events…fees are charged either per session or per program or annual fees. They usually offer three or four sessions a week with sessions based on training for speed, strength or endurance and offer a variety of running programs
Lazy Runner FAQ
Social Running groups- these groups are more casual and often set up by an individual or a council based program and offer purely social running of varying distances in the local area. Mostly they are fee free or charge a minimal amount. Try contacting your council office for more details.
Athletic Clubs- or also known as sporting associations, are usually run by a committee and are set up to promote athletics in their local area. They are non profit but usually charge an annual registration fee for insurance purposes and may charge a small amount per session. Many Athletic clubs have running events or coaching sessions attached them, the sessions are usually taken by members of the committee or group. Athletic clubs often organise running events as well, where the member get involved on race days and help out with organising the events
Hash House Harriers-Hash House Harriers, commonly known as 'The Hash’, started as a social running group in Kaula Lumpar in 1938 by a group of British expats who decided to get together and go for a run on Monday evenings. There are more over 1800 hash groups over 6 continents. They are a non-profit association and operate on a committee system and all members of the hash group are expected to commit some time and effort to setting up the running sessions and catering for the runners after a session.
The Hash accepts all runner and in some case walkers, but there are few rules that need to be abided by once a part of the Hash, you are required to have a drink (alcoholic) after each session, which goes with their well-known slogan ‘we are a drinking club with a running problem'. You do not use your real name when attending the hash, you will be given a hash name, which you may or may not like. Most Hash runs are in the evenings and usually incur a small cost of between $3 -$8 per run which can include food and a drink.
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