I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, and now that it is beginners month with @ukrunchat, it seemed very apt to finally finish and publish it.
If you are thinking of taking up running, or you want to take your running to the next level, join a club. It seems like the scariest thing in the world; How can you join when you are not a proper runner? Will you be too slow? What if no-one speaks to you? The negative thoughts go on and on. But seriously it is the best thing that I ever did. I’m not saying joining a run club works for everyone, but finding the right running club for you will increase your enjoyment of running x 100.
I had tried a running club when I lived in Surrey, and even though I enjoyed it at the time, I got injured as I was trying to keep up with a very fast paced group and had to stop going after the third week. When I had recovered I didn’t go back, I just preferred plodding on my own, at my own pace.
Now that I have joined Team Balancise, it is awesome. Definitely, the best decision I have made for my running. From day one, I have enjoyed every session. I have met a wonderful group of people and I look forward to training every week.
So, what are the benefits of joining a club? Here are just a few I can think of:
- You meet like-minded people. Runners are a special type, and at a running club, everyone is that same ‘type’ as you! There is no such thing as TMI when it comes to runners, we share all sorts of information with each other, that any Muggles (non-runners) just wouldn’t understand!
- You can talk about running until your heart’s content, and your club mates will join in too! They actually like your running status on social media, and are really pleased for you when your run goes well! They understand when you are excited about the PB you got, and they are often just as excited for you.
- Training runs are always so much more fun as you have people to run with. My training cycle for London this year was so much more enjoyable as I chatted my way around most of my long runs, and then was pushed to work harder through all of my speed sessions.
- My club mates are so supportive. If I ever had a wobble during the lead up to London, they always gave sensible advice and gave me the belief that I could do it. Seeing them on the sideline at London gave me a huge boost.
- Being part of a club also helps you to find out about local races. I know most races are advertised all over the internet, but I have found out about so many local races through my club. I would have never competed in the Peterborough Half Marathon had it not been for TB, but I loved it and will be doing it again!
- The coaches push you harder than you would push yourself on your own, but they also are able to adapt the session for all abilities, so you never feel out of your depth.
- The sessions are always varied. Running the same route, the same pace and at the same time, each week can quickly become boring. Being part of a club means you run a variety of routes, lots of different types of sessions and quite often all the sessions you try to avoid when on your own!
- In the correct club, your running improves. I have definitely become a better runner since joining a club. I am better at pacing, I am better at training, and I love my running SO much more.
- On the days you really don’t feel like running, but you have made arrangements to meet a club mate, you go and you always feel better afterwards.
- Clubs are full of so much experience. For most people, there will always be people faster than you, runs longer than you and vice versa. You can learn from all of them!
I am sure that there are many, many more reasons to join a club, so feel free to add your reasons below. If you are not part of a club, and you are thinking about it, my advice; do it! If it’s not the right club for you, find another because when you find the right club, you’ll love running just that little bit more.