The Pros and Cons of Joining a Running Club
If you want to get started with a regular running routine, but don't want to run on your own all the time, then a running club might be right up your alley. Running clubs are merely collectives or organizations that get together to run on a regular basis. The basic idea behind clubs of this ilk is that, by running with other people, you will be able to keep your motivation alive better than you would be on your own.
Running clubs act both as communities and support systems, adding both a social element and a facet of collaboration to the running process. While running is a solo sport, running clubs are built on the idea that it can be communal when enjoyed with other people. As with any other organization, there can be both pros and cons to joining a running club. We've compiled a list of both sides of the argument below, to help you decide whether or not a running club is the right choice for you!
Positive Effects of Joining a Running Club
- You get to train in a group setting
- You will get tips and advice from other runners
- It’s a great way to meet people
- You'll establish and chase new goals for fitness and running
- You will feel encouraged to adopt healthier habits in other parts of your life
Track teams and cross country teams aren't successful only because of the talent of their individual runners, but also because of the familial atmosphere that forms when you work as a team. Training with a group of other runners helps break down the lonesome solitude that often comes with running by giving you other people to train with. Running with other people, in turn, can keep you motivated to get out for a run on days when you'd rather sit around the house. In short, being beholden to a running club instead of just to yourself can make it easier to make running a regular part of your routine.
One of the core benefits of joining a running club is that you have a knowledgeable athletic support system when you need it. Whether you are struggling with an injury, shopping for a new pair of shoes, or just in need of some advice on how to structure your training to improve endurance, your fellow club members will be able to offer the information you need.
If you just moved to a new area and are having trouble meeting new people and establishing friendships, then a running club can be a perfect solution. While these organizations meet first and foremost with the goal of running, there is still a definite social component to running clubs. From chatting with fellow runners before and after training sessions to carrying on conversations during a long run (a great way to make the time go by more quickly), running clubs are a great way to build friendships that go way beyond fitness and exercise.
Running clubs often have a communal, family-like atmosphere, but they have a huge competitive side as well. Everyone in the group is trying to get in better shape, improve their times, or win certain races. Joining a running club will help you to establish and chase fitness-related goals in numerous ways. First, most running clubs have a calendar of races that all members train for and run together. Road races are a great destination to point towards and an excellent way to track your progress. Second, you will consistently be able to gauge your speed, endurance, and overall skill against other runners in the group. Setting your sights on keeping pace with another member in training runs, or beating that member in the big race, can help you engage your competitive spirit and keep you driven
Joining a running club means aligning yourself with a group of people who care a lot about health and fitness. Interacting with these people on a regular basis won't just push you to run more, but will also encourage you to adopt other healthy lifestyle habits. Want to lose weight and get in better shape? Your fellow runners will help you keep a beneficial exercise routine and even provide tips on good nutritional and dietary habits. Need to quit smoking? Your fellow running club members will help you see the health benefits of ditching cigarettes and will be there to keep you on track with kicking your addiction. Something about working with extremely fit and healthy people on a regular basis will push you to become extremely fit and healthy yourself, a choice that will have far-reaching benefits on every aspect of your life
Drawbacks of Joining a Jogging Group
- You might find yourself athletically outmatched
- The club probably won’t meet every day
- You may have to pay a fee
- You will have more weekly obligations
If you are just starting to run long distances, you might consider waiting a few months before leaping into the fray and joining a running club. Many members of these organizations are hard-core runners, people who run marathons or participate in road races on a regular basis. Trying to keep pace with runners, who are faster and stronger than you, at least right now, isn't a lot of fun, because you constantly feel like you are chasing after them. You should try to find a running club with members whose skills and average pace are similar to yours, even if you have to train for a few months to get to that point in the first place.
If your top reason for joining a running club is so that you never have to run alone, you might be mistaken about how these clubs operate. Most running clubs don't meet every day. Remember that other club members have jobs, families, and lives, and finding a time to get everyone together isn't exactly an easy feat. As such, the average running club will probably only meet once or twice a week, and usually on weekends. Such a schedule leaves a bunch of days where you will still have to motivate yourself to get out and run. With that said, though, joining a running club gives you a bunch of contacts for like-minded people. The chances are that, if you establish friendships with the people in your club, you will be able to find a running buddy (or several of them) for your weekday training runs.
Some running clubs are more or less "unofficial" collectives, where everyone gets together to run in an informal but fun fashion. Others are more official organizations, with team names, uniforms, running kits, events, and more. All of those items cost money, so there is a possibility you will have to pay a fee to join a running club. When researching different clubs or chatting with club leaders, be sure to ask what the financial responsibilities are. If you are for whatever reason unable to pay the fee, you are better off looking elsewhere.
One of the huge upsides to becoming a runner is that you can fit exercise into your schedule pretty much wherever you like. For busy parents or professionals, running is a great fitness option precisely because of that flexibility. From early mornings to late evenings, lunch break jobs to late-night treadmill runs, there's always time for a run in your schedule. When you join a running club, you lose some of the elasticity in your schedule. Having a specific time to go run with the club on weekends or evenings is good for motivation, but not necessarily for a hectic schedule. Furthermore, many running clubs have structured weekly training schedules, with specific distance targets that you will need to hit if you want to keep progressing at the same rate as your fellow club members. If you don't have time to run as much as your club leader wants you to, then that club might not be the right one for you.
Are you Looking at Joining a Local Group?
In some cases, joining a running club is a decision you will be able to reap benefits from for years to come. In other situations, it might not be a good fit. Only you can decide whether or not you would fit in with one of these exercise-loving organizations. However, by considering the pros and cons listed above and asking yourself critical questions about your fitness level, scheduling availability, and passion for running, you will be well-equipped to make the right decision for you. Follow @SportNessUK