Summary: Joining a running club has many benefits beyond just exercising together. I write about my experience running in a club. I made friends, achieved my running goals and prepared for running a Marathon.
Joining a running club has benefits beyond sport
Some people love to run and they say the most difficult part or running is when you need to stop doing so. Others cannot relate to this enthusiastic behavior and find running as an unnecessary chore of an exercise. These people often say running outside is challenging due to varying weather conditions such as rain, wind, heat, and cold, or even pollution when running in a city.
Another reason is that they don’t find a suitable running area such as an open field, a nearby forest, or a good old running track. The very same people might think that indoor running is boring and they could never run more than a few kilometers before feeling fed up by the sameness of a treadmill.
My way of seeing running
When I was a kid, I was the fastest sprinter in my class. I was also a passionate basketball player, was sent to ballet school from age of five, and generally had a good grasp on every and any sports I’ve tried. Except long distance running. Even thinking about having to run around the school track (400m per lap) I had cold shivers running down my spine and I just could not do it. I could play soccer for hours, I could run my heart out on a basketball court until the time was up, but could not do just running.
Even looking back today, not sure if I had a mental hurdle I had to get through, or simply I didn’t manage my breathing well (or both) but I could not run more than a couple of hundreds of meters – when it was just running.
Years into adulthood, I ended up with a work schedule in the middle of the Caribbean that did not allow for anything else but regular visits to a well-equipped, but small gym with a couple of treadmills. Doing exercise was always a big part of my life, hence I decided to conquer my doubts and try running on a treadmill. Little have I known back then, because there and then was the start of a lifelong love for running. I am still not a great runner, I actually run slow and steady, but how amazing I feel after each session is good enough for me to keep going back for more.
Advice before you start to run regularly
The most important advise I can give to anyone contemplating on starting to run, is to run for yourself. Don’t try to compete with others, unless if that is your thing. Set goals and timelines for yourself, according to your skills and physical wellbeing. Join a running club, where you get the support you need to start. Your team will also keep you going and perhaps you make some friends in the process too. I did join a club and what I’ve found was way beyond just exercise. Here are my reasons to run in a running club:
Six reasons to join a running club
1. Making friends
Having a group of people with the same goal in mind is inspiring, energizing and uplifting. There is a strong chance that you will make friends and meet people with whom you would want to spend time beyond the running tracks. I also find it great when my team of all kinds of walks of life from the lady boss, the young architect, through university student and retired lawyer (just to name a few) happily support the same cause and shows up time after time.
You can be anyone and you are welcome without judgment and pressure. Nobody cares about the figures on your paycheck. Or the brand of your car, or the watch you wear – unless it is the latest Fitbit, or if you are wearing a new technology sweat-resistant T-shirt.
2. Accountability for showing up
When it is only about you, quite possibly you will ditch three out of ten runs for whatever reason. Be it work, family, feeling tired, hungry, your dad needs you to cut the grass, your university paper is due tomorrow and you haven’t started yet. It’s too cold, it’s too hot, it is windy or it is raining. However if your team shows up, you will do too. You don’t want to be the one missing out a routine due to a bit of rain or a less than perfect temperature. You will feel accountable for your decisions and will more likely to show up if others do too.
3. Exercise with structure and leadership
When you join a running club, there is a strong chance that someone will know much more about exercise and running then you do. If it isn’t the case, you should open your own running club. Having experienced teammates leading the warm-up, planing the run and helping with stretch and strengthening exercises are extra benefits that I love. Probably I could do all that planning by myself but I enjoy when others lead the exercise. All I have to do is to show up, participate, enjoy and reap the benefits. Sometimes I also take turns to teach others, which makes me feel empowered and smart. Another positive side effect of group exercise.
4. Learning and development
With regular running, our body develops. It gets stronger, leaner and healthier. We learn about running the right way. How to manage our nutritional intake, how to rest, stretch, what foods, exercises, drinks to avoid…etc. Our general knowledge about fitness and well-being develops, and our overall health improves too.
5. Challenge yourself (only if you want to…)
Through running clubs, you get to meet people who participate various races. They run Marathons, mud races, color runs, Spartan races..etc. there are many different types of runs and strength-based races. These are fun to participate and sometimes even more fun to prepare for one with your team. If you are the kind of person who needs specific goals to do something, these races are a perfect way to go. Choose the one that fits your requirements. Decide in terms of distance, strength, and preparation. It is quite likely that you also get yourself another set of friends to spend time with. While of course, you are doing something beneficial for your body, mind, and soul.
6. Motivate yourself
When you run on your own, it is easy to fall into a routine that almost never changes. You run the same distance or the same amount of time. You sweat, you feel that you have accomplished why you showed up. Fair enough, if your motivation is to move, you have done well. However, if you are looking for ways to improve your performance, running clubs will always give you that extra push to strive for more and better. If you need it, you can certainly count on your teammates to encourage you to work harder.
If you are ready to run, but not sure where to start, write us an email, and the Mighty Templars will be happy to help you to get started. We also have an interesting story on How to prepare for a marathon.