The preference to run as part of a group or solo is all down to the individual. Some of the advantages of one will seem like a disadvantage to another. Having said that, most people have taken their new running shoes to the tarmac alone, but not everyone has tried a running group.
Because of this, we are going to consider some of the main advantages that come with running groups. By the end of it, you will be able to see if this way of enjoying the fitness and other benefits are for you.
So, What Is A Running Group?
As the name suggests, a running group is an organized set of individuals who meet up regularly to train. This can be by a local association who have been going for years, or something more casual.
Many people join them via association, knowing a member already but because of the way the modern world works, this isn’t always the case. A lot of the time, they can be found on social media and welcome new members.
The run can be a straightforward one or something that is different every week at different speeds. Most tend to be varied abilities but there are those that are taken more seriously with those training for a race.
Advantages Of A Running Group
One of the key reasons many people prefer to run as part of a group is the motivation. It can be hard to get yourself into your running gear when you get home from work, especially if no one is expecting you to be running that afternoon.
An organized running group will have specific times that can be something to look forward to and get you out of the house. These groups can be motivational in other ways. With the encouragement of other members, a lot of people find that their pace improves, and the time goes faster when the distraction of conversation is in full flow.
Not everyone knows some of the intricacies that come with running the right way. When surrounding yourself with other runners who have more miles on the clock, it can lead to the learning of new things.
Breathing techniques, pacing, and even advice on what to eat before and after a run can all help to improve running performance. Not only this, but the simple encouragement of others in the group can go a long way towards picking up the pace.
Sometimes it is not the words of other runners that can encourage a new PB, but the competitive streak inside. When seeing others do well, it can motivate a person to improve, or keep up with that person who is always a step in front.
A lot of the time, a running group will be made of complete strangers who wish to find like-minded people with similar goals. This can lead to great and lasting friendships. Also, during a run, it is nice to be social.
This isn’t for everyone, but it is particularly good for people who may have arrived in a new town and are looking for social activity. When running beside someone you can talk about all things pace, running, and breathing, but also about anything else that comes up as you’re clocking up the miles.
This can also lead to fun events like running a certain trail and even taking a weekend away to run somewhere exciting. If the prospect of turning up alone seems a little daunting, there is nothing wrong with taking a friend that is also keen.
Although no one should feel unsafe when they are alone, the world isn’t always as friendly as we would like it to be. Attacks on solo runners, although rare, do happen. Running as part of a group can make these much less likely and can make running in the dark a lot safer.
It is also safer when an injury occurs. These can be debilitating, making it difficult to get back home. With a running group, there is always someone around to make sure you get treatment, or at the very least, back through your front door ok.
We’ve touched on this a little but many of us know that left to our own devices, we would skip a day or two of planned running. This is less likely to happen if you have one or two people texting, making sure you are available for the next group run.
This can be great if you only have a select time to get out there, and if 6:30 am doesn’t seem appealing, it can be more so if you know others are going to be doing the same.
The same goes for cold weather when a lot of people choose to be in the warmth of home, a running group can be a good reason to get out and improve your fitness.
Gets You Race Ready
Although there are certainly benefits to running alone leading up to a race, a running group can help you get closer to being race-ready. It can be good to prepare for what is a solo activity by taking a few solo runs in the lead-up, but it is a long road to get to this point.
We’ve mentioned the benefits of improving times and breathing, this is all going to help on race day. With a race coming up, some people might be tempted to miss a training run if they do not have others to keep them motivated.
Discover New Routes
Many runners stick to the easiest path possible, and whilst this can be good for improving to a point, it can get a bit samey. This can result in a lack of motivation.
An advantage of a running group is that they are often held at different places. This can mean you discover new parts of town, a great and exciting route, and new scenery. All these things can help a run to go faster.
To conclude, group running is an excellent way of improving your pace and times, in a social environment. Although they are not for everyone, mixing things up can be great, motivational, and rewarding.