7 reasons to run with a group
Running is like blowing out your birthday cake candles – ultimately, it’s just you putting in the effort and you could do it all alone, but you tend to get a lot more out the experience when you do it with a group! Here are just some of the benefits when you run with a group
You can’t see yourself when you run alone
Unless you run with a really big mirror. Often you will never know that there’s something about your running technique that’s holding you back, but it’s usually something that’s very easy for others to spot – even if they’re not a co ach. Do you lean to one side? Do you land hard on your heels or overstride? Do you crumple at the core? Does your stride seem to be half the length of those around you? We all think we know how to run OK because we’ve been doing it most of our lives, but few of us had any proper training. A good coach or other experienced runners can also tell you when they notice bad habits creep back, or when they think the problem with your struggles are all in your head
The group keeps you honest
You can tell yourself that when you thought about running Tuesday and Saturday it was merely a suggestion that was totally up for debate. Tell the group that you’re running Tuesday and Saturday, and they’ll hold you accountable. Running groups are ruthless this way, maybe because everyone knows how easy it is easy to slack off when no-one else relies on you, or say you’ll run on your own… and then you don’t. You’ll tend to push harder when you’re with a group – and suffering with others is always more fun. Something else strange happens when you join a group – even if you absolutely, positively have to skip a session with the gang, the commitment makes you more likely to do a catch-up run on your own because the pressure is on to keep up!
When you’re busy and you run alone, it’s easy to fall into the habit of doing something that’s comfortable and familiar – same pace, same locations or terrain, similar distances. Even experienced runners often neglect some aspect of their training whether that’s speed, hill training, distance or strength training. Usually we’re physically capable of doing any of these sessions, we just struggle with the mental side. When you train with a group, someone has not only taken care of the schedule to make sure that different types of training are covered, there’s also extra variety and challenges built-in just because of the mix of abilities within the group.
Competition keeps you keen
Ask any experienced trainer and they’ll tell you that some kind of training with a competitive aspect helps people stay on track with their exercise. This is especially obvious with men, but women can also be very competitive – with themselves. The competition can be to improve, and everyone in the group can appreciate that, no matter what their level. You may not run as quickly as the next runner, but are you improving at a faster rate? Competition and the markers it involves – whether that’s marking yourself against other runners or your own times or other performance measures (even things like how good you feel, how well you recover) – helps conjure up positive memories of small victories. These help drive up your confidence, which in turn helps you enjoy your running more.
They’ve all “been there”
The collective experience of the group will be an endless source of information, inspiration and support. Whatever it is that you’re feeling, experiencing or having an issue with, someone’s probably been there before. Remember this when the negative voices in your head start telling you that you have to be good enough or well enough to train with the group. Join the group and you’ll improve faster than if you didn’t. If you’ve been sick or injured, the others will understand – happens to everyone, so they’ll look after you. Slogging through some life issues and having trouble with motivation and time? The group’s all been there – they’ll help take your mind off them and give you 99 reasons to turn up.
You can share a goal
There will always be someone in the group who shares the same, or at least a similar goal. That automatically makes you teammates who will share strategy, training, gear and nutrition tips, and you’ll motivate each other no matter how what the difference in your speed and experience – because everyone has their bad days, weaknesses and rough patches. Don’t know what to train for? When you join any 2XU Run Crew, your membership fee includes entry to a nominated event so you can experience what it’s like to run towards a goal together.
Safety in numbers
Running with a group is just safer. You don’t have to be running through a warzone, gangland killing fields, or even late at night through a dodgy neighbourhood, either. If an injury strikes or animals attack (or you swallow one), it’s good to have others around. If you’re under the weather or pushing to the max, your run crew is there to keep an eye on you. You can go running in new places without fear of getting lost (or at least, getting lost together sucks less – most trail runners know this!).