Running clubs are a great way to get fit and meet new people, but it can be pretty daunting if you don’t know where to start!
Here is a quick guide that will get you up and running in a local club (no pun intended).
Why Join A Running Club?
#1 Anyone can join
Whether you want to compete and race, get fitter or lose some weight, all kinds of runners are welcome at running clubs. There will be people of all different levels and abilities, and also all shapes and sizes that meet up to go on organised runs.
#2 Meet new friends
In my experience, the running community is really friendly and welcoming. It can be intimidating being the new person, especially if you are also new to fitness in general. Friends for life can be made at a running club making it a great place to broaden your social circle and meet new people.
When I began running years ago, I couldn’t jog the length of myself. It took time, but eventually I was able to complete a marathon. Joining a running club will help you to stay committed and form accountability so that you will make an extra effort to train even if the weather is not in your favour or you are tired after work.
#4 Opportunities to get competitive
It can be intimidating to put yourself forward to compete in any sport, and many people are held back by the fear that they will be slower than everyone else.
If you would like to compete, running clubs can facilitate that and you can run or jog a race with others in your club at a similar level to you. There is a great sense of camaraderie in running sports and many people that join and run races never would have dreamt of doing so in the past until they joined a club. Affiliated clubs also can get reduced entry fees for certain races which are an added bonus!
#5 Running is free
Depending on the running club, there may or may not be a membership fee. With that said, there are plenty of community based running groups that are totally free to join. Running is a great, inexpensive way to keep fit year round.
#6 Safety in numbers
Running clubs often meet in the evening time to allow for people who work during the day. When it starts to get dark out there is the advantage of safety in numbers with a running club, especially with regards to park and beach runs.
Finding The Best Running Club
First things first, you need to know when and where the running club meets.
Checking online is quick and easy way to check the listings of your local running clubs if they have a website or Facebook page. Most clubs will have some kind of online presence, even if it is just basic contact details such as a contact number for a leader in the group or just a venue or time.
✓ Local public noticeboards
Some clubs might not have an online presence, but may well have some flyers stuck up in community centres, libraries and local supermarkets.
What will I need to bring?
You need to bring very little to a running meet up, in fact the less the better as unless you have a car with you there may not be a place to stash your belongings. If you don’t want to run with it, its best off that you don’t bring it in most cases!
Keeping hydrated is important with any physical activity, and getting dehydrated mid-run is no barrel of laughs. Bring a bottle of water with you so you don’t have to worry about finding or stopping off in a shop during your run.
Wearing clothing that is layered means you can take some off and run in comfort if you get too warm. Running outdoors means facing the elements, so ensure you dress accordingly so that you can run in comfort!
✓ Suitable footwear
Make sure you wear runners that are suitable for running in. Running outdoors is very different to running on a treadmill so wearing suitable footwear fit for purpose will make a huge difference to your overall experience.
Take home message
If you are new to running, it is well worth considering joining a running club. Check online and your local community notice boards to see what times and locations are available in your area and take the leap to give one a try!