How to Find a Running Group You’ll Love

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Jun 24

Happy Hump Day! I hope you’re doing well.  Life has been extremely busy lately and now somehow it’s officially summer!  Time flies…

Since it’s Wednesday, I’m again linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama for Wild Workout Wednesday. Check out her site to see everyone’s posts about workouts you can implement in your routine!

Today I’m going to share some tips on how to find a running group, and not only find one, but stay committed!

Join a running group and stick to it with these tips! #runchat Click To Tweet

Do you want to find a Running Group and actually stick with it! Check out these tips that will help you find a group you'll love! More running tips at runwithnoregrets.com!

 

How to Join a Running Group

Running with a group can be one of the easiest ways to improve your performance as a runner. Group Running can challenge you, keep you accountable, and lead you to meet new people and develop special connections with like-minded individuals.

When I started my running journey back in 2011, I did my training solo, most of the time on a treadmill. But I was so encouraged and inspired by my experience at the Broad Street Run that I wanted to continue to grow as a runner. So I developed a Running Club at my place of work as part of our corporate Wellness Program. Since then, the Running Club members and I have run nearly 40 different events. It’s been an adventure!

I have also participated in other running clubs, including Black Girls Run and the City Fit Girls Run Crew. It’s a great way to mix things up and I especially appreciate being able to run with other women since my running group only consists of guys!

If you’re not able to create a running group of your own, why not find a running group near you? There may be a lot more options out there than you realize! Here are some tips on how to find and join a running group that works for you!

1 – Think About Your Goals

I’ve mentioned at least a dozen times by now that I’m a very goal-oriented person. I’ve found that when it comes to running, you have to keep your eye on the prize in order to get to where you want to go. So think about why you want to join a running group. Do you want to meet new people? Are you looking to do specific types of workouts like hills or speedwork? Do you like to drink and socialize after a run? Do you need a group that meets every week or once a month? Different running groups have different personalities, and I’ve learned over the years that it is crucial to get a good feel for the group in order to know whether it will suit your needs.

2 – Research Running Clubs

run 215

A great resource for Philly Runners! From run215.com

Next, it’s time to find your running club! Living in Philadelphia, I’m very fortunate to have access to a very vibrant running community. There is a website called Run 215 that has a (nearly) complete directory of all the running clubs in Greater Philadelphia with meeting locations, dates and times. So if I want to meet up with the November Project, I can go to the Art Museum Steps on Wednesday at 6:25 am or Lemon Hill on Friday at 6:25 am.

If you don’t know of any websites like Run215, here are some other ways to find running clubs near you:

  • Google is your friend! Try a Google search for “Running Clubs (Your City/Town)” or some similar variation and see what comes up.
  • Talk to your local running store. Running specialty stores are an excellent resource to find out about running groups in your city or town. Several stores even offer free group runs that may be an option for you.
  • Check out local race training programs. If you’re training for a race locally, you may find that the organizers have set up group training runs! Team in Training is a great example of this. This is a great way to prepare for your upcoming race and get to know new people.
  • Check out Facebook Groups. Once you find a few names of Running Clubs, check out their Facebook Groups to get an idea of the personality of the group. Are the runners super serious and focused on running only? Do they do a lot of social activities? Do they share a lot of photos and upcoming events?
  • Talk to Your Friends/Coworkers. You never know if one of your coworkers was a Hasher in a previous life. True story! There may be people you know that are runners that you didn’t realize. Maybe they can offer suggestions on running groups that they’ve tried, joined, or heard about.

3 – Show Up, Introduce Yourself and Run!

Once you’ve found a running group that you’re interested in, take the plunge and go for it! Go a little bit early to introduce yourself to the Group Leader and address any questions or concerns. Most groups will separate people out by running pace, so it should be somewhat easy to find a subgroup to join in depending on how you feel that day. There may be ground rules that the group abides by, such as “no music”, “don’t leave your partner behind”, and “wear reflective gear”.

If you’ve ever run with another person, you know that some people like to talk and run, some like to run with music, and some demand complete silence. When I run with other people, I like to chat, catch up on life (if we’re close friends), or get to know someone better. Personally, I think it’s rude to listen to music while on a group run, but different strokes for different folks! If you don’t like to talk while running but everyone else around you does, try not to be worried about fitting in or annoyed by all the chit-chat – just focus on having a good run.

Some groups get together for dinner or brunch after a run. While it would be a great to get to know your fellow runners on a more personal level, don’t feel obligated to go if you don’t want to! Trust your instincts.

4 – Run With a Group More Than Once

Now I know I just said trust your instincts, but I think it’s really important to try out a running group more than once whenever you can. There are so many variables when it comes to running as it is, but when you add more people to the mix things can really start to get more complicated.

You may also like:  Philly Marathon Pre-Training Week 3 Recap

There are so many factors that can make what could be an awesome group for you only SEEM not so awesome:

  • You’re in a bad mood. If you’re nervous about joining a new group and you’re looking for something to go wrong, chances are that they will. Try to be optimistic about this new experience! In general, if you’ve had a bad day before you meet the group, your running experience may be soured just as an unintended consequence. That’s no fault of the running group!
  • The people suck. This is a catch-all for all the ways people can be an initial disappointment when you make your first impressions of the group. If you’re running with a few people that are BFF’s and BRF’s (best running friends), it can be awkward to be the newbie stuck in the middle. Sometimes it’s unintentional, but sometimes people WILL ignore you because you’re not part of the clique (ugh!). And sometimes you’ve got speed demons that refuse to let you keep up with them, or people who are generally obnoxious, self-righteous, and/or annoying. I can tell you from personal experience that if you’re not running with the right group of people that day, it can totally alter the experience for you. So if you ran with a bad crop of folks one week, go back to the group on another week and try to find people that you are more comfortable running-wise.
  • The group is disorganized. Maybe the Group Leaders are 20 minutes late. Maybe 50 people show up when there are normally 20. Maybe they’re testing out a new running route and haven’t gotten out all the kinks. What seems like a chronic problem may just be a one-off bad day for the running group. Try to give it one more chance, especially if you met some friendly people that you’d like to run with again.

5 – If You Hate It, Keep Shopping Around

If you’ve tried a running group a few times and it’s just not working, then maybe that’s just not the group for you. Hopefully, there are plenty of proverbial fish in the sea and you can test out a different running group! I truly believe that there’s something out there for everyone, even if you have to create a running group yourself!

6 – If You Love It, Make it Routine

You’ve finally found that group, or maybe multiple groups that you love! So if you want to stick with it, you have to make it a habit. Schedule your running group meetups in your personal calendar and be ready to put on your running clothes! Those Facebook Groups I mentioned are great for keeping yourself accountable. As you develop friendships among the members group, you’ll find that you’ll really look forward to your group runs even more, and you’ll be missed when you’re not there!

If you can’t make it out every time that you’d like to, don’t be hard on yourself. The great thing about Running Groups are that they are always there when you need them!

7 – Don’t Forgot Your Solo Runs

While finding the “perfect” running group is great, don’t forget to appreciate and take advantage of the time you spend running by yourself. I know that when I run with one of my oldest running buddies, he pushes me to go faster. But I can’t run like that every time. I appreciate the benefits of running solo because I know that I can focus more on my training and I can do a lot more deep thinking than if I was with another person. It’s all about balance!

Workouts for the Week:

I’ve been in a bit of a slump since the half marathon but I’m trying to make the effort to run and work out consistently.  Here’s a recap of how I’ve been working out since the race!

Sunday 6/14:  Rest after the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon!

Monday 6/15:  Another rest day.

Tuesday 6/16:  Went for a half-hour walk for our weekly walking challenge.  Then we had our softball game.  It wasn’t my best game by any means, but I did get a little action in the outfield (I still can’t throw for crap!)

Wednesday 6/17:  No workouts.

Thursday 6/18:  Was feeling extremely lazy and didn’t work out.

Friday 6/19:  I finally got out of my rut and went for a run a little over 3 miles.  It was extremely humid out but I’m glad I got it done.  I followed it up with Nike Training Club 30 minute “Be Explosive” workout which consisted of squats, lunges, pushups, and deadlifts.

Saturday 6/20:  I went for a 5 mile run in the morning humidity.  I didn’t feel my best but I had a pretty strong final mile.  Then I had a group bike ride with City Fit Girls.  We had an awesome turnout!  We rode for about 8.5 miles, then went to OCF Coffeehouse for brunch.  It was nice to meet new people!  I’m continuing to break out of my shell…

Sunday 6/21: I ended up not getting any workouts in.

Monday 6/22: I went for a 4 mile run in the evening, another hot and soupy day! I did pretty well considering the crappy weather, but my calves were killing me after the run. I am at the 400 mile mark for my shoes (I know, I know)…I need to get that new pair!

Tuesday 6/23:  Boot Camp class after work.  Nothing fancy, just some old fashioned squats, burpees, ab work, and upper body work!

Are you part of any running groups? What do you like about them?

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