I first joined my local run club about 2 years ago. I was a little nervous about it because I didn't really know what to expect. Best. Decision. Ever. My husband has a dart night every Thursday night and I decided since he was gone I wanted to do something I enjoyed during that time as well. I found the Franklin Road Runners and was excited to see they had a Thursday night group that met close to my house. The first time I joined in, everyone was so nice and welcoming. They told me how the group worked, what to expect and helped me figure out who I could run with that would be around my pace. It was a great experience! *Note. You might have to try different run groups or even just try a different day before finding the right one for you (or just give it a few chances). The group dynamic is important and you will eventually find one that fits best with you! I could go on and on about why you should join a running group, but I will narrow it down to the top 10.
1. You will meet so many new people. Meeting new people can be hard - especially if you are new to the area. You will meet so many different people from all walks of life who you might not have met otherwise. Coming together over a common hobby makes it a little easier to bond with others. It might just be that you enjoy the company of the group and only see them during your runs or you develop friendships or even relationships with them (two people who met in my run group got married this last year)!
2. Sense of community. It is so nice to have a place where you feel like you belong. Knowing that everyone there will help encourage and motivate each other helps provide a sense of team camaraderie. It's fun and rewarding to be connected to like-minded people and to be a part of something bigger than you. You will always at least have a group of friends to look forward to seeing on running days (and after for food or drinks or just hanging out)!
3. You will never have to run alone again (if you don't want). Running is generally seen as a solo sport. It can be amazing to be by yourself and have that experience and strength to run on your own. It can also get a little lonely. As long as you have a running group, you will always have a running buddy. It might require you to speed up or slow down, but if you want to run with someone else, all you have to do is show up!
4. Time passes so much faster with a companion. Speaking of running with someone else - one of the biggest benefits is that time seems to fly by! If you are talking and not paying attention to the act of running, it will be over before you know it. There is also more variety in a group and you might run new routes which keeps it fresh and exciting.
5. You will push yourself harder. People tend to perform better in the presence of others so you will likely run faster and further than you would alone. When you run with a group you normally have the option to speed up or slow down to be with a different pack of runners. You don't always have to push yourself hard, but if you choose to, doing so in a group will help you along even more.
6. You will learn a lot. From fitness pros, to seasoned athletes, to coaches or beginners - you will hear all about what works and what doesn't. Getting different opinions, facts and advice from others will help you to be a better runner and figure things out as you move through your running journey. You will also learn a lot more about life in general from the wide variety of people you will be exposed to.
7. Free therapy. Running helps relieve stress and anxiety on its own but coupled with social running it can take these benefits to the next level. By running with friends who you trust you end up talking about anything and everything. What's said on the run stays on the run.
8. There is safety in numbers. There is always safety in numbers but it especially comes into play when you are in a new area that you aren't familiar with, it is dark (early morning or later at night), you are in the city or even in the countryside! If you aren't running with a group always make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will be back.
9. Accountability. You are less prone to skipping out on workouts when you have someone waiting on you. Knowing that the group (or just one running buddy) is there and expecting you to show up, you are more likely to hold up a consistent exercise routine.
10. You will gain self-esteem. While you might feel a little shy, anxious or intimidated in the beginning, once you fall into step with the group and keep showing up you will see what you are capable of, both mentally and physically.
Personally, I have made so many friends with the running group and have pushed myself to be way faster than I ever imagined. I encourage everyone to try out their local running groups, you will never know how amazing it could be for you if you don't try!
When I mention the running group to beginner runners I tend to hear the same response often that they are intimidated and - "I'm not good enough/can't run far enough/can't run fast enough to join a running group yet." They all think they need to be able to run fast or far before they can join. That isn't the point though! While some people in the group are really fast, there are also people who come just for the sense of community. Some people walk, others run slow, some do longer distances, some just do one mile. Whatever you can do, come on out! It can only get better from here. If it is a little rough for you right now, just wait and see what you can do when you begin with the group!
I will be hosting a newbie running group event at the beginning of fall with the Franklin Road Runners at Mountain High Outfitters on a Thursday so be on the lookout. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram so you don't miss out! Check out the event here! No matter what your pace is, if you are a walker or a runner, you won't be left alone!
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I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
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