"Be part of something bigger than yourself" - unknown.
If there is one thing that gets challenging as we get older, its meeting and making new friends. And its finding friends who share the same interests and have the same values as us. Finding time for activities we love doing can be a challenge also but when are part of a wider community, it helps you make time.
The running community is one community that can help you make new friends, motivate you and give that sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself.
I recently saw a post on a community forum where someone had put a call out looking to meet new people because she was new to the area. I instantly thought about how much benefit she could get from being part of a local running group.
Through my years of running I have come to know and appreciate the benefits of running with a group. I do still run solo and enjoy my “me time” runs but the feelings derived from running with others takes your running experiences to a new level. I have had various experiences with running groups from sessions with a run coach, to casual meet ups with friends, joining a Parkrun event and most recently running with my local mums running group. Each of them were beneficial in improving my running as well as feeling like I belonged to a pretty special community. And when you are training for a marathon having someone to run the longer distances with, even if it is just part of the way is such a bonus.
Expanding further on this, since having my business Running Fit Box, I have come to truly understand and value just how engaging and supportive the wider running community is. There is not a single runner who wouldn't motivate you or encourage you to chase your running goals. Once you start running, you instantly become part of a group of like minded people who thought at some point or other that they couldn't run and now that they know they can they strive to achieve greater goals they thought only impossible.
Some of my key benefits of running with a group include:
- Accountability - knowing you are meeting other runners at a specified time and location helps you stayed motivated and committed to running especially when the weather is bad or you’re tired from a bad night sleep or long day. A running group can help you stay on track for your goals because as any runner will tell you, when you bring a group of runners together the one thing we will always talk about is our running of course!
- Be inspired - running with others gives you the opportunity to hear about all of the amazing goals and achievements fellow runners are chasing and it can or will inspire you to set your own goals. I know for myself personally I love hearing what other runners are training for and sometimes will join them in their quest or put it on my bucket list.
- Meet new friends - running groups give you the chance to meet new people. I can’t tell you how many times I have arranged to run with someone I’ve never met before in person and have always come away with the feeling that a new friendship has been formed.
- A sense of belonging - as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests, having a sense of belonging is a critical need for people. It helps us feel safe, secure, loved etc. Running groups give you this chance to feel like you are part of a community. A community of like minded people who can come together without judgement and just enjoy each others company while running.
With the many different running groups out there, there are always going to be different purposes and benefits from the groups. The main point is why not give it a go and see for yourself. You could try Parkrun, which is a timed 5km run every Saturday morning and there is bound to one no matter where you are in the world. Or there are many groups for mums, dads, there are pram running groups, local athletic groups, trail running groups and if getting to a running group is challenging, why not join a Virtual group run or challenge.
Running groups really bring out the best runner and person in you. Give it a go!
Week 18 and 4 weeks to go! My dream of running NYC marathon is becoming a reality. It was a 57km week for me and that was 12km less than I should’ve done because of some hamstring tightness. My long this weekend was 32km and I had the pleasure of running with a few fellow running mums through the Inner West Mums running group. I was reminded just how great it is to have other people to run with and be motivated by. Week 19 is going to be a BIG week of running but I am feeling confident I can get through it and pull up great from it.