Why you should join a running club

Why you should join a running club

joinarunningclub

Regular readers will know I like my running clubs. So much so that I’m a member of two and started a running club at work.

However, I know there are people who just aren’t sure about joining one. So here are my reasons why you should and what you should look for in a club.

Motivation

One of the big reasons people join a running club is for the motivation. Encouragement to run during the winter, to try new races and to get faster (if that’s what you want).

Knowing you have a club night once a week, even during the winter, can make it easier for you to keep up the running habit. Having people around you who are keen to give new races a go can make you want to try them too.

For beginners and experienced runners alike it can help you keep going, even at times when you think you want to give up.

Sociability

vegan runners club
With my Vegan Runners club. After a parkrun, before brunch.

With a running club you can be as social or unsocial as you like.

If you just want to do your weekly run then that’s great, you’ll be welcomed. But if you like socialising with people then you’ll find that most clubs will have a social side.

With my local club we have the regular club night where you run in a group and can be as chatty or not as you like. We meet at clubhouse with a bar and you can have a social drink afterwards. Members often organise breakfast runs on the weekend, the club holds invitation nights for other clubs to attend and holds regular quiz nights.

Most clubs will have this social side as well as the training side and you will be welcome no matter how involved or not you want to be.

People who understand

Now this is a big one if you have a non-running partner or family.

Worried that you are boring your friends and family? Want to talk to people who understand negative splits, know how much effort it takes to get a PB and understand why you need to run even when it’s raining outside?

Then join a club!

You will find a host of other people who are happy to talk running non-stop if that’s what you want. Get it all out of your system on a club night and let your family time be family time.

What to look for in a club

The first thing to remember is that every running club is different and most clubs will allow you to go along once or twice before they ask you to join. So if you go to one club and don’t like it then try another one!

What do you want from your club?

The main thing to think about is what you want from your club. Do you want to have a regular track night and training programme or do you want to do some road or off road running in a large group?

If you are looking for track sessions and training then look for a club with ‘Athletic’ or ‘Harriers’ in their name. This usually means they are focussed more on training and often have regular track sessions. Quite often they will have a junior section, a good team of coaches to help members improve and take part in local athletic competitions.

If you are looking for a club that mainly run away from the track then look for a club with ‘running’ or ‘joggers’ in their name. This usually means the club focuses on group runs in your local area, either on road or off road depending on location. Members are still competitive but the focus is more on the road or off road events.

How friendly?

One thing people have said to me is that they are worried about not being welcomed into a club and it being full of cliques.

Most running clubs are very welcoming but if you are worried then a big clue is the club’s website. Does it say new members welcome? Do they have a start to run programme? Do they have different groups for all abilities? Do they have say they do ‘social runs’?

This isn’t to say that if they don’t say this on their website they won’t be welcoming. Smaller clubs might not have the members to organise more than their weekly club night so don’t be put off from attending.

Just remember if you don’t like the first club you attend you don’t have to go back! Try another club and I’m sure you will find one that suits.

Finding a running club

If this has persuaded to try a running club then how do you find one that is local to you? In the UK the regional athletics bodies have a list of affiliated running clubs. Try Run England, Welsh AthleticsScottish Athletics or Athletics Northern Ireland.

If you are not in the UK then try googling your home town plus ‘running club’ or try your local athletics governing body who should be able to help you.

Are you a member of a running club? Or have you been put off by an unfriendly group? I’d love to hear your experience.

tuesdaysontherun2

This post is part of the Tuesdays on the Run linkup with Marcia’s Healthy Slice, My No-Guilt Life and MCM Mama Runs.

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  • I almost joined one years ago. But when I went to the initial meeting I didn’t feel welcome. And the guy never followed up so maybe I wasn’t, Haha! There’s another one close by I’ve been meaning to check out but so far haven’t. It’s so great you enjoy yours so much. Thanks for linking up!

    • That’s a real shame. I always try and catch anyone new at the end to see if they liked the run but sometimes they head off before I can say anything. I think I’m going to make even more of an effort after reading about your experience.

      Hopefully the other club will be more welcoming.

  • Didn’t join a run club when I was marathon training cus I wanted to run by myself but now that i’m done training I think I might join one this spring!

    • Do let me know if you join one.
      My local club does marathon training as so many people find it quite hard to do the long runs on their own. I’m not sure I could do more than 13 miles on my own but then I’ve never ran further than a half marathon so maybe I’d surprise myself!

  • Marsha

    We have a local running club that meets 3 times a week. We do a newsletter, mark routes, etc. It’s been going strong for over 10 years. I absolutely love it! Can’t say enough about being a part of a good running club!

    • Wow, three times a week is fantastic. Do you manage to get to all three meets?

      • Marsha

        I do! Actually I’m one of the organizers, and I write our newsletter, make our new routes and mark them. We meet M and W evening for a 3 mile run and Saturday mornings for 7 miles (and more depending on long run schedule for the week).

        • That’s brilliant. I’m a group leader at one of my clubs and really enjoy running with them and seeing them improve.

  • Rachel

    I agree, running clubs are great. They’re fantastic motivators and it’s a great place to find new friends. 🙂

    • I’ve definitely made new friends through my running clubs, which is great. They can also be a good way of getting to know your area a bit better.

  • Runnin Rocker

    Before my husband started running with me, I belong to a running club. It was wonderful. I loved the accountability. I never wanted to skip a day because I knew that the girl that ran my pace, would have to run with someone else and I thought we made great running partners. It was fun to be able to watch each other make progress and also fun chit-chatting during our runs. I highly recommend running clubs to anyone that’s interested! That’s where I also first heard about different races and distances and how I decided I wanted to train to run a half marathon. Right on for run clubs!

    • It definitely helps with accountability if you know you’d be letting someone down by not going. And I think seeing everyone else’s progress and hearing about different races that you didn’t know existed helps to challenge yourself to try new things,

  • Roaring Mama Lion

    I would love to find a running club – unfortunately, the two I’ve found don’t work for a few reasons. The first group of runners is far too fast and exclusive feeling, and the second only runs on Sunday mornings which doesn’t work for my family schedule. Someday, I hope to find my running “tribe.”

    • I hope you find one too. I was lucky that the first one I went to was the one I joined. It helped that I’d been chatting online to people who were already members so I felt welcomed as soon as I got there.

  • I’ve always been a solo runner for some reason I enjoy that. I know I am weird:) But new runners, or others who have a hard time finding the time and motivation on their own, I agree with all your reasons, Running Clubs can be great for so many to help them both with the social aspect and motivation. But like you said for the fact that runners understand other runners!

  • It is wonderful you have two great groups you belong to. I am a member of a running club. But, they don’t do much except have a monthly meeting and social supper on a night that is never convenient for me. It is headed up by the same older group of runners, I’m guessing since the 70s. The club also times a lot of the local races and does an excellent job with that. All the money they collect is given to charity at the end of the year.

    • That’s one thing I forgot to mention. So many clubs run great races and most of the time the money will go to local charities. It’s great for community, even if you can’t go to everything the club does.

  • Two groups? That’s awesome! I LOVE my running group. I’ve been running with them for four years now and some of them are like family. We have spent many miles and hours on the road together. Nothing like running friends! 🙂

    Shannon (@GirlsGotSole)

    • Three if you count the one at work!
      That’s great that you’v been running with your group for so long now.

  • I love my running clubs! I belong to a bunch but find I participate the most with my moms running club and my trail running club. They are “my people” 🙂 I have made some very dear friends through running groups. I totally agree with all you’ve written! Glad to meet you through the blog hop!

    • There’s definitely room for more than one club, if you can find them, as each one is slightly different.

      Glad to have found another serial running clubber 🙂

  • I just joined a new run club but haven’t got to run with them yet. While on a run early this month I sustained a concussion so there won’t be any running anytime soon. But I do look forward to getting out there with them. I know when I join them it will be difficult because they will have already created relationships with each other. However, the wonderful thing about runners is their kindness and openness to new people!

    • Sorry to hear about your concussion. I know they can be difficult things to get over so I wish you a speedy recovery.

      I agree that runners are open to new people, and usually pretty friendly.

  • Sarah M (A Modern Shore Life)

    I’m not a runner, but I like the idea of this! Just like a gym partner, I like being held accountable and it motivates me!

    • Exactly. It’s having that motivation that helps.

  • I love running clubs! I’ve been a member of a few, and love the camaraderie they bring — I even met by husband through one. Being a member of a club makes a huge difference in both showing up (when you’re not feeling it) and in working harder!

  • Lindsey McRoberts

    I started running with a local club for my long run on Saturday mornings. It is a good time to meet new people and be able to run with (or behind) a group 🙂 I am a solo runner throughout the week, so it is nice to have a few familiar faces when there are more people involved. I really enjoy knowing that there are other runners out at the crack of dawn 🙂

  • Run and Live Happy

    These are all great reasons to join a running club! I especially like the one about like minded people. It’s just easier when people understand you! Lol

  • Totally agree with all of these reasons! I’m actually not part of a running club but I run online training groups for the exact same reasons! Love this and so thrilled to get to know you via the hop!!!

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