I know what your thinking, here it comes…. Goals Goals Goals! Now before I lose you this isn’t what you think! This isn’t another blog article on how to set the perfect goal for the New Year. Its not about racking up all kinds of crazy miles or deciding this is a year for a shiny new PR. While those are really good goals – that’s not at all what this is about. Instead, I’d like to draw your attention to the Running Community, the people that make lacing up your shoes and heading out the door easier and much more rewarding – the Run Club.
In my experience, the Run Club is the single most welcoming group of people on the planet. They don’t care about what you wear, what you drive or what you eat and for that matter they don’t care how fast or how slow you are. What they do care about is that you show up almost as though they are counting on you as much you are counting on them. You see, motivation comes and goes for all walkers and runners, lack of motivation does not discriminate and save itself for only the new, inexperienced or slower paced person and speed does not determine need!
Run club participation is up a whopping 37% since 2020 and more than 189,000 new clubs were created on Strava last year alone. So much about running is showing up for yourself but when you also show up for others, you create the kind of relationships that boost both your physical and mental health, and that’s a win for everyone!
If you are a seasoned Runner or just beginning your Walk/Run journey and have never belonged to a Walk/Run Club before – below are 8 great reasons to join and make 2024 the best Running year of your life!
1). SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES
People aren’t meant to go it alone. In fact there is a significant link between loneliness and depression. Loneliness is also associated with a 26 percent increase risk of premature mortality. It’s a feeling of belonging that really counteracts all the negative things associated with loneliness. Join your local run club and gain a greater sense of belonging!
2) OTHER RUNNING OPPORTUNITIES
Sure the run club may only meet up once or twice a week but what about other meet up opportunities? In a larger group the sky is the limit! Want to run bridge repeats early Saturday morning? Sure! Need a long run to help push yourself to a new limit? Absolutely! Want to improve and get faster? Hell yeah! The run club if an unlimited source of like minded people pushing themselves to new limits and it is the perfect place for you to find someone with a similar goal in mind and that doesn’t have to be limited to 1 or 2 times per week.
There will always be safety in numbers! Even if everyone has a slightly different pace there is great comfort and safety in starting and finishing together!
While I’ve already touched on this it is hugely motivating to walk/run with your peers. We all tend to push harder and get a better workout in. You will come away from a club run with far more inspiration than you would on any solo venture.
5) RACE DISCOUNTS
Ok, if you won’t admit you like or need others around this ones for you! Run Clubs typically get the best race discounts on local events. Usually by joining your local run club you can save anywhere between 10% to 15% on registration fees.
Running or walking in all conditions isn’t the easiest thing to do but if you have a weekly meetup scheduled it’s harder to bail in less favorable conditions. Why is it good to train in adverse weather? You never know what race day will hold! A good friend once said, “there is NO bad running/walking weather only poorly selected clothing!”
7) LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
In a day and age where we are all from somewhere else joining a local run club is a great way to learn more about the area you have moved to! *Pro tip – one thing I love to do when traveling is find a group or club run in that area to attend. It’s a great way to learn where locals go and what they enjoy about the area I’m visiting.
8) HAVE FUN
Last but not least – we ALL need to have more fun! Run Clubs typically embark on other social outings and this is a great way to get to know a broader range of club members instead of only those who are similarly paced. You don’t have to be FAST to be cool – you just have to show up!
There are many more benefits to joining a run club – these are just a few! If you are in our local Brunswick County area, we are starting a brand new weekly Grand Strand Running Club meet up on Monday evenings in Sunset Beach at 6:00 pm and I would love for you to join us. What do you need to do? It’s easy Join the club here: https://grandstrandrunning.com/ and show up it is that simple! The location is 2 E Main St Sunset Beach the Public Beach Access Parking Lot.
If you are located outside of our immediate area, find a club where you are! Here is a link to an online club directory: https://www.rrca.org/clubs/
You’ll never know if you’ll like belonging to a club unless you give it a try, memberships are affordable and all paces are welcome! Don’t let the term “Run” scare you away. I’ve never attended a group where speed was judged – it’s all about showing up and moving forward so let’s move in to the New Year and make it GREAT together!
Keep it Going ~ JoJo