I never thought I would belong to a running group. You see, I live in a small town on the Oregon Coast. And while we have perks like minimal traffic and lots of cows, we do not have many of the amenities that runners love. Like running stores, big races, or running groups.
I desperately wanted to be part of a group of like-minded runners. I wanted to run with them and discuss things that non-runners hate to talk about. You know… carb loading, blisters, long runs, jerks who drive by too fast and too close, chaffing.
So I decided to start my own group. I had a handful of wonderful running friends – I set up a Facebook Group and invited all of them. Each time I see someone post something awesome or we meet up for a run, I am so grateful to finally have this group in my life.
The ladies in my group are a troop of strong, sassy, and smart women who love to run. We try to get a group run in once a week. The goal of these runs is to connect, not to go fast. We slowly plod as we discuss kids, jobs, and we get all that running talk out of our systems so we aren’t annoying non-runner friends and spouses. I’m not sure if other, more professional, running groups out there get really serious during their group runs. I just know that we are all about fun and motivation.
We post on the Facebook page – our achievements, frustrations, hilarious stories (like ‘what not to eat before running’ – we have quite a list going), injuries, strength training exercises, motivating articles, and links to races.
Belonging to a running group not only boosts motivation, but it keeps me accountable. As the founder of the group, I feel that I need to be present for group runs and set a good example for the group. I don’t always want to go on the group runs. I am an introvert, and that is part of why running appealed to me in the first place. I enjoy running miles and miles on my own, with no distractions. I use this time to work through problems, anger, frustration, and creative struggles.
But getting out with my running buddies once a week keeps me grounded in reality and helps me keep up with my social skills. Sometimes I get too deep in my own head, and I need an occasional block of time that is completely devoted to nurturing relationships that I cherish. I found that I can still achieve the release I crave through running with friends. And that has made me a happier person.
What do you need in order to start your own running group?
- One or two running friends or acquaintances
- Some type of messaging system – Facebook Group page, group text string, etc.
- Time to set up group runs two to four (more or less) times per month
- A willingness to lead, empower and motivate
In conclusion, why should you start or join a running group?
- Being part of a community of people that are as passionate about running as you are
- Motivation all the time – whether you need it or not
- A sounding board for questions you have about anything running – pace, injury, gear, etc.
- A support group for when you have problems – with running or life
- A scheduled excuse to get out of the house and get your run done
- Competitiveness – I believe a little bit of competition does wonders to get you where you want to go
- Accountability – no one will hold you accountable for your training and nutrition better than a running group
What would I be doing without my group? I’d still be running those lonely roads without knowing the joy of sharing this sport with other people. And the new friendships I have made are priceless.