Remember when you ran in high school and college, loading up in the van and driving to afternoon cross country meets? You’d be wedged in between two of your friends, juggling bottles of water, and pleading with the coach to pull over because one of you has to pee. Again. Somebody in the front seat would burp really loudly. The coach, who was usually someone’s Mom or Dad, would pretend to be annoyed. Everyone else would laugh. You’d swap Powerbars, trading a peanut butter bar for wild berry. You’d make faces while eating the banana that had been squashed in your bag all day and you’d speculate about the chances of stopping at In ‘n Out on the way home after the race. You always had someone to run with, someone to complain with, someone who made you laugh, and someone who totally understood the runner’s high and the runner’s low.
But then you graduate.
You leave high school and college teams behind. You vow to keep running. Every day you lace your running shoes up and head out the door. You start doing the same loops over and over again. The scenery is boring, your pace never changes. It becomes harder and harder to get out the door. You rely on your headphones, you consider joining a gym. You pine for the days when you always had someone to run with and then, you think, wait…a running club! There must be one, and there is.
Here are ten reasons you should consider joining it.
Ok, not all running clubs are free. The more competitive clubs usually have some sort of membership fee, but it’s generally not that expensive. The majority of clubs are absolutely free.
Someone to Run With
Remember what it feels like to be so absorbed in conversation while running that when your running buddy announces the eight mile mark, you say “what?! no way!” Yeah, it’s a good feeling. Not only is it nice to get out and connect with people who share your passion for running, they’ll help motivate you to get out when you don’t feel like it and they’ll help you to stick with a training plan and run your best.
Running Club T-Shirts
Who doesn’t love a running club t-shirt? Especially one that’s Fair Trade certified, made from recycled or organic materials, and helps support microfinance and education programs! That’s called winning. You’re welcome.
Raise your hand if you’ve done that one loop by your house more than three times this week? Yeah. Totally been there. Mapping out new routes and exploring new territory (especially with trail running) can be daunting when you’re all by your lonesome. Joining a running club will inspire and encourage you to get out and explore your city and its surrounding area. You’ll get to see something besides your neighborhood and that’s always fun.
Nobody wants to get into their car and drive to go on a run. It’s a little counter intuitive. Still, some of the more amazing runs out in the woods, the hills, or along the coast require a little bit of freeway time. While it sucks to do that on your own, it can be a hell of a lot of fun to pile into a car with your running buddies and head out on a Saturday morning. Running mix CD? Check. Coffee? Check. Awesome running vibes? Absolutely.
It’s pretty hard to meet up with someone two to three times a week, run 10 miles through the hills, exchange chia seed recipes, and complain about chafing without making a new friend or two.
“So, what race are you doing next?” The most frequently asked question in a running club. Seriously. You will hear more about local races than you ever imagined. If you’re looking for new races or training buddies for the races you’ve already signed up for, this is the place to go.
Runs that end at a bar? Because IPA is the best recovery drunk. Or how about a run that ends at a food truck event or a farmer’s market? Saturday morning run followed by brunch? You got it. Not every run has to be about personal records and negative splits. Sometimes they should be about beer and banana splits. You earned it.
New Drinking Buddies
Let’s face it, IPA is the best recovery drink. Running and beer go so well together that there is a running club dedicated solely to combining the two. Their motto? Alcoholics with a running problem.
Mountain lions, rattlesnakes, heckling, runaway dogs, and traffic. Runners face a lot of obstacles on the trail and on the road, and there is definitely something to be said for safety in numbers. Joining a running club ensures that you’ll never hit the trails alone (unless you want to) and that you’ll look super cool charging down city streets in a pack of five, ten, or twenty runners.