Is A Running Club Right For You?


The Zen zone felt by avid runners is well documented. The magic has been thoroughly chronicled. You’ve heard the tales, “running is one of the few times I have all to myself.” Or “running alone is the ultimate ‘me’ time.” Or the favorite,  “running is the time when I can be alone, at one with nature and get away from it all.” Sound familiar?

Well it turns out that running alone may not be nearly as effective or fun as running in the company of others. In fact, many experts believe that one of the best strategies for any runner, whether you are super serious or a benign beginner, is to join a running club. 

Currently there are more than 17,000 running clubs jogging across the country, and that number continues to grow. In addition, more than one-half of these clubs are dedicated to beginning runners. From San Diego to Savannah, running clubs are becoming one of the most popular social groups in the United States. 

One of the reasons underlying the growth surrounding running clubs can be defined as  simple socialization. Think camaraderie not competition. In fact, researchers have found that runners who run with partners or in a group tend to run more often than those who go it alone. The reason scientists postulate is because there is a sense of support and responsibility that comes when you are a member of a group or team. 

However, in addition to these reasons, most running clubs offer unique benefits to their members as another bonding mechanism. If you think about it, running clubs are no different than county clubs or treehouse clubs. There is usually a special connection that runs common through each member, and if you’re lucky a secret handshake as well. For example, one running club in Georgia allows its members to play with a group of puppies after its run. Another club in California meets at the local pup for a good beer after a good huff. Nike+Run Club offers everything from speed runs to repair runs that heal parts of a body that has been injured. They even have a club that explores routes that are very special to a location, allowing the runners to experience their city, trials and parks in a way only runners can understand.

Obviously, as you continue to accumulate running miles, you will undoubtedly begin to get to know your running members as well. Over time, this companionship because more important than the exercise, allowing you to discuss just about everything under the sun. Before you know it, the lines between exercise and fun become blurred. You may be lacing up your shoes but in your mind you can’t wait to share your critique of the new movie you saw last night.

While there will always be a soulful element to hitting the streets in the early morning dawn, next time you want to try a new twist to your running ritual, check out the local running clubs in your area. You may discover a friend during your final quarter-mile. 

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