Benefits of joining a running club

Fitness writer Sarah Benton explains the benefits of joining a running club.

When you're first starting out as a runner, trying to go it alone not only makes it harder to stay motivated, but you'll struggle to improve in terms of both speed and distance. There's only so much information you can read; in practice you have to get out there and do it and the quickest route to running faster and longer is to join a running club.

There are well over 1000 running clubs in the UK, catering to all abilities, ages and road surfaces. You don't have to be a speedy Gonzales or an ultra-distance runner to join one, they really are open to anyone that likes to run and wants to call themselves a runner. 

There are many benefits that stem from joining a running club, but here are the most important ones.

Support and information

Running is something our bodies are meant to do, but how well we do it depends on the training we put our bodies through. Taking your running to the next level by increasing your speed and/or running further, requires a variety of different training methods. As a beginner you won't know all about the benefits of interval and circuit training, fartlek runs, in and outs and pace runs. Neither will you understand the importance of rest days, which stretches are best and how to measure your progress.

When you join a running club you can benefit from a vast pool of knowledge and experience. You will be able to run with people faster and stronger than you and you'll be encouraged and supported throughout your membership. Any questions that arise can be answered simply, quickly and in person so you can really understand what you are being told. Coaching is offered at larger clubs and this is a fast track way to improved performance.


One of the main benefits of running is that you can do it on your own. But at the same time this can also be a barrier to enjoyment and progression because running alone in the dark, off-road and even through busy city streets can be dangerous. Running as a group means you have safety in numbers. You can run in more rural or quieter areas and you don't have to worry so much about your safety.

Financial benefits

Running is one of the cheaper sports out there; all you really need are a decent pair of trainers to get started. However, as soon as you start to take running more seriously, the costs begin to mount up. Specialist clothes, pace and heart-rate monitors, GPS trackers, transport to and from races, race entry plus the odd sports massage and physio session can rapidly push up costs. However, for a small annual membership fee most clubs offer discounted entry to races, special physio and sports massage rates and discounts at local sports shops. Others can even offer free clothing and transportation to and from races.

Find a Running Club near you.  


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Oh so true article Sarah!!

A shared enjoyment with like-minded people, new friends, cold but great fun county winter cross country, marshalling for local running events, camaraderie at local races to name but a few elements that I see and gain from. The nice thing is you can dial in and out as much or as little as you want from a club but know that they are always there when you fancy a run or need some help training or with injury recovery etc. Go on find one and turn up... yes the first few meets may be a little daunting, but the benefits for me far out-way the initial trepidation. Whats the worst that can happen... you discover its not for you and not go again... at best - all of the above and more.

Pop along to a parkrun one Saturday. That coming together and shared spirit is typical of a good running club. If that vibe is for you - then yes you should seek out a club and try it.

I am confident the majority of you wil not be disappointed.