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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
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.
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.
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.
Search for a race and sign up online.
Plan your training and record your progress.
Plot and view your running routes on a map.
Chat with other Running Bug members.
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