Running · Training

That Crazy Time I Joined A Running Club

Hi everyone!  I know I just posted about how I’m starting some new cross training through Pilates, but I have even more crazy news to share with you all.  As you all are probably aware, I’m a solo runner.  Every run I’ve ever done, with the exception of like 3 runs with my friend from last summer, have been done alone.  I’m a lone wolf, just going along at my slowish speed doing whatever I want.  It’s great for so many reasons – I can pick any location I want, squeeze it into any timeframes that are free for me, and push myself to go long without worrying about anyone else.  Running alone is what makes me feel comfortable, and I’ll probably never stop making that my primary way to run.

running aloneSo true, but I love it!

But there’s something that’s missing from my solo runs, and that’s a fire – a fire to run faster and harder, to push myself, to run crazy routes (and hills!), to learn how to do speed workouts, and to run on trails without worrying about bears.  And that fire can only come from running with other people.  The problem is that other than my awesome friend who I met last summer, I don’t actually have any runner friends.  I don’t know many people who run at my pace and I’m always self conscious about slowing other people down.  I kind of gave up on the idea of joining any kind of running club a while ago because I really just never considered myself a runner who was able to hold it down in a group.  But through some miracle I recently discovered a women’s running team here, and on the website it stated that all speeds were welcome.  The only stipulation was that runners should be able to run at least 3 miles without dying, and I actually fit that!  The club runs from April through August and it holds one Tuesday night run each week.  The workouts vary from fartleks to hills to track workout to trail, all with a focus on gaining speed and strength.  And luckily for me, the club started meeting last night!  I was so nervous all day – was I going to be too slow?  Will anyone else run 10:00-11:00 miles?  How many miles were we going to run each time and was I going to be able to handle it?

IMG_4735Ready for my first group run ever!

I showed up at the meeting place after Girls on the Run practice and immediately noticed like 20 women walking towards the trailhead wearing running clothes.  After talking to a few of them, I discovered that probably 90% of this year’s group is newbies, and none of them knew what we’d be doing and all of them definitely felt the same way I did about joining a running group.  As practice started, we were instructed to jog out about a mile with a partner to get to meet someone new.  Then we did four sets of structured fartlek runs “together” – we were instructed how hard to push ourselves for certain lengths of time, but really had the freedom to go at our own pace based on our own level.  After every hard push we ran super slow, and the people in the front looped back and met up with those of us in the middle and back until we were one large group running together again.  No one cared what anyone else was doing, and it was awesome!  People were joking around and having fun while still taking their paces seriously, and I pushed myself hard right until the end!  My biggest fears never actually happened – quite a few people were running at my pace, and I wasn’t the last person there!  And honestly, I don’t think anyone would have cared if I was  🙂  Overall we ran about 4.5 miles and I went home exhausted but super happy.  I think I’ve finally found a running group to join!  It does have dues but I think it’s worth it because I’ll be getting help with all of the running workouts that I tend to avoid because I have no idea what to do and everyone said it will help with my speed.  Plus I get to meet lots of new people who love to run which is something I’ve never experienced before.  I can tell it’s going to be a fun summer training with this group and I’m already looking forward to next week!

Do you run with a club or team?  How has it helped your running?  Were you super nervous the first day too?

29 thoughts on “That Crazy Time I Joined A Running Club

  1. I am also a lonely runner. The reason why I do not think about joining a club (in addition to loving the time on my own when I am out there) is the fact that running is not my main physical activity anymore. It is just something I love doing. I think that by joining a club, I will be adding some responsibility to it that is not my goal.
    Success with your club!

    1. That’s a great point. I’m trying really hard to focus on running so it helps me out, but if I was just running for fun there’s no way I would join a club! Have fun on your solo runs!

  2. Awesome news! I’m glad to hear your first club run went well!
    I joined a running club when I first moved from CA to VA, and when I within MD last year, I joined 2 clubs. It was the best decision(s) I’ve ever made! Pushing with people is so much better than pushing alone. Plus, if I ran every single run solo, I’d get super bored of running. Having friends to talk to on runs a couple of times per week really breaks it up (and keeps me looking forward to those runs) 🙂

  3. I hesitated about joining my local running club for the same reasons you listed… being afraid I’d be too slow and would be holding people back. Biting the bullet and joining anyway ended up being one of the best things I’ve done! I was totally self conscious my first day, but since then I’ve made great friends, learned cool new routes, and have gotten faster… that last one probably because while running with others I’m less likely to stop or slow down when I feel tired. 🙂

    1. This is so awesome! I was so nervous yesterday but I’m excited to get past that stage and really have some fun (and get fast!). So true, I don’t want to slow down when other people are there!

  4. Very cool! I’ve never joined a group for all of the reasons you gave above. That being said, I’m DETERMINED that I will at least TRY a Fleet Feet Saturday morning fun run once this summer. I think it could potentially be a fun, low-pressure way to get some miles in and hopefully make some runner friends, because I currently don’t have any!

  5. I’m a lone wolf too.! I would say lets start a lone wolf club.! but wait.. that would defet the purpose. :p lol
    that is so cool about meeting other runners in your area.!! It sounds like you had a great time. 🙂 I’m super jealous

    1. That’s so cool! I’ve only raced with a friend once and we were just doing it for fun, so it would be interesting to actually try to race with someone one day. I’m glad you found a cool group to join!

    1. Yay! It’s cool you can handle running with other people so much – that would drive me crazy! I need some solo runs to de-stress and relax without having to think about being social 🙂

  6. How fun! I used to belong to a running group in NC but haven’t found one in PA yet. They are so much fun and make you feel so cool when you know people at the races you go to. I hope you enjoy your new friends!

    1. You should! I won’t ever give up solo running, but I think it will be nice for me to meet some running friends in my new city. Plus I’ll do anything to help me get faster!

  7. I joined a running club a few years ago when I was training for a marathon – I only met them for our long weekend runs, but loved it! It was a large group so everyone broke off based on pace and there was no pressure. I joined a new group this past weekend and tried interval training for the first time… Not sure it’s for me, but only time will tell. Trying something new is always intimidating at first!

    1. That’s awesome! I agree, getting myself to go to practice was harder than the actual workout! I think if I ever run a marathon I’ll need some running friends to get me through the long runs.

  8. I’ve never tried running with a team, but I do enjoy running with friends as a way to catch up with them + visit different places in my hometown whenever I’m back for [a very short] vacation!

    I’m glad your first run with the running club went well! 😀 They sound really awesome and supportive! :]

  9. Hi! I found your blog in a Google search for running groups in Anchorage. I’m newer to the area and have been trying to find a group to join. Which one are you in? I’ve been eyeing the Skinny Raven Her Tern group but haven’t been able to get any answers about whether there are still spots.

    1. Hey! I’m new to the area too so I know how tough it is to get some new running friends here 🙂 I’ve been going to the Skinny Raven Pub Runs which are fun but not great for actually meeting people, and I’ve also signed up for the Her Tern Half training group which starts in a few weeks (are you running the half?). But the one I wrote about in this post is called Exceed! It was my first experience running with a group and it was a lot of fun. I definitely recommend trying it out!

  10. I have been on the fence since I don’t want to do another half marathon unless I can PR. Your encouragement & a post from Skinny Raven about spots filling up were the push I needed. I registered for the half and the training group. 🙂

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