Running is basically a solo sport. There are more days where we find ourselves running alone as compared to when we run with others. There are also a lot of reasons why we choose to run alone, with a common one being that it’s therapeutic and sort of our “me time”, right? Right. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t once that runner but after the pandemic, which completely destroyed my already less than stellar social life, I came around with a different mindset. I wanted to be more social and active in the running community that I’ve grown to love. However, there’s a heavy thought holding me back, “Can I keep up with other runners?” I did a group run session one day and quickly realized that the thought shouldn’t occupy my mind. The great thing about running communities especially in those that I’ve ran with is that everyone is accommodating and welcomes any new runner with open arms - no matter what pace he or she runs in.
So here are some things I learned from running with different people in the running community.
Running Is A Social Sport
I said earlier that running is basically a solo sport but after running with different groups, I came to the realization that it’s actually a great social activity. Humans are social animals to begin with, so why not make the thing that we love most into a social gathering? Runners are naturally passionate people and almost all of us like to share stories about anything running-related. You’ll be surprised with just how many friends you can make!
Talking topics can include our latest runs, breaking PRs, upcoming races and even the heavenly food rewards that come after end of every run!
Let’s say you’ve registered for a race that starts in a few months. During training, there will absolutely be days when you don’t want to run because you lack the motivation to keep pushing or just have gotten lazy. This is where having a run group comes in handy. Share with them your situation and they will absolutely help you get up, lace up and run! The endorphin kicks you gain at the end of each run is also a nice motivator to stay consistent but believe me, seeing a running post from your friends on social media can replicate just the same amount of motivation to get you and running. Hopefully, that makes you ditch Netflix and go run!
New Routes Are More Fun With Someone
There’s no problem sticking to just one route when running and solo runners love this. Your body gets wired into knowing where it’s headed so it frees the mind off of distractions. You find yourself running in a state of trance where time quickly passes by and the next thing you know, the run is over and you find yourself wondering where it was you even ran in. Sometimes it’s good to change things up a bit though and explore more routes to prevent you from getting bored when on the run. This is what I love about group runs, you won’t need to spend extra hours planning your next running route and it can take you to places you don’t normally go to.
The running group EZRC (EZ Run Club) has absolutely got this locked. Weekends are meant for exploration and this community makes running all the more fun by covering landmarks near and around the Pasig area that closely resembles famous places around the world. They’re a warm bunch that welcomes all faces and all paces!
Peer Pressure Becomes Good
As with any group, peer pressure is also present in running groups. But don’t be confused, this peer pressure doesn’t involve any scenarios of you getting drunk until the wee hours of the morning! The enablers here are the good kind and the runners you surround yourself with will pressure you into doing things that can turn you into a better runner: to run longer distances, to buy a new pair of running shoes and even to join some upcoming races. These peer pressures are generally harmless yet challenging enough to push you to do better when covering the miles.
Running At Night Is Safer
Let’s be honest, running is time consuming. To get in an easy 30 minute run, you’ll actually need at least an hour. That’s 15 minutes for warm up/stretching, 30 minutes of the actual running, then 15 minutes for the cooldown. Some of us don’t have the luxury of time in the morning so the other choice is to run at night. However, running at night poses different problems too, mainly about safety.
It’s good that most running groups hold sessions at night but the group I like running most with when the sun goes down is Red Light Run Club. The club runs around the Makati area going through underpasses, overpasses and different areas in the lively central business district. It kind of feels like a field trip in some cases. The coolest part about this group is that meet ups take place in Poblacion so food access post run is never going to be an issue. So the next time you find yourself hesitant to go for a night run, consider giving the club a shot and you’ll be treated with a unique and fun running experience. You’ll also be safe ‘cus after all, there surely is no person dumb enough to harass someone running with a group.
Post Run Hits Different
This isn’t really a part of “running” per se but of course everyone loves to eat post run and we Filipinos sure take our food seriously. Runners run to eat (do not deny this!) and what’s better than eating with a bunch of like-minded people talking about what just happened on the run. Think of this as sort of the coffee session after watching a movie with friends. It’s the way running groups decompress after a run, and good news is there will be no judgment when you find yourself ordering too much. Just say “I just ran, I need energy”. Chances are you won’t be alone in saying this.
You Will Get Better
If anyone asked me three years ago if I thought I’d get better running with a group, I would’ve answered with a resounding NO. But as we all know, change is constant and new learning opportunities present themselves. I now whole-heartedly preach joining a group to get better at running. Two years ago, I joined WeKenRun and that kickstarted the shift in my mindset. It gave me the right support system that pushed me hard in training (and life in general). You may not feel it yet but there really is something exhilarating about the warm camaraderie you get when in a running group. Who knew that sharing some laughs about feeling like crap after a run could bring so much people together?
And these are my 7 personal reasons to why I advise any runner to join a running group! I most certainly still love running alone but no doubt, running with a group can sometimes create a different positive stimulus when things get a bit boring for me. You too should do the same so go check out the different running groups around your area or ask other runnrs what groups they run in! You certainly won’t regret it so go start running today!
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