Lebron James once said:
When you work out or you’re doing anything active, it’s more fun as a group. You may lose track of the time, and the next thing you know, you’re working out for two hours because you’re having fun.
I couldn’t agree more with Lebron’s words. This morning, I ran over 7 miles with alocal running group. We started bright and early at 6:00, but when the run came to an end, I found myself saying, “That run went fast!”
How I Started Running with a Group
I started running with our local running group about 2 years ago while training for the Chicago Marathon. Marathon training is no joke, especially when you start running 14+ miles each weekend. I had gone out for a 14 mile training run and had a terrible experience. I stopped to walk, which I don’t normally do. I cried a few times and it was hot. It was just an all around, no good, very bad training run! I need to get these training runs done each week. Consistency and time on my feet is key when training for a marathon! My husband was concerned to the point that he thought I should just stop running. He knows I enjoy running, but hated to see me so miserable after a long run or dreading the long run as the weekend approached. I had the tendency to keep putting it off until I absolutely HAD to go out and do it. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.
I looked at the website for our local running club and noticed the different group runs offered throughout the week. I decided to email the group run leader and get some more information for the Saturday run. She was very welcoming and responded quickly! She said they’d love to have me join them and accommodated a range of pace levels. It just so happened that many of the other group runners were training for a fall marathon so their long run distance coincided with mine! How perfect is that??
I was giddy with excitement the night before as I laid out my running clothes and everything I needed for my run (fuel, water, watch, etc.). Let’s do this!
There were probably about 10-12 runners that Saturday morning. Everyone went around and introduced themselves, making me feel welcome from the start. The group leader took note of everyone’s mileage goals and we were off!
The run was awesome and I got to meet so many runners! Many of them shared their own experiences training for a marathon with me. One of the runners gave me a lot of good information about how/when to fuel during training as well as the training plan she follows. She happened to be a certified running coach and was more than happy to answer any questions I had. How awesome is that? We connected on Facebook and she added me to a group page specifically for the runners in my area. They call themselves, “Chics that Run”. I love this name and found the group page very helpful! Runners will post questions or ask for suggestions on anything running related. The group page was also great for finding a running buddy!
I continued to join the group on Saturday mornings for my long training runs. We ran all over town talking about anything and everything! I met some runners who ran a similar pace as me. It was always fun listening to the runners talk about the races they did or were going to be doing. The group consists of runners at all different paces, different ages and different running experiences. You really get to learn a lot about someone when you are running next to them for 18, 19, even 20 miles.
Benefits of the Saturday Morning Group Run
- My long run was done for the week. I still have my whole Saturday and Sunday available for whatever else is going on. We start early enough that I am done with my long run usually before my husband is even awake for the day.
- I made a lot of great friends.
- CONSISTENCY in my training!
- I learned to LOVE running again. My mentality about going long on the weekends changed from a feeling of dread to one of enthusiasm.
- I ran new places and learned new routes. One Saturday, when we were doing 20 miles, we ran from park to park to park. We took lots of pictures along the way. That was fun!
Once my running was consistent and I was enjoying it again, I wanted to start supplementing my running with strength workouts. As a runner, I know how important it is to build core, arm and leg strength. Logging the miles every week definitely takes a toll on my body so I need to keep my muscles strong! If anything, the strength training helps prevent injury.
One day, while browsing through my Facebook feed, I came across a post for a “30 Days to a Stronger You” post. The group was starting a 30 day plank and push-up challenge “to get our tummy ready for summer”. It peaked my interest so I joined the group! We posted when we completed each day of the challenge plus any other activity we did (running, biking, walking, hiking, etc.). We would comment on other posts to encourage and support one another. Each month, the challenge changed/adapted with the needs of the group. Arm exercises, leg exercises and core work were incorporated. We continued to encourage, motivate and support one another each day of the monthly challenges. This online interaction was fun and definitely kept me motivated every day! I came to become friends with some of the members, specifically a core group in Florida. Last June, I decided to make a trip to Florida to run with them. We all participated in a fun 5K and did a trail run together. This group definitely encourages me to keep going and push through when the workouts get tough. It is such an amazing group of inspirational runners. Each runner has a unique story and experience, but running has brought us all together! That’s what I love most about it!
Running with a group has brought so many new people into my life! Deciding to start training with the group was one of the best decisions I ever made and I hope I’ve inspired you to find some local running buddies. What is your favorite way to work out or be active? Do you run or work out with a friend? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the the comments below!