[00:00:00] Maybe you’re new to running or like me, you’ve been at it for a couple decades. In either case, you pretty much just run by yourself. You’re a lone wolf, you say. But you’ve been thinking, are there any benefits to joining a pack? Should you join a running club? I’m Jesse Funk. This is a show I call Runner’s High. And if you haven’t been with me here on the channel before, you’re going to want to hit that subscribe button because I talk about everything running. Anything from training to all the social aspects like we’re going to talk about today. So, you don’t want to miss out on that. Hit that subscribe button. Tuesdays and Thursdays all-new episodes of Runner High every single week.

[00:00:48] Okay. So, when we’re thinking about joining a running club, we’re maybe a little apprehensive, right? Maybe you like me get a little anxious about meeting new people, generally introverted again, like me. And you think, ah, do I really want to meet new people, or if they don’t like me, all these thoughts go through your head.

And the first thing you should know is pretty much anytime I met any group of endurance people, regardless of ability level, from amateurs just starting out all the way to World Class Bros, everybody’s super friendly. So, that’s something that’s really built up in our own minds, if that’s you, that you have to get over. Because it is definitely worth joining a running club, if you have the time to do so.

[00:01:35] This is something I had the fortune of being a part of just through being in school; middle school, high school, scholarship in college. So, I had a period of nine years where I had a built-in running group. And then post-college because I had aspirations of pro triathlon, I basically went to the point where I was just working out by myself a lot.

And it was a big shift, a very big shift mentally. It’s much tougher to get the time in by yourself than if you had a scheduled time with a group, like at school. But as most of us do, we get older, we leave school, we no longer have the sometimes very useful confines of that atmosphere and it can be hard to schedule up with this person and that person.

[00:02:27] So, doing a group run with somebody every single day may not be feasible. But the benefits of joining a running group, go beyond the ability to run faster. Sure, you’re going to meet faster people, unless you’re world class, and then you’ll find your way to a group of people that kind of meets with you. But beyond that, there’s a large social aspect to running in a group and running with a running club that you simply can’t get by yourself. It’s something that we often overlook.

We think running is an individual sport, right? You know, I’m putting my own feet in front of me. Yes, I guess in school, there are teams, but that’s not really a thing in road racing, generally speaking. And so we’re like, “Well, today individual effort, so I might as well train individually.” But there’s so many benefits to being in a group, and it’s a lot of intangibles because we like it or not, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you benefit from being around other people, from having that social aspect. And that’s something right now, while I’m filming this during COVID, that we’ve all probably are more keenly aware of on missing out on.

[00:03:41] So, I’m filming this with the idea that we’re hopefully in a post-COVID world at some point, when this video is being watched in the future. Obviously, not right on release. But knowing that that social aspect has so much benefit for you because it’s an outlet, right? It’s an outlet to have friends. And there are so many studies talking about how casual friendships, even if they’re not these deep meaningful relationships that we crave. Just having casual friendships can help improve kind of our mood, improve our lives through having that basic connection, and running is one way to do that.

[00:04:26] Beyond the obvious aspect of, Okay, now I can have inbuilt friends, which is great, especially as an adult because it’s hard to make new friends. The other thing that’s very, very easy to get when you have a running club is accountability. You start showing up and then you don’t show up, people are going to ask where you were. They’re going to say, “Hey, where were you? Why weren’t you here?” And they mean well, because they want you to be with the group.

They want you to be a part of it. They probably miss you because they’re your friends, and they want you to be consistent, something I’ve talked about on this channel a lot. So, that accountability is a big part of being a part of a running club. And I think of it as a side aspect to the benefit of the social structure. But it’s something that makes things easier when we’re having a tough time and maybe we’re tired. Well, show up to the club, you start talking, the run goes a little bit faster. The time doesn’t seem to drag on quite as much as when we’re in our own heads for the entire run, for the entire duration all the time.

[00:05:32] The last thing I want to talk about with a running club is something that is on the more technical side of it, is that you might be able to get help with pacing. So, if pacing is a big struggle for you, or you’re having a tough time pacing slightly ahead of yourself. This is where if you’re in the right group, you can find somebody that’s better at pacing than you or is slightly faster than you.

And I don’t mean a lot, I mean, just slightly, and then you’re able to tag on to them when you’re doing intervals, if you get together do interval work, track work. And this is something that is really, I think, overlooked by many beginners, is that there is a benefit to sitting behind somebody. There are physical benefits in terms of wind resistance and breaking the wind. Obviously, not as large as in cycling, where it is so common. But it’s more mental because there’s a lot of mental energy we have to expend to sit on a particular pacing point.

[00:06:33] When we aren’t expanding that, meaning we’re sitting behind somebody and letting them do the pacing and kind of letting our brain go a little more on autopilot, not entirely. That’s energy that we can conserve mentally, for later on, when tough things occur. We really only have so much of a bank, so much of a reserve for grit and determination.

The pool is only so deep. So, conserving that by letting somebody sit in pace for you helps you potentially go faster without as much mental fatigue. And then you get the ability to say, “Hey, I ran that interval. I know I can run that interval.” And that helps you out on your own later if you’re not able to have somebody pace you.

[00:07:16] So, that is one of the technical benefits of being in a running club. But again, assuming we’re in a post-COVID world, then joining a running club is absolutely something you should consider if you can make the time. And that means it has to be something important to you. Because if it’s important to you, if it’s high enough on your priority list, then you will make the time.

Or everybody, simply not feasible for absolutely everyone. But very, very much considerate, your city, your neighborhood, somebody has a running club in your area, I guarantee it. Check them out, see when they meet, check local running stores. Sometimes they even get together for runs. There are going to be a lot of resources at these kinds of venues for you to find a group that fits well with your schedule.

So, do you have any questions for me, things you’d like answered in videos in the future? Leave them down in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. And as always, I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.