Over the past two seasons I have been training with a running group up in Bethesda, Maryland. We get together on Wednesday evenings (at Lululemon Athletica – Bethesda Row) and head out on various routes through the neighborhood depending on the season and the number of runners showing up to tackle the workout. The best thing I enjoy about running in a group is the accountability by your peers to show up even when you don’t want to.
The bulk of the group I run with are members of Team RWB. In case you don’t know about this group, they are a community of active military, veterans, and civilians looking to connect our armed services members to their communities through physical and social activities. This group completely embodies that mission.
Running with this group has been great training for me. By being accountable to them, and myself, I show up and run on a consistent basis. The other thing is, in the warmer months, there is always someone (or two or three) willing to go long or short; fast, tempo, or recovery; or up for where the run takes you. You never have to come with a plan; but if you do, someone will join in. This is something I find great about the group that I have selected to run with. They are supportive and encouraging to everyone that shows up to run. To them, it truly is, “the more the merrier.”
So, what are the bullet point benefits of running with a group?
A group will hold you accountable to show up when you are not feeling like you want to go. Peer pressure, and your personal Jiminy Cricket, will get you there and once you start your workout it only gets easier from there.
Having the group showing up at the same time and place each week will in turn build the habit and consistency of each week doing your workout. If you are like me, you will start to crave that weekly gathering to share the pain of the workout with others.
As you start working out with the same people over and over again, you will find a subsect of the group that motivate you to push your limits. It might be running faster or longer; either way, you are going beyond what you thought were your limits.
Some groups have coaches, or seasoned runners, that can assist with tips and tricks for running more efficiently. Running isn’t just about muscling through the workout. There are better ways to run, and a group can provide the outlet to ask questions (and hopefully get well informed answers).
This is the no brainer of the group. Which is better, running alone or with some of your friends? Easy, friends! There are times when you need to go out on your own, but for the most part the social aspect of the group run is just getting together and doing something fun with others. Plain and simple.
If you happen to be in the Bethesda area on Wednesday evenings, I encourage you to come out for a run with me. I promise it will be fun. I hope to see you out there soon.