The Benefits Of Running In A Group

I finally joined a running club!

It was one of the mini-goals that I had been actively avoiding doing for the last month or so and it feels so good now to have knocked it off the list.

Why is it that I spent so long putting this relatively simple task off?

In some ways, turning up to that introductory session was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time. Meeting new people for me is the equivalent of taking a blind run at a Royal Marines assault course (with my trousers round my ankles). There’s something truly terrifying and exhausting that I find about meeting new people for the first time in a social setting. Every time I stumbled into a party during University, regardless of how drunk I was, I was always struck with a cold, isolating pang of dread.

You’d think that over the course of ten years that I’d be able to shake off the social insecurities that I’d built up in my twenties – but apparently the ghosts of these anxieties still haunt my subconscious.

After finding the perfect running club to join (they meet literally a mile from my house) I left with plenty of time and walked very slowly over to the car park where the group met monthly. This is what I had been dreading for the last 6 weeks, sitting in the back of my mind, a constant reminder that I wasn’t doing what I set out to do. With every step that brought be closer to my destination I felt my heart grow heavier and heavier – I felt like stopping right there. I felt like turning around and running, escaping back to my old life, but it was too late, they’d already seen me.

Dressed as I was in my running gear, ambling slowly along the pavement, I’d attracted the group’s attention. They started waving me over and I was suddenly in no position to run away.

Of course, as with many of these social situations that I find so frightening, the reality of the situation is nothing as you will have feared. The people I met there were perfectly friendly, welcoming and more than eager to give me tips on my running. We spent that first session running at an easy pace, doing a simple loop around the perimeter of the local village and chatting the whole way. Running with others had suddenly made this new hobby so much more interesting.

In addition to be able to keep pace with people of your same ability, you have the chance to get to know people and discover new routes in your local area.The discovery of this running club and the subsequent overcoming of my social anxieties has led to me actively looking forward to my running sessions rather than seeing them as simply a thing that I must do. Looking forward to the future, it looks like I won’t be running the marathon alone.

Wherever I choose to run my first race – I have a raft of new friends who are eager to accompany me.