Having spoken to a wide variety of top runners on the Let's Get Running podcast a large proportion of them spoke to me about the progress they have made as a result of running in a group.
GoodGym runner Axel Manzano talked about the impact training with a group of stronger runners had on his motivation while international Hannah Walker suggested her best performances had come when she was part of a strong training group at Birmingham University.
But finding the right group isn't easy and committing to specific time slots in can be difficult. For some the solitary nature of running is part of the appeal. But if you want to improve maybe it's time to give it a go- even if it is just once a fortnight.
Here's 3 reasons why;
I bloody love running but even I waste a lot of time procrastinating before I head out on solo interval sessions. Running groups remove any indecision.
Consistency is the key to improving your running and being accountable to your friends and training partners helps you lock in a consistent routine.
2. The motivation of friendly rivalries
My best periods of racing and training have coincided with periods when I have had a specific running rival. It's always friendly of course, (that's the beauty of running- you will always empathise), but mapping your progress against others will motivate and encourage you to work that little bit harder.
Simply running alongside others will improve your performance in a workout. Psychologists use the term social facilitation to describe “an improvement in performance produced by the mere presence of others.” I'm willing to bet £100 that very few people can run a 5k faster on their own than with a bunch of people on a Saturday morning ParkRun.
3. Learning from Others
Running with a group is a great way to learn, whether its from a coach or your training partners. A good coach should always be able to tell you how and why a particular session will benefit you while your training partners can offer a different perspective from their approach to running.
There are loads of different groups to get involved with all offering slightly different approaches to group training. Here's just a few;
Run England Run Groups.
Recreational running groups across the country. Check the link where you can find groups in your area.
Start a run group at your office.
Let's Get Running will set up and run an running group for your company. We start and finish at the office so it fits nicely into the day.
If you are able to get a run club started at your work we will offer 10% off all personal coaching plans for you, and 25% off a Running analysis session for anyone connected to you or the business.
A running group with a difference. They run, but they use the run to help others-running to help groups and individuals in their communities who need help with physical tasks. They organise weekly runs in areas across the country helping food banks sort food, community gardens with heavy lifting and older people with help around the house. Find out more here.