If you have ever gone on a run or run in a race, you know the feeling of complete exhilaration when you finish. There is nothing like it; it makes your feel invincible. Anything that makes you feel that good should be spread to others. Even if you have never run a step, you can give it a try. Every journey starts with the first step.
RUNNING CLUBS AS MOTIVATION
Many people whom start running may have a hard time getting out for regular training runs. They may not continue to run because they aren’t motivated to get out there. Joining a running club may be just the thing to help runners get out there, get healthy and be social. Weekly runs can be on a set schedule so that everyone will know where and when to meet.
It can be an appointment that is set just like a hair or doctor’s appointment; neither of which you would want to miss. Also, if you hit a plateau with your running, others in the club may give you that extra push you need to get to the next level. There is nothing like getting a pep talk from someone who has been in your shoes to get your moving.
“New research further bolsters the positive effects of social contacts, finding that participation in different social groups can improve mental health and help a person cope with stressful events.” — Rick Nauert PhD
RUNNING CLUBS AS A HEALTH ROUTINE
Exercise is very important for our health and long life. Sitting on the couch is not helping anyone’s health routine. “Studies have shown that running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, and a host of other unpleasant conditions” (www.runnersworld.com) The club can encourage their members to get out there and get moving, thus promoting a healthy lifestyle. Most runners are also healthy eaters so they can share products or recipes that they have tried. A healthy potluck each month could also be planned.
RUNNING CLUBS AS A SOCIAL ACTIVITY
If running is something you’ve wanted to try or something you’ve been doing for awhile, what better way to socialize than to include something that you love. You will immediately have something in common with others in the group. They can give you tips on warm ups, stretches, best sneakers, etc. After a long (or short) run, the group may get together to socialize at a local café or home. Guest speakers can even be invited to share their knowledge of running. Lifelong friendships can be forged. The once a week run may blossom into several other runs or plans to do races as a team.
“As humans, we seem to have a built-in expectation that we will fit somewhere, that people will acknowledge us and care about us, that, in short, we will be in a band.” — Gary Bernhard, Ed.D. and Kalman Glantz, Ph.D.
RUNNING CLUBS AS SOCIAL ACTIVISM
There are a myriad of races whose sole purpose is to raise money for different charities and social actions. Many for-profit races have teams of racers that run for a specific charity or group. This is can be a huge motivator if it is a cause near and dear to your heart. It is a win-win because the charity is getting donations and the runner is getting in a healthy run. As the teams run through the streets and down the roads, they are bringing an awareness of their charity or group to spectators.
KIDS RUNNING CLUBS
If you are a runner and enjoy working with children, you can set up a kids’ running club in your community. This could be especially useful for the middle school and high school ages because they often don’t have an outlet for their energy or may not have supervision after school and during the summer. Holding a weekly run at a school track or local park can give them somewhere to go and give them a sense of belonging. Nothing says come be a part of something like a sport that anyone can try.
“It may be hard work, but it is worth the effort. Regular exercise can help you feel more positive.” — Jane Framingham, Ph.D.