This past weekend I ran with two new running groups. The first one is a casual group that meets at a local bar to run and then catches up over beers—my kind of group! The second one is my new marathon training group. This was my first time running with groups in about a year and a half, because most of the time is spent with my running buddy. I did make a couple of rookie mistakes. I thought I’d share my tips on things to remember when running with a group so you can learn from my experience!
- Run your pace. When running with a group, it can be tempting to run faster or slower than you normally do to fit in. Remember that’s it not a competition. Chances are there is someone that runs your similar pace. Automatic run buddy!
- That being said, take advantage of the group. When I ran with the casual group last week, folks seemed to be either just a hair faster or a good bit slower than I wanted to run. I stuck with the faster group and got in an unexpected tempo run. It’s not good to always run faster than is comfortable but pushing yourself will only benefit your running. (Disclaimer: please know yourself and don’t run with a group running 8 minute miles if you normally run an 11 minute mile. You will injure yourself!)
- Ditch the headphones. I feel sad when I see people put in headphones during group runs. I get it, but I feel sad. I used to think that it was impossible for me to run without music, so I completely understand. However the fun in running with a group is chatting with folks. And putting headphones in says “don’t talk to me.” It may be a challenge but give running without your headphones a try. Plus many groups don’t allow their members to run with headphones because of safety issues.
- Talking is allowed. And if you are running with me, encouraged. I know lots of folks who say that they can’t run and talk. I used to be one of them. The truth is you can run and talk; you just have to get used to it. You may have to run a bit slower at first but that’s okay because the friendships you make are worth it. Plus twenty mile runs are WAY more fun when you are using the time to catch up and chat with your best running friends. Trust me on that one!
- Have fun! Group runs are supposed to be fun! Yes, it might be your long run but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop to take a picture, wait for your buddy while they take a much needed potty break or stop to admire just how beautiful your surroundings are. Enjoy the company, get your run in but remember that it IS supposed to be fun!
Related: Why Running With A Buddy Is Awesome
Do you run with a group? What are your tips?