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Choosing the right running club

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Many of us runners are just happy running alone. But not every is. A big part of running culture is sharing the experience, being social and motivating each other. Some of us just need people to keep us from neglecting practice. If you’re a solo runner making the switch to joining a club, you may feel overwhelmed with choice. Here are things to consider to narrow down the options so you can find the right club for you.

Social versus performance based: What do you hope to get from joining a running club? It might be because you need people to help you train for that upcoming marathon. Or maybe you just want to meet more people who share your love of running. If that’s the case, you might do well to join a running crew. It’s important to consider goals or you’ll get overwhelmed by all the options. Signing up to join a group that doesn’t meet your needs will just lead to disappointment.

Age group: Is age group important to you? Some people like running with people who are close to their age. It might mean there’s more common ground to fuel conversation on a long run. Others appreciate having running friends in the same age group to compare race times with. Different clubs sometimes attract different age groups. For many, runners of all ages is better. We’re all different.

Time of day: Do you wake up before the sun does all set and ready to go? Guess what? There’s many people who will be happy to meet you at 5:30 a.m. If that thought disgusts you, there’s also a group of people who would be eager to run with you at night when others are bar hopping. Some work places even have groups of lunch time runners. Which time of day is most suitable for a run is something nearly every runner has an opinion on.

Runs per week: Some people need a group that they meet once a week just to keep them faithful to their long run (and staying fit the rest of the week) but you might want to meet your group several times a week to do many different types of workouts. The degree of involvement with a club can vary. You can have a club to touch base with or you can have a group that you do nearly all of your running with. Which one is you?

Type of run: Do you run to improve split times on the track or to explore your city? (or both?) When choosing a club, ask about their routes and where they train. Do you see yourself enjoying that kind of practice or dreading it?