Running Buddies

Source: Redbubble (shirt available for purchase)

I think a lot about running clubs and what it would be like to have a group of people, or even just one person, to run with consistently.  For one thing, I have days when waking up early to go running would be one thousand percent easier if I knew I were going to meet up with someone and therefore had a date to keep.  For another, sometimes running gets lonely.  I do appreciate the opportunity to get some time to myself, but it would be nice to have the option of having some company.  So when Katie tweeted yesterday that she wished she had a running buddy, I knew exactly how she felt.

I live in New York City, where there is God’s own number of running clubs.  Technically, I don’t have an excuse for not joining one, especially given how many times I’ve said I’d like to.  I am part of the LUNAChix team, but our season doesn’t officially start until April, and being as shy as I am, I’m a little stressed about running with a team of women I don’t know (but who already know each other).  In fact, my fears about being part of the LUNAChix team are similar to my fears about running clubs in general:

  1. Like I just said, I’m pretty shy and social situations (even when I know the people who will be there) make me nervous.  I have a hard time not over-analyzing everything I say and do which makes it hard for me to just be in the moment and not worry about whether or not I’m coming off as a total dweeb
  2. What if I’m slower than everyone else?
  3. What if I can’t run as far as everyone else?

Are these fears silly?  Yes.  Are they valid?  Also yes, if you ask me.  New York is full of running clubs and it’s also full of runners.  And sometimes, when I’m running in Central Park, it kind of seems like most of them are significantly faster and fitter than I am.  I’m super self-conscious about my speed and my fitness level, and I have fantasies that once I’m in better shape and running faster, I’ll have the confidence to join a club.  Right now, most of the other runners I know are people I’ve met either through blogging, or through twitter.  It would be nice to connect with other runners in person.  Other benefits: running with someone who is slightly faster than I am and who can get me to push my pace a bit more; accountability; a more regular running schedule.

I’m interested in hearing about what other people think about running clubs and running buddies.  Do you run with someone else, or a group of people?  If you don’t, is it because you just prefer to run alone, or because there aren’t any options available to you, or because you share the fears I have?  Have you had any experience with a running club?  Did you enjoy it?  Share your stories in the comments section–I’d love to hear from you!

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4 comments

  1. I just joined my first run club and it’s completly changed how I run! Although running in itself is new to me. I have a running buddy with this club, which is someone I work with who I convinced to join as well, and if I didn’t have her I don’t know how much fun it would be. It definitely makes me run longer having someone running beside me. I’m way less likely to walk.
    I totally get the shy situation, are you training for a race or just running to run?

  2. I started running with a couch to 5k group. It’s hard to crap out when you know there are people looking for you. I’m actually starting another running group for 10k training on the 16th. I haven’t done near as well on my own. I thrive off people pushing me. You should so do it! It is hard at first when you don’t really know anyone. I can tell you first hand, that changes very quickly 😀

  3. I ran by myself for a while. But then I knew I was alone too much in life so I joined Team in Training. I had the same fears about being too slow or not able to run as well as everyone else, or just not fitting in… but it was really good for me. It introduced me to a whole new group of friends, I was able to fall into pace with a group really easily and it improved my running a lot. Now I run with a group every Tuesday night, it has opened doors for me with race timing/volunteering/coaching… It was so worth it!

  4. Hey there,

    First off, I really like your blog. The Embrace:Me project is a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me. So thank you for sharing that!

    I completely understand those fears of running with other people. Three months ago a friend approached me and asked if I would want to train for a half marathon with her and a few other friends. At that point last October I had been adopting a more active lifestyle and the challenge of a half marathon was exciting. I had never really been a runner before that either. (Think elementary school Presidential Challenge dropout, I walked the mile) For the first few weeks I did most of the training alone. When my friends invited me out to run I would decline. I was scared. The thoughts in my head were, “They were real “runners” and had great paces. I would be holding them back. Or maybe I would feel pushed too hard or, or, or.”

    One day I agreed to go along and it was one of the best decisions I made for my relationship with running, myself, and those friends. Through running with these women I learned to trust. I learned to trust them, our friendships, and myself. They respected my fitness level, gently encouraged me when I needed an extra push, and were endlessly supportive of me. We just completed that half marathon this past weekend! I rocked it. Seeing those girls at the finish line was all the more sweeter because of the stronger bonds we found through running.

    In April I am joining a local running/training club and I had a familiar twinge of anxiety over what to expect. I now know though that if I show up I will continue to form bonds with people through running and learn more about myself along the way.

    Take good care!

    -Sheila

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