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:
- 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
- What if I’m slower than everyone else?
- 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!