I never thought I’d say (or type) these words, but here goes nothing.
I’m really starting to enjoy running.
Quick! Somebody take my temperature or see if hell is freezing over, because something is a little bit off.
Ever since I set my mileage goal of 728 miles for 2012, I’ve been running on a regular basis in order to keep the goal attainable. While I am well on the way to exceeding my targeted total, I can’t help but notice that not only are my runs becoming enjoyable, but I actually get stir crazy if I don’t run for a day or two.
But here’s an even weirder phenomenon, I joined a running club last weekend.
That’s right kids, I’m one of the newest members of the Lakeland Runners Club.
And tonight, I participated in my first club run–a hill workout.
*Disclaimer–I live in Central Florida, so our hills are rather laughable to anyone who lives in a part of the country with actual hills. Nevertheless, our mini hills are still a better workout than just my normal flat runs.*
All kidding about hill size aside, the workout was really pretty good.
But if you ask me, the hills weren’t the best part of the run. The best part was running with the group.
And here’s why.
3 Reasons Running With a Group Worked for Me
1. Competitiveness–As someone who usually runs by myself, I never have a target to reel in. Running with the club tonight brought together 15 or so people of varying fitness levels. And since I was still tying my shoes when the group started, everyone got out in front of me. My competitive nature pushed me to start catching up to people, and before long I started reeling some of the folks in. I didn’t catch everyone, but I was able to chase down most of the folks in tonight’s group.
2. Pridefulness–While pride can be a bad thing in many situations, it can be very beneficial in this particular instance. You see, after I chased people down and passed them, my pride pushed me to keep going and not get re-passed. Since I tend to be a bit of a mental midget when it comes to pushing myself to keep running when I’m by myself, my pride of not getting passed kept me going, which I needed.
3. Comraderie–People who know me well, and there are a few in this world, know how much I like to laugh and joke around. My problem is I’m not really outgoing, so it takes awhile for me to get to the level of cracking jokes with people. Runners, generally speaking, are good folks. And while I didn’t quite get to the point of cracking up with everyone tonight, I definitely met some great people. And the more I run with them regularly, the more confident I am that the ball busting and joking shenanigans will begin. And if I’m going to belong to any group, I’m going to need to be a part of regular ball busting. Look out Lakeland Runners, you’ve been warned.
Whether you are a runner or not, there are lots of benefits from working out in a group. While it takes a certain level of internal motivation to be regularly active, the external motivation of being a part of a group can help to transform exercise into enjoyable physical activity.
And that, friends, is the secret to living a long, healthy life.
So, whatever your chosen activity, try to find a group to be a part of. Whether it is a running or cycling group, a yoga class, or some type of strength training club, I’d encourage you to give a group a chance.
I know it’s working for me, and I’ve only been a member of the running club for 5 days. Who knows, it may work for you as well.
Have you ever been a part of a fitness group or club? Did it encourage you to be more active? Did you enjoy it? Let me know below!