Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Running with the Pack

Running alone certainly has its perks - having quiet time to unplug is a big one.  But if you want to improve as a runner, one of the best ways to do it is to run with a group.  Group runners tend to run more frequently, as encouragement from friends can overcome the urge to back out of a workout.  Some friendly competition along with a supportive environment encourages you not only to show up, but to give it your all.
Some benefits to running with a group include:
  • Social Time - Group camaraderie can be a great stress relief and a time out from everyday pressures
  • Safety - In traffic, a group is easier to see and for the criminal elements, you're less likely to be accosted in a group setting.
  • Social Facilitation -  is the tendency for people to perform better when in the presence of other people. 
Running clubs are not full of super‑fit, super‑fast athletes and you don’t have to get fast before you join. There's no need to be intimidated if you're a new runner, whatever your fitness level, you will be welcomed and you will almost certainly find that there are plenty of members who run more slowly than you do.   

If you want to join a workout group some different methods to try might include:
  • Kijiji
  • YMCA
  • Local newspaper
  • Internet searching
  • Visit your neighbourhood running store (Running Room)
If you find that none of the local clubs fit your style, you can form your own; as a result, you’ll boost your fitness, become a better runner, and maintain a positive attitude about running.

References from the SIRC Collection 

1. Hanc J. Run Together. Runner's World [serial online]. August 2005;40(8):33-34.
2.  Ratliffe T, Bostick A. Encouraging physical activity beyond class time: running and walking clubs. Teaching Elementary Physical Education [serial online]. 
3. Strachan S, Shields C, Glassford A, Beatty J. Role and group identity and adjustment to the possibility of running group disbandment. Psychology Of Sport & Exercise [serial online].

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