There’s no doubt that running is one of the best forms of exercise you can practice. You can get even greater results, too, by joining a running club, where you’ll encounter plenty of free advice and moral support. However, before you do, you’ll want to make sure you train up to that level, in order to get the most from the experience.
Train Up to the Level of the Club
All running clubs vary and there is no one standard in terms of:
- Distance they run
- Regularity with which they meet
- Number of members
So before you begin training, research potential clubs in your area you may want to join.
Once you have one in mind, be sure you can handle the distances they like to cover. If they have a website or social media group, they might even expound on how long it generally takes them to complete that distance.
Just as all clubs vary, all runners within the club will, too. As Running for Fitness points out, most members will be there to get in shape and relieve some stress. Only a few will be there for competitive reasons.
So before you join a club, simply make sure you can handle their normal distance in one attempt without suffering any side effects afterward.
Try Out Their Terrain
You should also be able to research where they typically run. While most may stick to local sidewalks or park paths, others might wander off to more adventurous terrain. Even if you can run the same distance as the club, if you’re not use to the same inclines and terrain they are, you’ll suffer at the beginning.
Unique terrain is a great way to mix up your routine and keep things interesting, while getting in even better shape. So welcome this opportunity.
Run a Lot
This may seem like simple advice, but running clubs may not necessarily be for beginners. On the one hand, it will provide you immediate moral support, which may play a key role in keeping you motivated early on. The added accountability may help you stay on course, too.
On the other hand, if you’re not up to running regularly, you should consider working your way up to that point. Once you’re able to run with the same regularity as the running club you plan on joining, you’ll be able to get the most from it by showing up to each meet.
Keep in mind you don’t have to show up each time ready to come out in first. It’s just easy to get discouraged if you go intermittently, which makes giving up easier.
Join Before You’re Ready
Although it’s helpful to train up your abilities before joining a running club, most members warn hopefuls from letting this idea become an obstacle. If you’re nervous or discouraged, for whatever reason, you’ll constantly look for reasons not to join and run along. So once you meet the above criteria, join up and start running.
You have all the time in the world to join a running club, but the benefits they can bring make it something you should do sooner rather than later. Start by training up to the challenge and then immediately begin.