Run alone or with a Friend ?
How to get better running results ….
A big advantage of running on your own is that you can go when you like, where you like and run at your own pace.
Running is ideal if you want to lose a few lbs & get fit, there is virtually no cost and a lot of enjoyment as your running gets easier, further and you feel (and look) a lot fitter.
Running with a friend (or friends) and starting your own running group has got some major advantages :
- It can be a lot more fun
- Great way to socialise
- Will help boost motivation and results
How to start a running group
And why running with a friend is so effective
There is scientific evidence to show you are more likely to keep running and will help you get better results…
For example the University of Oxford did a scientific study comparing sports people doing solo training compared to group training they found group trainees released more endorphins (which reduces your pain threshold) compared to people training alone.
OK the study was rowers, but the principle for running will be the same. (Endorphins will help you run further)
Similarly a study by Indiana University found that 43 % of married couples who train apart (in a gym) are likely to stop within a year,
Compared to only 6.3 % of couples who train together.
Which is why running as part of a ‘running group’ (maybe once or a couple of times per week) is such a great way to boost your results.
How to start a running group
7 Key items
Starting a running group / running with a friend can be fun and easy.
If you want to know how to start a running group focus on 7 key items :
- Set a goal
- Get Help from Friends
- Regular time and place
- A plan (Distance & intensity)
- Don’t forget safety issues
- How to get group members (Social media / Name / Attract members)
- How to make it fun
Taking each one in turn..
1. Set a Goal
Whether you are running on your own or running with friends you will get better results if you have a specific goal in mind.
That is why our 5k in 5 weeks plan not only mentions a target distance, but also a specific time frame. (5 weeks)
Similarly if you want to start a running group you will not only help them get better results, but you are also more likely to get runners who will keep attending as well as attracting new runners.
- Most towns have 5 k runs – why not start your own running group aimed at running a 5 k race at a specific time and date ?
- Or enter a trail run or ultra run – they are often held at different distances and you can select one to fit in with your aims and objectives. More details in our guide to what is trail running
- Or a mud run – real challenge and not many people will have tried one !! guide to what is mud running
The key is to have a very clear target in mind i.e. which distance or event you are going for and when.
2. Get Help from Friends..
It is a running group – and you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
Consistency is important – if (for whatever reason) you can’t make it then someone else can help organise it.
Similarly you never know how your group will evolve – could be some might like to also meet up at other times as (for example) they would prefer 2 or more group runs per week.
The easiest option is to work with someone you know, you can relate to and get on with. Don’t forget your running group needs to be somewhere you will want to go to, fits in with your running plan and is enjoyable and helps you progress.
3. Regular Time & Place..
Once a week…
Make it easy for your runners – for example weekends are ideal for most people (especially mornings before 10 am). As this fits in with their free weekends, going shopping, etc.
Similarly (especially when you start) run the same location and starting point. That way everyone will know where you are, and when you start.
Yes, you can change it at a later stage but don’t forget that it’s a lot easier for people to know where to go to.
Make it interesting…
As you will see from our site we like trail running – because it has so many advantages over ‘street running’ (better for your joints, your mood and mind, etc.)
Linked to this it’s ideal for group running – because you don’t have to worry about traffic and it’s ideally suited for groups. Most places have a location near by (whether in the country side, or a park) where you can go trail running – and it will also be a different route for most of your runners.
Why not have a look around your neighbourhood and see if you can find a trail run ?
But – try it first !!!!
If you are running a new route then have a practice run before you go with the group. That way you will know exactly where to go, places which are difficult (steep hill, narrow track, etc.) and you will be completely prepared.
When ‘testing’ your run try it on the time you are planning to run with your group – so there are no unexpected surprises. like a locked gate, etc. (And why not take a friend along – 2 eyes are always better than one)
4. Have a Plan..
In the same way as you should have a plan for your own training schedule, you should have a plan for your running group. Where you consistently increase the intensity or distance.
Very often many runners can cope with a run of 3-6 miles in length, but you need to plan your group so that all runners are comfortable with the distance and speed. For example you could team up members with similar level of fitness, training and objectives.
5. Don’t forget Safety & Equipment..
If you are used to running from home then you probably simply put on your gear (shorts, trainers, etc.), out the gate and of you go.
For most runners that is all you need, however (especially in hot days) do bring water, or extra water, for some runners. Or why not have some protein bars or energy drinks to help them recover ?
Similarly a first aid kit (for cuts, etc) might also be a good idea.
Depending on where you live you might also provide runners with a map to help prevent them getting lost – which is why we mentioned above trying your run first.
Obviously cancel runs in extreme weather.
6. Attract Members..
Once you have your group running plan in place the next step is to attract runners.
6a. Start with a Small Group..
The most successful method is to start small with just a small group of friends, neighbours or family members.
So that you can get used to running in a group on a regular basis, and use it as a learning experience.
If you don’t know anyone who wants to run then there are a few options you could try:
– Why not put a note on a notice board at work / Employee website at work ?
– Ask anyone you know if they ‘know someone ?’
– Ask friends on facebook, etc.
Important part is not to start with a complete stranger – it’s a lot more fun if you run with someone familiar.
6b Grow your group
If you use the above points then your running group will be fun, focussed and with a clear aim. That means that the members of your ‘small starting group’ will probably start inviting other members. That’s the ideal way as you will be growing your group in a very friendly and enjoyable way.
Nope we don’t mean spending money – but for example why not give it a name and then set up a facebook page for the group. Where members can make comments and also invite facebook friends – before you know it you will get more and more people asking to join.
If you are meeting once a week (on the weekend) make it an enjoyable experience.
Maybe you can arrange to have a ‘wind down session’ afterwards, or maybe meet up for a monthly or quarterly event such as a party, BBQ, etc.
Social outings helps people connect with other members in the club and gives them another reason to stay active and keep coming back for more.
The reason we like events like a trail run or mud run is that they will help provide a real focus for your group, they will probably involve getting to another location and are a real event to look forward to.
Especially if you are planning something like a mud or x-run why not arrange for a session in a gym / obstacle course somewhere – many people will really enjoy the challenge !!
Why not let us help you start your running group ?…
We specialise in helping people get the best running results.
We focus very much on diet, because 80 % of your running results (and your running group) will be influenced by what you eat & when.
Why not let us help and show you how to start a running group, and combine your running group with making a bit of extra money ?
For more details have a look at our fun home business idea
The Running Basics
Hopefully the above will show you how to start a running group but please don’t forget that often just very simple changes to how you run, what you wear and what you eat can have a major impact on your running success.
Below you will find the 3 basic items to focus on: