After college I was terrified that I wouldn’t run if no one was expecting me to.
I’d spent 4 years running for a division 1 school where I did everything my coach told me to do. Thankfully, I did keep running even without having my workouts posted on a bulletin board. It was after college that I discovered how much I actually enjoyed running. I was a new teacher and running was the perfect outlet. I could think, reflect and plan in silence and fresh air (all the things you can’t do in a classroom full of first graders).
However, after 2 years of relaxed solo miles, I started to get a little bored. I did some speed workouts on my own and used races to challenge myself but something was missing. I needed inspiration. I needed a running buddy. I craved someone I could meet up with at 5:00 AM or 5:00 PM, someone I could talk to and joke with on long runs, someone to explore new roads and trails with, someone to synchronize foot falls and breathing with, someone to prod me towards a goal, and someone who valued running as much as I did. Fortunately, I found The Workout Group.
Sometimes that “someone” is many people; a whole community of diverse people with running in common. Though we may not all run the same paces or have the same goals, we all have the same drive to run farther or faster. We understand that accountability and comradery play an important role in the success of our training. We value showing up and putting in the effort. We challenge each other. We inspire each other. We laugh and sweat and stink with each other and at the end of a long day, we’re able to go home a little happier and stronger
There are still times when I like to run alone; quiet easy runs with myself are necessary for my introverted soul to recharge. But without The Workout Group and training partners running would not continue to bring this much joy into my life. THANK YOU to all of you who toe the line every Tuesday and Thursday night and rise before the sun every Saturday morning to go for a run. I might be playing tennis if it weren’t for you.
Here are some tips to help you ease into group training:
1. Be patient. Give yourself a chance to get familiar with the group routine before you put pressure on yourself to perform. Just arriving on time to the first couple workouts is worth a celebration in my book! Once you’re comfortable with the schedule, your running can take center stage.
2. Ask questions. You should always have a gentle (if not firm) grasp on what you’re being asked to do and why. If you don’t know something, ask the coach or the person next to you.
3. Focus on progress. Be mindful of your own growth since starting the group training rather than wasting energy comparing yourself to others in the group. (This is good advice for any runner in any training environment.)
4. Do what’s right for you. Running with a group can inspire you to go beyond your comfort zone (that’s the point). Still, remember to balance the intensity with some level of caution. If the workout is more than you’re ready for, you should take extra recovery time, do fewer intervals, or simply slow down. Alternatively, if you find you’re not working hard enough, be brave and try running with the pace group in front of you.