Some runners prefer to go about their favourite activity alone. But for beginners, following a set routine, and going about their running in a systematic way can be an issue. Yes, running affords solitude for even the busiest people, but to improve as a runner, and constantly being challenged to increase your efficiency, there are few better options than a running club.

Better than friends
Finding out that your buddy is also a runner can be a great boost to your confidence and a massive motivation, but as soon as your friend drops his level of running, yours will suffer too. Not so with a running club that usually has stricter running schedules and other activities that could actually help you achieve a more positive outlook about running. And you will meet all kinds of runners at clubs, which should get you more comfortable with the activity.

Follow the leader
Running groups are spontaneous and can be unorganised, but there’s always a leader whose experience ensures the running remains meaningful and comfortable for all. These pace setters also serve as your guide while running, and coach you to run the right way, help you understand the stages of a run, and make you a fitter runner overall.

It’s a brotherhood
A peculiar thing about running is that you will always end up gravitating towards other runners and enthusiasts. Runners show great camaraderie and look out for each other when the going gets tough. Trust us, when we say that running in a group gives you a sense of belonging and family that’s never achievable when running alone. Runs become a lot more fun, and lot less tedious when you see the whole range of emotions that are on display in the group.

As Dean Hardman writes in the Guardian’s Running Blog, “Motivation can also be an issue for some and a peek out of the curtains on a cold, wet January night can sometimes result in pyjamas rather than Lycra being pulled out of the wardrobe.” And now think about the fact that you aren’t alone and suddenly the weariness dissipates. The knowledge that your friends and peers are egging you on even on the dreariest of days is great motivation. And we all need a kick up our backsides from time to time. Running clubs and groups can do that for you, without making you feel horrible.

Runner's High members at the TCS World 10K (Image: Runner's High)
Runner’s High members at the TCS World 10K (Image: Runner’s High)

Fitness boost
Running clubs don’t only accept Olympic contenders and experienced marathoners. If you think your level of fitness is woeful, you are also likely to find someone in a more urgent need to get fit at the club. That can be a massive confidence boost, and even if that’s not the case, seeing all those fit people around can egg you to greater heights. And come race day, you will have a band of cheerleaders greeting you at the finish line, thanks to your club card.

Beyond running
Yes, a running club or group is primarily about running, but that doesn’t mean your bond won’t spill over into other activities? Love reading, you are likely to find a bookworm in your group. What about playing sports? Oh yes, running clubs are full of sports enthusiasts ready for a pick-up game anytime. And that extends to other social activities too. Your running club experience can help you break the ice at most social events, and you no longer have to feel lost in a new city.

We are constantly tracking running clubs around the world and in India. To start off, here’s a list of the top running groups in Bangalore, one of the most run-friendly cities in India.

Main Image: Nike Running Club

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