Train Together: The Benefits of a Running Group
Contributed by Stephanie Davies, a 2016 Ambassador for The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. Stephanie Davies created a local women’s running group, We RUN the Bay.
About We RUN the Bay: We are approximately 140 members strong ranging from members in Colorado to Los Angeles. Based on the Peninsula, we make our presence known at various races throughout the Bay Area. Our group has been instrumental in providing support for many members to complete many different distances from 5k to first marathon. Many of these first timers have gone on to complete higher distances, marathons, and some are are looking into the ultra distances now. It is exciting to see people make a goal, reach for it through their tenacity, and achieve their goal. I love watching them succeed. –Stephanie Davies
Camaraderie, companionship, togetherness, sociability, Esprit de Corps, misery loves company, however you want to say it, running together with friends or belonging to a running group helps make the miles go by faster.
Running together has many perks. One of these perks is the ability to vent frustrations or to blow off steam from the stresses of the week. Another perk is enjoyment that the company of others brings while ticking off the miles. As with all groups, there are rules to keep the herd safe. There are rules that are designed to protect and ensure that each runner is able to achieve their goal in the right environment. Some rules echo the marketing brilliancy of a town in the Nevada desert. We have all heard or even uttered ourselves that what is said on the long run, stays on the long run. We don’t put down other runners whose pace or abilities may not be where our personal pace or abilities are. We help them, encourage them, run with them, and lift them up.
Running is a sport that is rich with failure. We hear it all the time how someone missed their PR, their BQ, or even more recently, their top three spot in the Olympic Trials. How we turn that failure around into a winning experience is all a part of the attitude in which we approach running and with whom we choose to have next to us as we reach for those goals. Whether we are a lone wolf who does all our intense training alone or a beginning runner, we all need the support and accolades that keep us lacing up and heading out there when we would rather sleep in. A running group or running partner provides the necessary reinforcement and accountability that we all need.
Regardless of the distance, one gets distracted from the negative self-talk that can ruin any run. Being a part of a group can provide vast knowledge on various methods of hydration, nutrition, gadgets, crazes, and fads that work and do not work. It provides an opportunity to work together as a unit to reach for a common goal as in the top finishing spot in a relay. Beware, however, that group running can be very habit forming and can lead to serious cases of FOMO.
“Whether we are a lone wolf who does all our intense training alone or a beginning runner, we all need the support and accolades that keep us lacing up and heading out there when we would rather sleep in. A running group or running partner provides the necessary reinforcement and accountability that we all need.”
Racing together is a wonderful way to celebrate, together, the unique goals that each individual has when approaching a race. Like a rite of passage, the experienced hand down their ideas, share their secrets, teach injury avoidance, and humor or warn the less experienced with stories of runs from long ago. Togetherness on the run creates a bond that cannot be broken, even if separated at a water stop. The companionship that the miles bring often lend to friendships that last longer than the training cycle.
There is no doubt that the unity created through group running is a valuable part of one’s training. Running together reveals each member’s unique personality and allows others to celebrate that uniqueness. Nobody likes to come into the finish chute without someone cheering for them. Racing together always provides a cheering section at the finish line. If one is lucky, sometimes the cheering section will run the course backward to find the last member to bring them home. Racing together and group running is about overcoming adversity through togetherness while having fun.