After half-heartedly running for several years with fleeting bursts of motivation amidst plenty of long pauses, joining a club is the best thing I could have done. In fact I’m enjoying my running so much at the moment that I felt compelled to jot down my six reasons why a club has made such a difference:
1. It's sociable, especially now that many of us are working from home: It’s great to know that twice a week I’m going to meet with lovely, likeminded people after sitting on my own in front of a screen all day. And aIthough I don't often have enough breath left to chat during a run, I'm working on it!
2. It's inspiring: There's so much to be inspired by when you're surrounded by enthusiastic people. Like the members who approach the training with self-assurance and look AMAZING at all ages. And the members who struggle, like I do, but are upbeat, quietly determined and persistent.
3. Getting to work with the coaches and leaders: Often busy, these people give up their precious time because they come alive when they actively help us progress. They play an important role in ensuring you're the best runner you can be, with constant encouragement and tips that get right under your skin and change your form for the better.
4. You'll become a better runner: Do you run on your own or with a friend? If so, be honest - how many times do you cover the same old route and kind of throw yourself around it without thinking about it too much? I certainly did. But I've found that that with a club, I don't just benefit from the input of coaches, run leaders and other members; there are opportunities to diversify into other areas too, such as the ten week track running course I signed up for where we’re lucky enough to use the fab facilities at John Charles Stadium. Then there are the drills and the interval training sessions. There are weekly social runs too, but as part of a broader range of training that just makes you better.
5. It's great value for money: I've found a running club to be significantly cheaper than joining a gym, although there’s plenty you can spend your money on if you want to add an extra sparkle to your training.
Looking back on my running moments, rather underwhelmingly, what most have in common is the fact that I stopped. But I’m hoping this time will be different. And I reckon being a member of a club might just help.