Over the last 15 years, the number of runners finishing races has nearly quadrupled, according to the biennial National Runner Survey. As running events from 5ks to full marathons grow increasingly mainstream, we’re seeing more and more people become runners for all kinds of reasons. Whether you’re looking to get in shape, train at a higher level, or just have fun, joining a running club has numerous benefits that will improve your life.
1. You’ll meet tons of fit, active people.
Running clubs are a fantastic way to meet other individuals who likely have a similar routine as you. Most runners wake up early to run before work, go for their longer runs on the weekend, and pay special attention to getting enough sleep and eating healthy. When you join a club, you have the chance to connect with others who value that routine just as much as you do. Together, you can train and motivate each other to be the best you can be.
2. You can get highly involved in your community.
Most running clubs are well connected to the community, which gives you the chance to get out there and be involved. Clubs often organize races to raise money for local charities, host social events nearby, and have weekly practices in the area. In addition, many clubs support youth athletics through volunteer efforts at high school cross country and track meets. If you’re a club member, chances are you’ll be in the know about the local running scene and how you can help out.
3. You can get special discounts and perks for being a member.
Depending on the club you join, you might get exclusive benefits for being a member. Many specialty running stores offer discounts to club members, like 10% off a pair of shoes, for instance. If your club belongs to any USA Track & Field association (there are 57 USATF associations in the U.S.), then you are eligible for discounts on USATF products (backpacks, running clothes, and more), and a variety of other discount perks (KT Tape, Nationwide Insurance, Garden of Life foods).
4. You’ll get faster.
It’s proven that if you train with people, especially people who are faster than you, you’ll improve your running times. It’s easy to get used to running the same pace if you’re by yourself all the time. By running with a partner or a group of people, you can challenge yourself by adjusting to different paces, and working as a team to reach a goal pace.
So, what are you waiting for? See what local running clubs are in your area to improve not only your fitness, but your social life, and your involvement with the local running scene!