Joining a real running club!

So, for a few years now I have been going to the local Sweatshop for a run every week, and I really enjoy them. I have met some great friends there, learnt about local races, run with my brother and speed myself up.

I really love running on my own- it is a great stress reliever and some time for me to think. But I have also really found benefits from running in a group. A while ago I was contacted by someone who used to run with Sweatshop, about joining her running club.

The trial went well, and so I have been going fairly regularly (minus when I had my cough) for a few months now.

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I even got my vest today! So excited about this!

I went there Tuesday night. Sometimes we run in a group, and sometimes in pairs, but this week I was a bit on my own- we did a loop and every now and then the front runners looped back- I couldn’t quite keep up with them, but I was a bit ahead of the next lot, so I was running on my own, and it got me thinking about how my running has changed over the last few years. When I first started running, I ran by myself, with music to over the sound of my breathing. In my first half marathon (I ran most of it with my brother) I kept headphones in one ear with music playing quietly to keep the sound of my breathing out- I would never do that now! Running with SRC helped to wean me off headphones- I felt it was a bit rude to run with people but with headphones in, and I knew that I struggled in races a bit to run without music, so tried those runs without. As I run there and back I decided to do that without headphones either, and to my surprise it was fine!

With my dad suggesting I give parkrun a go (and me totally loving it), over a few years I have moved from 3 runs by myself per week, always listening to music, to one parkrun (either with my dad and brother, or by myself but no headphones ever), a club run, again, never any headphones here, an SRC run chatting with running buddies, and then one long run by myself with my podcasts for company.

I suppose it turns out that I love the motion of running, and being in the fresh air, and the feeling of accomplishment, and if I run with other people, that love is shared with them somehow.  I am not ready to give up my long lonesome runs (and I think mentally, I need that time alone for myself, and to prepare for races) but I have really been enjoying where running has taken me at the moment.

I bought the club vest a few weeks ago and one of the lovely ladies posted it through my door today, and the first thing I did was try it on!

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Yup, I can’t take a good selfie, but you get the idea! So excited!!

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It even has this detail on the back! Totally love it!

Last night the run ended up being just shy of 5 miles, and in the final mile I was really feeling it. My poor legs were getting stiff after those 15 miles. My cold seemed to get worse, and I found the air really cold to breathe. Today I have been coughing a lot again (a child did cough in my face on Friday, a perk of the job…), I got home late and with an awful headache so I gave Sweatshop a miss. I was meant to be doing 8 miles, so the plan was to leave early, do 3 miles on my own, then run with them, and run home, and hope it was about right, but it is not a good idea. I don’t want to make myself more ill and then have to take more time off. Tomorrow I am booked onto pump, so at least that is inside. I won’t reach my Jantastic target this week, but there is always next week (and a joker).

Do you prefer group activities or being solitary?

Any thoughts on this? My feelings after my last marathon were that I needed to do another 20 mile run, as I only did one, which went fine, but then I really struggled in the actual race. I think I need to learn what food suits me to eat while I am running, and I can really only practise that on very long runs. The plan I looked at suggested a shorter harder run on Saturday (which is why I usually do parkruns) and then a longer run on Sunday when you are a bit tired from the day before. I suppose doing a medium run on Saturday (e.g. 8 miles) and a longer one of under 3 hours (under 16 miles I think for me) might help replicate the tired legs a bit more? I did find I was totally shattered on Sunday, and that is only going to get worse as the runs get longer.

If you have trained for a marathon, what have your longest runs been (hours and miles)?

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14 thoughts on “Joining a real running club!

  1. I’m still part of my running club and I love it, though I actually haven’t been to a training run in a very long time. I found that with all my injuries it was better I ran on my own so I could really listen to my body and not let myself get swept away with running with people. I also found I was pushing myself too hard on these runs…but now I’m in a good place with running and injury free (for how long who knows!?) I’m going to go again I think. I love running with other people and it really motivates you. At parkrun I’ll only listen to my music if I’m planning on pushing myself hard as I find I can ‘zone out’ from the pain and hard work that way, but normally I’ll just run music-less.
    Like you, on long solo runs I’ll listen to podcasts – I love those runs!
    I will say I am quite dependent on music/podcasts but that I can run without if necessary. If I’m on my own though 9/10 I will listen to something.

  2. It must be lovely being part of a running club and being wth a group of people that all have the same interests to spur you on.

    When I workout at the gym I like to just get on with alone so I don’t get distracted, but I’ve just started going to a group pilates class with my friends and really enjoy it.

  3. Your club vest looks great! Much more classy than our neon green ones, although it is easy to spot us at races! I’m glad you’re enjoying your new running club so much. There is such a great sense of community with a running club and it’s nice to have some running people to talk running to as well!
    I like a good mix of running with others and also on my own. Sometimes I get home from work and really crave that run out on my own to de-stress and get my head in the right place. But other times I love the social side of heading out for a giggle with friends. For the marathons I followed plans for I ran 3x 20 milers for each. For my 2nd marathon I also threw in a 22 miler, although at the time I think this was too much. It wouldn’t phase me as much now as I know I can cope with higher mileage. At the time I think it was more to do with the long run being one of only three runs and making up such a large proportion of my running. I felt quite drained on race day!

  4. Hope you feel better soon, I’ve already played both my Jantastic jokers. I know when I was ultra training I did a long run sat and a medium 8-10 mile run on the Sunday and I felt like that was the best combination, rather than doing an outrageously long run. I would never do over 20 either, as I think that’s way to draining. I’ve got 4 weeks until my next marathon and I’ve done 3 16 milers so far, before my 2 week injury break, so I’m not sure what I’ll do over the next few weeks, but I will be listening to my body and seeing how it goes. I do like a social run now and again and catching up with running friends, but I also really like running alone with/without music/podcasts

  5. I think running clubs are such a good idea, I think the main reason I’ve always exercised alone is because not many other people I know are into working out! Saying that, things have really started to change as James and my Dad will be training for the GNR this year and my cousin runs a PT and metafit class business so I’ll be doing a lot more exercise with others from now on!

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