This summer I’ve been training with a new marathon training group. This is my first time running with groups in about a year and a half and I’ve been enjoying the group setting. However, because it had been awhile since I’d trained with a group, I did make a couple of rookie mistakes upon my first couple of weeks. I thought I’d share my tips on things to remember when running with a group so you can learn from my experience! If you’ve never run with a group, use this tips and go for your first group run – you’ll probably love it! A version of this post first appeared at Women’s Running.
- Run your pace. When running with a group, it can be tempting to run faster or slower than you normally do to fit in. Remember that’s it not a competition. Chances are there is someone that runs your similar pace. Automatic run buddy!
- That being said, take advantage of the group. At my first group run, folks seemed to be either just a hair faster or a good bit slower than I wanted to run. I stuck with the faster group and got in an unexpected tempo run. It’s not good to always run faster than is comfortable but pushing yourself will only benefit your running. (Disclaimer: please know yourself and don’t run with a group running 8 minute miles if you normally run an 11 minute mile. You will injure yourself!) I can’t stress this last part enough. I’ve seen a runner in my group recently who started off running really strong 9:30ish miles (which is faster than my long run pace). After a few miles, I let that runner who was pushing the pace go on and continued on at my comfortable pace. Sure enough, late in the run (say mile 8), I saw that same runner who was pushing the pace walking it in because she had blown up by running too fast early on. This can happen – and don’t beat yourself up if it does – but it’s much easier to just avoid it!
- Ditch the headphones. I feel sad when I see people put in headphones during group runs. I get it, but I feel sad. I used to think that it was impossible for me to run without music, so I completely understand. However the fun in running with a group is chatting with folks. And putting headphones in says “don’t talk to me.” It may be a challenge but give running without your headphones a try. Plus many groups don’t allow their members to run with headphones because of safety issues.
- Talking is allowed. And if you are running with me, it’s encouraged. I know lots of folks who say that they can’t run and talk. I used to be one of them. The truth is you can run and talk; you just have to get used to it. You may have to run a bit slower at first but that’s okay because the friendships you make are worth it. Plus twenty mile runs are WAY more fun when you are using the time to catch up and chat with your best running friends. Trust me on that one!
- Have fun! Group runs are supposed to be fun! Yes, it might be your long run but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop to take a picture, wait for your buddy while they take a much needed potty break or stop to admire just how beautiful your surroundings are. Enjoy the company, get your run in but remember that it IS supposed to be fun!
Do you run with a group? What tips would you add to this list?