I share my experiences with a running club and share what I feel are the benefits of being a member.

Recently I returned to my former running club the Queens Park Harriers. The Hoops as they are affectionately called were founded in 1887 and I joined in 2014. I regretfully let my membership lapsed as I prioritised work and coaching. I chose a challenging night to undertake track training. The temperature was mid to upper 20 degrees, I had no hydration, and the session was fartlek. Preparation is important and to my defence I was out for a leisurely run, stopped by the track and was invited to join by a teammate. I joined the drills and then the main session. I lasted half of the duration and stayed track side to support others and then did the cool down. I came away feeling rather upbeat and more confident about my pacing. The following day I was invited to participate in the Summer League that weekend. Summer League is an annual friendly competition between 9 London based running clubs. There are 5 meets hosted by clubs in the league. After the main race a nice spread of food and drinks is presented by the host club and then there is a junior’s race followed by relays. It was great to see teammates and members of other clubs some who I hadn’t seen since the last Summer League in 2019.

I was initially reluctant to join a running club as I thought that everyone would be fast and competitive. After some research I decided to check out the Queen Park Harriers. I felt a little some nerves on my first night, but they quickly subsided, and I was made to feel welcome, and the proceedings were not as intense as I had imagined. It was not a tribe of elites but a community of mixed ability runners. I am fortunate that the first club that I visited was the club that I joined and after a break of many years I still feel as welcome as I did on that first evening. I recommend visiting a few clubs that are local to your home and workplace and see which one works best for you. If you’re new to an area, then joining a running club is a great way to get to know people and expand your social network. I am sure that I wouldn’t still be running if it wasn’t for my head coach giving me some great advice. Almost 10 years later the club still has a place in my heart and feels like home.

Below are what I feel are the top benefits of joining a running club:

Structured training.

Access to a coaching

Discount race fees

Socialising

Running as a group

Competition

Fun

To find your nearest running clubs go to https://www.englandathletics.org/find-an-athletics-club/. I hope that this blog has inspired you to join visit a running club and find out if it is right for you. Happy running!

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Rey Smart

Personal Trainer from London



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