Running is more than simply exercise to improve cardiovascular health. For many, it is an alignment between body and mind, a meditative experience that can help you think more clearly, boost natural endorphins and even sleep better. It’s also the accessibility and freedom of the activity that is such a draw for runners everywhere. Wake up, pull on your trainers and go. Throw in fresh air, pretty views, and time and space to think and you’ve got a fun, flexible activity you can do alone. And yes, while running will always remain ultimately a solo pursuit of progress against yourself, running as part of a group can make your workout not just more intense but more rewarding.

Why join a running club?

Whether you are a complete running novice or a seasoned veteran of the activity, running as a part of a group is a great way to get started, or launch you to the next level in your running journey. If you are asking the question Why join a running club?, we have three great answers for you. Read on to see why joining one of your local running clubs could be one of the best choices you make as a runner.

1. Enthusiasm is contagious

Running is an awesome activity, but just like any form of exercise or extra-curricular activity, it requires motivation. And, sometimes, motivation is difficult to come by. Whether you’ve had a hard day at the office or a busy time socialising with friends and family, or even if the weather is bad, when it comes time to pull on your trainers, the incentive to get up and go can desert you.

As part of a running club, however, you are alongside a bunch of like-minded people – many with the same goals as yourself – and just being part of such a group, sharing the same experiences, can spur you out of your lethargy. We all know that the hardest part of achieving something is sometimes simply beginning. When you join a running club, you are committing to making running a regular part of your week, and this routine can work wonders for your enthusiasm.

2. A varied routine

Speaking of routine, when you run regularly (seasoned pros will already know this) you will get fitter, more conditioned and you will enjoy your runs a lot more. Yet, after a while, running the same routes at the same pace can not only become less interesting but actually lead to higher chances of injury. And monotony and injuries are the last thing you want when trying to achieve your goals.

When you join a running club, you will get exposed to different routes in the local area – it can be lots of fun running routes you might not otherwise have encountered. And it’s not just different tracks and trails. When you run as part of a group, you will often be taken through specific workouts for specific goals. For example, your first run of the week might be dedicated to speed and strength, whereas later runs might be focused on endurance. From ‘easy runs’ to ‘tempo runs’, and everything in between, a varied routine will not only keep your exercise more interesting, it will also enable you to make better, faster progress in your running abilities.

3. Meet new people

Running is a wonderful solo activity. It’s just you, nature and your desire to push yourself. So the idea of lacing up with a group and having less control over the route or the distance can feel off-putting to some. For others, while it is a great way of getting much-needed alone time it can be a lonely pursuit. However, when you join one of your local running clubs, you are surrounded by like-minded people who are interested in the same thing as you. You can benefit from lots of great tips if you are just starting out, or advice for breaking plateaus and reaching your goals.

If you live in a big city or have just moved to a new area, joining a club will also help you to meet new people, form friendships and take running beyond simply great training and into a fun activity you do with friends. Most of all, there is great camaraderie to be found in pounding pavement in the pouring rain with a group of fellow running enthusiasts.

Researching your local running clubs

There is plenty of information out there about local running clubs. And, depending on where you are located, there could be lots of choice when it comes to picking the right club for your specific goals and interests.

Important points to consider when researching your local running clubs:

· The level of runners at the club 
· When and how often they meet 
· The type of training provided 
· Whether you can run a trial before you join

From the uber-serious (and competitive) organisations to clubs that prioritise the social aspects of running, with a little research you can find the right club for you in no time.