What You Need To Know Before Joining A Running Club

Not your mother's running club.

The humble suburban running club has had a makeover.

No longer reserved for your group of local neighbourhood dads (they’ve moved onto cycling), running clubs are now organised by the social media generation.

Cropping up all around Australia, these new running clubs are attended by thousands of runners, mainly in their twenties and thirties, every week.

Each run is usually followed by a social media post, which with it’s beautifully cut together footage of thousands of people running together as the sun rises, makes everyone who didn’t attend, wish they did. TikTok has even called running clubs the new dating apps.

While these running clubs clearly offer a valuable community for their attendees, the videos of young, ripped 20-something runners can be a little intimidating for even the most experienced runner.

For this reason, it’s good to have a bit of an idea about what to expect before you go (and spoiler alert, they aren’t as scary as they seem).

So, if you’re not sure about giving your local running club a try, we’ve compiled everything you need to know before you run.

What Happens At A Run Club?

Most running clubs begin with a group warm up and motivational speech for the group leader/s. This will give you a good chance to settle into the group and warm up your body.

From there, the group will generally move onto their chosen route. This, of course, will vary for every running group, with some changing up the route every time and others sticking to the same one.

Afterwards, the group will often grab a coffee, or if you’re lucky, some groups (like Sydney’s Croissant Run Club and Unoffical Run Club) will finish off their run at a local bakery.

Usually, this is where you get the chance to connect with other runners and reward yourself for all of your efforts.

Can I Join A Running Club As A Beginner Runner?

Yes, most running clubs don’t have any prerequisite on your running abilities, and can actually be a really great way to become a runner.

Of course, depending on how experienced the rest of the club are, you might feel more comfortable attending after running on your own for a while.

However, there is also nothing stopping you from stopping and turning around at a certain point. You can always build up your fitness at the club.

Fortunately, most new running clubs are more about meeting new people with similar interests than beating your personal bests.

How Fast Do You Have To Run?

Every running club runs at a different pace, and there will always be people at the front, middle and back of the pack.

Generally, social running clubs tend to run at a conversational pace—so slower than clubs who are race training.

If you’re unsure whether you can keep up then it’s a good idea to find out the distance and time your future club run for.

That way, you will know whether you can complete that distance in the same time that the club do.

Is It Better To Go To A Run Club Alone Or With A Friend?

While it can be intimidating to meet a bunch of strangers alone, this is how most people get involved. If you already have people to run with then you might not need to run with a running group.

Usually people who attend social running groups are looking for new connections, so it’s definitely not weird to go alone.

That said, you might feel more confident attending with a friend the first few times.

There really isn’t a right or wrong thing to do.

How Do I Choose The Right Running Club?

Before attending your first running club, it’s a good idea to have a look at their social media profile and feel out their vibe.

By doing so, you will quickly figure out which clubs are more into heavy training and which ones are just having fun.

However, the only way to really figure out which one is best for you is to attend a session. That way you can figure out their general pace and overall vibe.

You might prefer a club where everyone runs with their Airpods in, or you might be more into one that’s all about the conversation.

Of course, an in-person running club might not be the right fit for you. If you’re living somewhere without a local running club, or are simply on the more introverted side then you can always join a virtual running club like Nike Run Club.

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