Training Runs: Go it Alone or Join a Group?

Running groups are great for those who are looking for some change. Moreover no matter where you live, you could probably search for “Running Groups in _____” and find one fairly close. Some questions you might ask yourself to see if you’re a goo candidate for joining a running group are:

  • Tired of training by yourself?
  • Need some extra motivation?
  • Are your runs getting boring?
  • Could you use some other fitness-minded friends?

I was asking myself these same questions this morning. It’s getting cooler here in Central Illinois and it made me realize, I’ve never run
outside in the late fall/winter. This year, I think I’d like to try it, but I also think I’ll need some extra motivation. This realization led me to research running groups. I was aware that there’s one in Bloomington/Normal, but that’s about the extent of knowledge that I had on running groups.

The group in Bloomington/Normal is called The Lake Run club, but you can go to this link at Cool Running to see what clubs are available near you. A cool feature of the link above is that the clubs are based on a rating system, so if there’s more than one available club to choose from, you can hear what others had to say about it.

The Lake Run Club is the group nearest me, and it offers set days during the week where the group gets together to run. I was glad to see they offered group runs during the winter. Here in Central Illinois, the winters are obviously harsh, but it also gets darker earlier. Running with a group is much safer than running alone when it’s dark out.

Besides the benefit of safety in numbers, getting involved in a running group can also be a great time, thus a wonderful way to make friends! An added bonus is you already know that you obviously have something in common – a love of running! Not to mention, your networking opportunities would skyrocket, too. Plus, what’s the fun of running without a little friendly competition. What a great way to train for a race! Additionally, for you single ladies (and gents!) who are looking, joining a running group would be a great way to find romance while doing what you love – running! What better way is there to find someone who has the same interests and lifestyle?

Most running groups strive to include options for runners of all abilities, so don’t think running clubs are only for those who have a record breaking pace or only run marathons.

To keep this post balanced, I also tried to consider the downside to joining a running group:

You do have to pay a fee, but if you run in races, you typically get a discount for being a member for each race


I couldn’t really think of any honestly. Obviously, if the criteria above don’t seem appealing to you, then you shouldn’t plan on joining one. If you love, love, love running solo, obviously joining a running group wouldn’t be for you.

I think I’m going to try it out. I’d still be able to run alone, but I’d also have days to run in groups as well. And if I’m going to be training for the Gasparilla Half Marathon in February, I think I’d get in a lot more road time training with a group.

How many of you are already in a running club? If you don’t run, are you part of another fitness club/group (besides a gym)?