Getting involved with a running club can be a big step for a new runner, a very big and quite daunting step!
These were some of my fears when I first started thinking about running clubs:
1. I’m too fat : Let’s get this one out there first and not beat around the bush. The simple answer is no you’re not, no one cares, all anyone cares about is the fact that you’re out there doing it. A running club is a big family of like minded people who all love running. A good running club will be incredibly supportive and cater for runners of all abilities. A lot of clubs run C25K/beginner sessions as well as their more advanced training sessions. You have nothing to fear here.
2. I’m too slow : You may well not be very quick, does it matter? No it doesn’t, no one cares, all anyone cares about is the fact that you’re out there doing it. Joining up with a running club and attending club training sessions will help improve your running no end. Your times will improve if you put in the effort and listen to the coaches, but equally if you don’t want that then you don’t have to do it. Again, as with point 1, clubs cater for all abilities, there are different levels of coaches for different levels of runners.
3. I’m too old : No you’re not, no one cares about your age. Running isn’t just for the young and you’re never too old and besides there is age grading to level out the playing field. Running attracts people of all ages and races cater for that fact, as do clubs. Age is really nothing to worry about, if you think that you’re going to turn up at a running club meet and you’re going to be at a running track surrounded by lean skinny sweaty teens in running vests then you’d be very much mistaken.
4. It’s too expensive : No it’s not. I have no idea why I thought this originally and when I looked into it I found that running club ‘subs’ we’re very reasonable. You get signed up to the UKA which also means that you get discounted entry into UKA affiliated races. I’ve done 10 or so races already this year, if I had signed up to a club I would have saved at least £2 or more on each race which would have covered my years subs! So it more than pays for itself if you enter races regularly.
5. I’ve not got the right gear : As with most the other points I’ve raised, no one cares! No one cares what you wear or wether it’s the cheapest or the most expensive gear. You’ll get plenty of advice in reality. In fact you’ll end up with a better idea of what may be of benefit to you, what places are cheap, recommendations based on personal experience and quite often discounts at local running shops too.
So, after all that I’ve detailed in my 5 points above I have to own up to not being in a running club myself at the moment. I have previously belonged to a club, Denmead Striders, and loved being part of it. I’m not currently with a club because I don’t feel commited enough at the moment to run regularly and attend club training sessions. Not a real reason I know 😉
I’m really enjoying doing my own thing this year, but I will be joining up with someone again next year. At the moment I am still part of an online running community. I run in their shirt at every race I do, you may have noticed my Bosh shirt in my pictures. This suits me just fine at the moment as I have all the support I need from my fellow Boshers online and at pretty much every race I’ve attended this year. The majority of people that run with Bosh are existing members of running clubs and run in their club vests, they can however be identified by their Bosh wristbands. I will post a more in depth blog about Bosh another time. They’re not a club but more like a family.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand, running clubs, I highly recommend at the very least putting any fears you may have behind you and getting along to your local club to see what they can offer you. I very much doubt that you’ll regret it.
Run strong! Get involved! Have fun!