How to Start a Running Club

How to Start a Running Club
Running in and of itself will give you an endorphine high, but running with a group on a regular basis can offer you both support and a structure to help you attain your goals. You and your buddies will be able to share insights, breakthrough moments, solace and laughs along the way.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Getting Started

Step 1
Think about YOUR goals. Do you want to train for a 5K or something bigger, like a marathon? Do you simply want companionship? Are you running to take off weight? Do you want to share all the great things you've learned about running with others? If you don't plan ahead, the club you create may not serve your needs. That's not to say the club can't evolve, but at least get it started in the direction YOU'RE running.
Step 2
Find like-minded runners. Network at local running shoe stores, your gym, the nearby college's track, the information building at a park down the street. Chat with coworkers who have been talking about their exercise programs and neighbors you've seen jogging. The Internet is a wonderful resource and can be used to build the club, but there's no substitute for meeting folks face-to-face to find runners who will help you craft the framework of your new organization.
Step 3
Discuss goals and the club's format at your first meeting. If you have beginners and marathoners in the same room, you'll need to decide if you're up for the task of managing such a diverse group. Chances are, to start with, you're not. So let the folks whose goals differ from yours form their own subgroup or schedule.
Step 4
Figure out a running schedule. If it's a small club, the schedule conceivably can have some flexibility to it, but frankly, it's better to pick a specific day or days of the week and stick to that schedule.
Step 5
Figure out the distance you'll run. If it's a small group and you're all at the same level of fitness, that should be pretty easy. As the level of fitness and the size of the club grow, there will be a need for longer runs. What works well is to have a regular conditioning run of the same length one day a week--5 miles, for example--and then a longer run of varying lengths on another day of the week, often on the weekend when there's more time.
Step 6
Make the meeting location or start point convenient. People hate driving long distances to exercise. The weekly conditioning run could be at the same place week-in week-out; the longer run could rotate to different spots that offer a variety of challenges--like sand or hills.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
After you and your fellow runners have met your initial goals, set new ones so the energy stays fresh. Has club attendance dwindled? Time to do some publicity and networking. On the personal front, is it time to increase your distance and go for a bigger prize like a mini-marathon?
 
Know your limitations. If you have a stress fracture or tendinitis, don't keep running with the club to save face. You'll hurt yourself in the long run. Respect the limitations of others. Sometimes the strongest support you can offer is encouraging a runner to seek medical help or to rest from an injury. Set up a phone tree to notify people if there absolutely has to be a cancellation or set guidelines: Yes, we will run in the rain. No, we won't run in thunderstorms. Don't make promises you can't keep. If the group wants to run at 6 a.m. and you're loathe to run in the morning, don't let yourself get talked into that. You'll end up hitting the snooze button and skipping running altogether. Don't let things get more elaborate than you can handle. If you find yourself spending more time creating T-shirts, raising money for cancer and supporting the local park rather than running, re-evaluate why you started the club.
 
Know your limitations. If you have a stress fracture or tendinitis, don't keep running with the club to save face. You'll hurt yourself in the long run.
 
Respect the limitations of others. Sometimes the strongest support you can offer is encouraging a runner to seek medical help or to rest from an injury.
 
Set up a phone tree to notify people if there absolutely has to be a cancellation or set guidelines: Yes, we will run in the rain. No, we won't run in thunderstorms. Don't make promises you can't keep. If the group wants to run at 6 a.m. and you're loathe to run in the morning, don't let yourself get talked into that. You'll end up hitting the snooze button and skipping running altogether.
 
Don't let things get more elaborate than you can handle. If you find yourself spending more time creating T-shirts, raising money for cancer and supporting the local park rather than running, re-evaluate why you started the club.

Article Written By Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly has been a writer for over 30 years. Her work has ranged from plays performed at the world-reknown Actors Theatre of Louisville to scripts on network television. As a freelance journalist, she writes for the Sierra Club newspaper "TRACKS" and has over 60 articles on eHow.com.

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