Join the Pack: Group Running

Running alone certainly has its perks – the quiet time to think clearly is a big one. But if you want to improve as a runner, the quickest, most enjoyable way to do that is to run with other people. Group runners tend to go out more frequently, as encouragement from buddies can counter the urge to sack off a workout. Friends can motivate you to push a little harder or go a little further. As a result, you'll boost your fitness, become a smarter runner and maintain a positive attitude.

Where can I find other runners? 

Try the runnersworld.co.uk forums to see if anyone in your area is interested in setting up an informal running group. You could also search for an established club at runtrackdir.com/ukclubs. Or enquire at your local running shop: the Sweaty Betty chain, for example, organises weekly group runs at locations including Bristol, Nottingham and Cambridge.

What group do I join? 

Larger organised runs will typically divide runners into groups based on experience. If not, hang out at the back, where slower people congregate. Make sure you can talk comfortably so you get to know the other runners. Once a week, try running with a slightly faster group. This can help improve your pace.

Who sets the pace?

Many groups have a leader who ensures the pace is comfortable for all. If there is no pacesetter, simply monitor your breathing. You shouldn't be huffing and puffing. If you fall behind, don't panic. Runners look out for each other, and the group will ease up until you're all together again.

Is there etiquette to follow?

When you run with a group, simply be aware of your surroundings. If a runner is struggling or has drifted behind, suggest slowing down. Give each other enough space. And if you're in the front, point out any obstacles like holes, debris, puddles, and oncoming cyclists and traffic.

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