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Posted on: 2017/1/3 14:12
Joined: 2004/6/16
From: Runner's Life!
Posts: 59
Get Your Group On
Get your Group On!!

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As we soldier on through the dark days of winter, some of us tend to become shut-ins and it may take a bright, sunny day to pull us outside for a run. The weather is unpredictable- it may be snowy, icy, freezing rain but the common denominator is the cold! Preparation is key and we go rooting through the cupboards before each run looking for the lost glove, hat or scarf that was tossed aside from the last run. If that motivational dip has kicked in for you, consider all that a group run can do to put that spring back in your step. Running through hail, sleet, snow and ice does indeed build character and what better people to share that with than with running buddies! More importantly, adverse winter running makes for great stories during the dog days of summer. As Canadians, we don’t shy away from heading outside when the snow starts to fall. Make a group run a New Year’s resolution that you actually follow through on - join a group and run with it! Winter is probably the toughest season of training so dig deep, lace up and let’s get out there.

The commitment piece alone can pull you outside as you convince yourself that if you miss a run, you will let the entire group down. In reality it is just yourself that is let down but the mind can do wonders in manipulation. If you are nervous about what how you look or stack up to your comrades, consider the pros of running with a group at night. The anonymity of simply following the footsteps ahead of you and chasing that head lamp ahead will help to push you faster and faster. The common thread of worrying that everyone is faster than you can be diffused by the positive energy that surrounds you – pushing you to succeed. Winter running conditions are a great equalizer as everyone has to slow for footing. And besides, if you fall way behind no one will be able to see you – just turn off the light.

Group running is alive and well around the globe. In my twenties, I had been reaping the benefits of running when my life took some twists and turns. I moved to Cairo, Egypt, became pregnant and had a baby there. Running took a back seat as I was challenged with a developing country and a city with a population of over 20 million. I sought answers and through persistence and fate, I found a running group! We met at 4:45am on Fridays (in the Muslim world, Friday is like the North American Sunday so the streets are less congested and there is less pollution). Through group strength and determination I picked up my running shoes and together we signed up to run a marathon on Austria. After many months, and some rather sketchy running routes, I ran my second marathon.

For some of us, the barriers are numerous to group running. What if we slow the whole group down? What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if I get lost or trip and fall and end up crying on the side of the road (ok- this is a bit dramatic!). Sometimes we really enjoy or need the solitude of a solo run and take this time to decompress; to bring clarity to a problem or issue; or maybe we are seeking quiet. Running alone provides an avenue where we can work out our issues or find solutions to nagging situations we might be grappling with.

In the end, we all need to do what is best for ourselves! If running on your own is exactly what you need then keep on running! If you are nervous to join a group, step on out and give it a try. I am so glad that I did because I have found some truly wonderful running friends. In fact, runner’s fate had me meeting my husband while running with a group! The possibilities are endless!
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