runs with groups

I’ve been toying with an idea.

Running with a group of strangers.

I’m kind of a loner when it comes to working out. I hunt alone, as it were. The truth is that I’m extremely self-conscious and I also feel like I am really inexperienced. I don’t ever want to be a drag, a drain or otherwise hold anyone back. It’s ok for me because I don’t really need the accountability – I’m pretty self-motivated when it comes to exercise. I’m also comfortable with the alone time. It’s good for me to clear my head and decompress.

However, I started walking with a group of girlfriends, and that was nice. Enjoyable. I’m a good walker, so I never felt out of place. Having some people to chat with was a nice change, too. These particular ladies are also runners, and we tossed around the idea of going out on runs together.

I’m in a new phase of “never say never” and last week, some of us finally did get out Β to run together. I was comfortable enough with this group to admit that I wasn’t as well-trained as they were for the hill run, and that I would meet them at the car when I was finished. It was fine. I didn’t lag too far behind, and it was kind of motivating for me to have someone in my sights for most of the outing. I was a little embarrassed (irrationally, of course) that I couldn’t keep up, but I can also laugh at myself and use this as a way to challenge myself to push harder.

Of course, since this has all worked out so beautifully, it’s only natural that my brain should push the envelope. A few of local running stores have big “group runs” on certain nights of the week. For some reason, I’ve been considering joining in one night. They say all levels of expertise are welcome, so…

No-brainer, right?

Except, I’m pretty introverted and I freeze up in unknown situations. And even though all runners are welcome, I envision myself stumbling along while these amazing gazelle-human hybrids sprint on by, leaving me to eat their dust. Which is completely unfair of me, because I don’t think I’ve ever been in the company of a community that has been so welcoming and supportive. I just can’t seem to picture myself as a runner who belongs in that group, rather than an outsider trying to fit in.

And really, what’s the worst that can happen? I fall behind and don’t finish with the rest of the runners? I chicken out and go home? Conversely, I could have a great run, propelled along by the enthusiasm of a crowd of people who love what they’re doing and are united towards one goal.

So what do you think? Should I throw caution to the wind and try to get out with one of these groups? Or should I stick to my lone wolf tendencies?

Do you prefer running with a partner/in a group, or going it alone?

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45 Responses to runs with groups

  1. Matilda says:

    Do it.
    What’s there to loose? Better to do it and give it a go, then never even tried.

    The 1st time I joined up for the running club, I was extremely nervous and shy, but I’m glad I did it. I came back obviously. Hate having to give it up now.

    I’m an alone runner, but I do like the atmosphere of running with other people.
    Matilda recently posted…Have FunMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      What is there to lose? Oh, just my dignity as I get dusted LOL!

      I think I might give it a try in a month or so. I really like the enthusiasm of running with people in a race. I wonder if this will be much different.

  2. I know I should be all “you can do it!”, but I’d be a hypocrite because I’ve been avoiding the group run at our running store for two months now. TH keeps pushing me to do it, and I won’t because I’m nervous that I’ll be the only one running my slow pace.

    But, you should totally do it and then report back to me. πŸ˜‰ You’re much faster than I am, and I bet there are plenty of people you can pace with.
    FiddleDeeAshley recently posted…Guest Post: Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road DC/Bethesda, MD RecapMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oh. I see how it is. Send me off as the guinea pig. Right.

      Ack! I’m so conflicted! I read a lot of running blogs and I’m on pace with a lot of other runners, so I guess I just happen to personally know super fast ones. I’m going to need you to keep pushing me, and maybe I’ll get out there.

  3. Lora says:

    I usually prefer to run with groups! I have an awesome local running club (Running with Brews) and find I’m always more enthusiastic and try harder when I’m running with pals! (Or strangers, too for that matter…)
    Lora recently posted…#FitnessFriday: RecoveryMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but “Brews” implies there might be beer at the end? That’s a whole new level of motivation for this girl!

      Do you have a lot of newcomers or is it the same gang time after time?

  4. jan says:

    I love running alone and with a group for different reasons. I would LOVE to do a group run with strangers but the closest are a half hour away. I just can’t justify driving and then running.
    jan recently posted…Feeling GreatMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Our groups are a drive away, and I kind of feel the same as you, but I also look at it as giving myself experience with different surfaces and areas, which can only help down the line.

  5. I say do it! That said, I have yet to join one myself but in my defense it’s because they run at 6pm, when it’s still 90* outside. I’d rather hit the gym instead, and get my workout done earlier in the day.

    I don’t know about your running groups, but mine has a group for slower runners (10 min miles-ish) and for faster runners (8 min miles) so maybe yours does too? Or rather, look into the different running groups, check out their webpages/facebook pages and see which one has an option for different running speeds? Good luck tho!
    Ari @ The Pace of it All recently posted…Five on Friday: summer, babies and TiVo fun.My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I don’t know if they have subgroups or not. They just say “all levels welcome.” And yes, they do run here at 6-6:30, but in the fall and winter, that’s not so bad. I need to practice some later in the day because of my night race coming in October, so it would be better for that.

  6. The store closest to me has a run every Thursday night that I’ve been thinking about joining. The course is gorgeous (right along the river) and I’ve heard it’s a great group. I’ll go if you go πŸ˜‰
    Kristin Smith @ A Mom on the Run recently posted…Pre-School GraduationMy Profile

  7. Lisa says:

    I joined a running group several years ago. Most of the group is faster than me, but I found a few people that run my pace. One off then I now consider a good friend and we do almost all our runs together now. Plus now that I know fast runners, there are often people cheering for me when I finish races now . I say do it. At least once or twice

  8. I have always be a lone wolf when it comes to running. However, I try and mix in group runs from time to time for a change. I find, no matter what, every time I run with a group I am pushed just a little bit harder than I think I can go (in a good way!). I say do it. You only get better by running with people who will who are faster than you.
    Wornout Soles recently posted…Unplug and Just RunMy Profile

  9. runswithpugs says:

    That’s kind of what I was wondering. I feel myself going faster in a race environment, and it helps mix things up a bit. Thanks for the advice!
    runswithpugs recently posted…runs with groupsMy Profile

  10. Suzan says:

    I am a total introvert but I must say that I really look forward to the Saturday runs with my running club. I learn so much just by running alongside these people.
    I am in the group that we call the “jogglers” We walk/run/jog along. Usually laughing and talking about our next race or last race or what we are having for dinner that night.
    As an introvert, it is good for me to “force” myself to be social and running is a great way to do it. At least I know there is an end in sight and I can always blame me being out of breath as to why I am not talking, right πŸ˜‰
    Suzan recently posted…It’s Time to Swap Some Cookies!My Profile

  11. Stephani says:

    I run with a club, and I normally don’t like people. Here is a post I wrote about the advantage of running clubs:
    Stephani recently posted…Summer Solstice = Buff ArmsMy Profile

  12. Definitely get ou there!!! I’m the exact same way though, so part of that motivation is for myself!! I do LOVE running by myself, and having “me” time but running with a group who’s trying to accomplish the same goals or running with a friend and doing it TOGETHER is such a great feeling!! Plus, the miles tick by a little faster πŸ™‚ If you join a new group, I will πŸ™‚ I used to run with girlfriends before I got married, and have missed the camaraderie!
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted…fitness friday: mile 1.My Profile

  13. Kathy Nguyen says:

    You should do it. We go to our running store group runs. There will be people of all abilities. I am introverted too, but you already have running in common. Just try it once. If you don’t like it you don’t have to go back.
    Kathy Nguyen recently posted…It’s Hot, hot, hot!My Profile

  14. I say go for the group thing. You don’t have to do it all the time. For me, the benefits of the group is that you can be pushed beyond your everyday normal comfort zone. That has made me a stronger and faster runner. I was one of the slowest people in my group until the past few months. I didn’t feel discouraged because we wait and cheer for each others successes. Running with a group can also help you be more accountable if you are trying to stick to a schedule/plan. They know you are coming and vice versa.

    The other part is that you don’t have to run with the group all the time. But you will be amazed the difference a group can make even if you aren’t talking with them or keeping up with them in terms of speed. Well, that’s been my case over the past 2 years.
    Shalama Jackson recently posted…Be Safe and Be SeenMy Profile

  15. I’ve run in a few groups. When you’re new, there will probably be folks who will befriend you. If the group is large enough, there will probably be runners who run your pace. It can be a lot of fun!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted…12 Miles, Etc.My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It’s just so intimidating. I have such a hard time when I don’t know the ropes and I’m in a new situation. Everyone I’ve met so far has been so incredible and friendly, so really, I have no excuses.
      runswithpugs recently posted…runs with groupsMy Profile

  16. I say you should get out there and show them what you are made of! I personally, have the same fears of running with a group/partner. So far in my running lifetime I have been a solo runner (other than races obviously) and so far so good. It would be nice though to workout with others so we could motivate each other along the way. You will never know until you put yourself out there. And who knows you may start to enjoy the group run over the solo run! Let me know how it goes, I may have to join my local running club (that I have also been nervous to participate in). Happy Running!
    TooCuteRunner recently posted…Rest Day and Follow FridayMy Profile

  17. Hali says:

    AHHH Feel like I just read my own thoughts!!! You are NOT alone! I myself struggle with being self conscious and tend to over think every situation (what if I run too slow? What if they think I suck? what if… etc). I also LOVE to be alone and enjoy the me time on a lone run. BUT… I do think that we introverts should challenge ourselves once in a while so I say DO IT. Maybe just once in a while but I think it will be great for you. And, the way I think about it- if the group is what your worst fears tell you (judgmental, unsupportive, etc) you can find a new running group! πŸ™‚
    Hali recently posted…It’s Friday, I’m in love!My Profile

  18. I am a solo runner…. however, when I first moved to NC I decided to throw that out the window and join in on some of the run clubs here so I could meet new people, find out more about local run events, etc. It was one of the best things I did… I met so many amazing people and I learned a lot about the local running community through them.
    Never say never πŸ˜€
    Cori @ olivetorun recently posted…I Don’t Want to RushMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It is definitely a great way to meet people. And I do love running into running buddies. This morning alone, I bumped into three other runners I know on our hill training excursion. It’s such a wonderful way to connect.

  19. Ruby says:

    I run alone, my husband actually went with me for the first time this morning and it was nice. I have a big group of friends that run together a few times a week, but they are fast. They have all ran a few marathons, and halfs, one actually ran Boston this year. I do not run with them. I wave as they fly past me. There pace is about 5-7 minutes faster then mine. I’ve had a few offer to slow down and run with me but I like the alone time. Maybe one day, if I get faster I will venture a run with them but for now I like being alone.
    Ruby recently posted…Long Run With a PartnerMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I do like having someone run with me, once in a while, even if it means they slow down. I’ve had a couple of friends do it, an dI don’t think they mind once in a while. I can’t run with Mr PugRunner right now just because we are at different points in our training, and also because we would need to get a sitter to watch little man.
      runswithpugs recently posted…runs with groupsMy Profile

  20. Carli says:

    Go for it! Those things that stretch us make us stronger! I do tend to workout alone but I’ve looked for running groups here and haven’t found one yet. I tend to push more when I’m with others.
    Carli recently posted…Real Into Reads No. 18My Profile

  21. Considering that I lead a group of runners, I vote that you give it a try! We don’t bite, we encourage, and we love having new friends join our group! The worst that can happen is that you go for a run with them, don’t care for it, and skip it in the future. The best that can happen is that you have a blast and find a group of friends with a similar passion that you’re still running with ten years from now! Yep, some of the Cruisers and I have been running together for over ten years! Good luck with your decision! πŸ™‚
    Debbie @ Deb Runs… recently posted…I’m Doing Another Ultra!My Profile

  22. I’m moving soon and the first thing I plan on doing is finding a running group. Such a great way to meet people in a new area! Plus, a little friendly competition to keep up the pace always helps πŸ™‚
    Kristen @ Medium Roast recently posted…Pride Weekend.My Profile

  23. I say go for it! I went out for a meetup group / running club, and I was nervous too. I took a friend the first time, and since it was @ a track, it was really easy for us to customize to our speed. Everyone was so supportive, even though we were clearly the slowest ones there. I think we got lapped many times, but we still had fun and made some new friends.
    Brienna Nesting recently posted…sweat pink!My Profile

  24. DO IT! πŸ™‚ You may be surprised…you may walk up and see someone you know! That’s how it worked out for me when I went to my first pub run. I knew two people there and I was welcomed with open arms by the whole group. Now if I miss one, they wonder where I’m at. And our pub runs do welcome all, including walkers and runners. We all go our own pace and it’s not intimidating at all. πŸ™‚ I know you’ll enjoy it. So go for it!! Running is a solo sport but it’s also a community!
    Maria @ Lil Mys Ninja recently posted…DeterminationMy Profile

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