Confession: I used to LOATHE running with other people. Almost as much as I loathe running on the treadmill, running with a group was too much for my natural introvert mind to handle. Running was my alone time, and as a parent it was sometimes the only part of the day that I got to truly be free from anyone else’s expectations or “stuff”.

It wasn’t until I joined the run clinic for the 2012 Whistler Half Marathon that I discovered how much community and connection can be found on a run. That year, I ended up running with the same core group of people through the duration of the clinic and it was the fondness that I developed for them that actually made me begin to seek out other run groups and partners to run with once our clinic was over. Heck, now I LEAD a run club with lululemon, so that shows you how far I’ve come!

Our running group at the end of a speed workout, 2012. Jim Budge photo credit

Our running group cooling down at the end of a speed workout, 2012. 
Jim Budge photo credit

For those who might be new to running, a running group is an easy way to find support and accountability. Especially because, let’s face it, running is HARD and when we’re challenged us humans tend to revert to the path of least resistance; that is, not running. In a running group, you will find other runners just like you. Yes, even the newbies have a good representation. There are definitely runners who are experienced, no doubt about that, but know that for the most part if they’re running in a group they’re going to be welcoming and supportive. You’ll also be able to sponge so much knowledge from them, because often runners talk about running when they go on runs together.

Another bonus: built in accountability. Run in a group long enough, and if you stop showing up they’ll start emailing/texting/Facebook messaging you telling you to get your butt out to run club (thanks, Jim). I still enjoy my solo runs, but I also have two running partners (Ondrea and Jen, woot woot!) with whom I run at ridiculous o’clock in the morning and I don’t know where my running would be this year without them texting me every night to set up our meeting place for the following morning. I certainly wouldn’t have logged as many miles, or solved as many of the world’s problems, if it weren’t for the accountability that comes from having a set “date” with other people.

See, these people start to become your community. And you, theirs. It’s a beautiful thing, and the friendships that are waiting for you in running groups can become deep connections with people you wouldn’t have otherwise met. I met my running partners in the Whistler Half running clinic. They have changed my life in ways that I am eternally grateful for, and became more than running partners…

They are my friends.

Never stop exploring ❤,

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