Running is about a lot more than logging miles and collecting race medals. Running communities support us and help us grow to be the best runners and people we can be. Here's why: Friends who suffer together stay together.
As fun and rewarding as running is, it’s also hard. Whether you’re brand-new to the sport or a seasoned marathoner, you know, intuitively, that it’s a sport made better with friends. That’s because the shared experience we have on the roads, trails, or track, brings us together. According to a recent study, experiencing pain in a group acts as “a sort of ‘social glue’ that fosters cohesion and solidarity.”
When we run together, we hold each other accountable and run more consistently.
Let’s face it, at some point or another we’ve all succumbed to the little voice in our head that tells us to skip a run. Setting up a run date with friends or participating in a group training program or running club, helps to quell that voice. It’s one thing to let ourselves down but quite another to let a friend or a group down. Plus, joining a running club also creates training consistency though regularly scheduled runs and workouts.
Group running motivates us to be better.
Sure, you can get to the finish line of a half marathon on your own, but your chances of running your best probably stem from the intrinsic motivation you experience in a group. That’s because research shows that group activities help us to perform better and stay focused on a task for an extended period.
Group runs reduce stress and make us happier.
Again, science for the win. Another recent study confirms what we already know: people who exercise together experience a 26-percent reduction in stress and are happier in all areas of their life. What’s perhaps more astounding is that, according to the same study, people who work out alone put in more effort than group exercisers and receive less benefit. In fact, the study showed little to no change in their stress levels or quality of life.
You don’t go to a bar alone.
One of the hallmark traits of the running community is the “run hard, live hard” mentality. Running is a great source of mental and physical health. It also allows us to offset some of those choices we make which are slightly less than beneficial to our well-being. Here the running community also functions as a system of checks and balances: don’t live so hard that you miss the morning run; don’t run so hard you miss out on life.
Our conclusion? Let's run together.