A group run run run

That's me, fourth from the left, at the Sweetwater 420 5K I ran with Team Awesome. I need jumping lessons.

That's me, fourth from the left, at the Sweetwater 420 5K I ran with Team Awesome. I need jumping lessons.

I’m not what you would call a motivated runner. I’ll get all ready to go, lace up my shoes, and then — is that a gray cloud in the sky? Is that unfolded laundry from six weeks ago? Oh my God, are they going to show us how to make papier-mache napkin rings on The Today Show? Well, I can’t POSSIBLY be expected to go for a run right now. In a minute, maybe. After that cloud disappears and I fold my laundry and I listen to Matt and Meredith engage in some witty banter.

Flash forward four hours to me still sitting on the couch, wrist-deep in a bag of Funyuns, still in my running gear. Well, if nothing else, my intentions were good. At least I thought about going for a run. And I thought about it whilst in my running gear. So it’s basically the same thing as actually running. Right?

What I really need is a live-in drill sargeant, the kind who don’t take crap from no one and wouldn’t let me make excuses for not hitting the pavement. But live-in drill sargeants are pricey these days, and I feel like a real-life running-themed version of “Full Metal Jacket” going on in my house might be more scary than motivational.

A nice alternative I’ve discovered: running groups. I’ve always run better with a partner or a group than on my own, and on days when I’d rather put the covers over my head, knowing I’ve got a running date of sorts with fun people actually motivates me to show up. When I moved to Atlanta in September, I was lucky enough to fall in with Team Awesome, a — you guessed it — awesome group that runs everything from 5ks to marathons together, plus does cool social stuff like post-run brunch, happy hours and trivia. It’s a nice, low-key way to make sure I actually sign up for some organized runs, plus make some friends to boot.

I have other friends who run with the Cabbagetown Running Club and the Urban Run Club, and stores like Big Peach Running Co. and Fleet Feet also sponsor groups.

Some people — namely my co-blogger Matt — swear by solo runs, but I don’t think I could have tried to run more than a mile without stopping if I hadn’t started out with a group, and I don’t think I’d be able to withstand what I’m sure will be ridiculous humidity during the Peachtree Road Race.

Help settle the debate before it comes to blows — do you like to run with a group? If so, what’s your group of choice? Or, make your case for running stag — I’ve got an open mind.

7 comments Add your comment

jessica

April 26th, 2011
12:23 pm

What I need most is accountability. Sure, I can run on my own…once I stop putting it off and get out there. But, chances are I won’t push myself as hard as if I’m with others. I prefer to run with at least one other person. It keeps me accountable, motivated and maybe even competitive!

Jen

April 26th, 2011
1:26 pm

My girlfriends and I formed a run group called Pretty Girls Run. There are about 18 of us and our first official run together as a group was the Publix GA Half Marathon. It started as a way to help each other train and stay on track. Now, we’re training for a few 5 and 10K races in the area, and plan to run the Savannah and Miami Half Marathons in November and January. I don’t love to run, but I love the challenge it poses so for me, having a partner or group makes me accountable and pushes me to be a better runner, all around.

Jeff

April 26th, 2011
1:29 pm

If you run with somebody else, at least one of you is not getting the right workout. Sure, if you’re just trying to burn a few calories, running with others is certainly better than nothing. If you have the right music selectiob, and a nice scenic route, running solo is the way to go. Of course, if the Pretty Girls Run invited me, I’d probably change my opinion.

Gen Neyland

April 27th, 2011
6:30 am

For those that choose group therapy, so be it. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of solo or pack but I choose solo and have done so for 20 years. The following reasons apply : I set my own schedule, run my own pace and workouts (hills, track, long, short), converse with my inner-self. The group runner may translate these points to : Does not play well with others. I just like the solo route except for race days…

Cassi

April 27th, 2011
8:55 am

I’ve found that by running with a group, I am much more excited about the activity. It’s no longer just a workout, but an event! Of course, like others said, finding the right group is key and running with people of a similar pace will ensure a good workout, but living a healthy lifestyle should be fun and working out shouldn’t be a burden! If you can make your fitness exciting and engaging, you’re more likely to do it. That’s what I’m all about!

Timmydaddy

April 27th, 2011
10:04 am

When I was a bit younger, quicker and less injury prone, I primarily ran alone. I could tailor my own workout and I had enough of the disease to always push myself pretty hard. Now I try to balance it between some mind-clearing solo trips and more social, group runs. I think once you reach a point where PR’s are a thing of the past, the most important thing is to stay motivated to keep lacing them up.

[...] PRR) to small (your neighborhood 5K) can be the carrot. A simple schedule is generally enough. Like training partners/running groups, that set schedule keeps you accountable. When you run well in July, you’ll know why. If you [...]