The below is from a blog originally posted by Stephen Cousins (reposted with his permission). Please note: Stephen is based in Worthing, we are based in Hinckley.
1. Train Harder
Training for a marathon, or any race, is tough and if you want to get good, you need to train harder. Join a running club and you’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone. You’ll run faster, for longer, than you ever would have on your own.
When it’s cold and wet outside it’s easy not to bother. But when you know running club training is at 6:30 every Tuesday and Thursday you are somehow more motivated to get out there. We don’t want to let the side down and we’ve paid our subs, so better get those trainers on.
3. The Thrill of Competition
Every club organises races and meets with other clubs. Here in Worthing we have the West Sussex Fun Run League with clubs from Brighton, Hove, Worthing, Chichester and all over the county competing. It’s fun and not too serious, but its still competition and it can be thrilling to race your competitor to the line to score that extra point for your club. For those wanting a little more there are track meets in the summer and the Sussex Cross Country League in the autumn.
4. New Routes, Beautiful Scenery
Especially in the summer months, down here on the South Coast, we get to run on the South Downs, the rolling hills which stretch from Eastbourne to Winchester. I have discovered so many new places and beautiful scenery which I never would, had I not joined a running club. Wherever you are, there are bound to be places you haven’t explored. It’s so easy to stick to tried and trusted routes when running on your own. Join a running club and you’ll go somewhere new far more regularly.
5. Cheaper Race Entry
Most running clubs are UKA affiliated and when you join you will get a URN, a Unique Registration Number, which allows you to enter UKA licensed races at discounted prices. The discounts aren’t huge, but if you enter a lot of races each year you’ll end up saving a good few quid. Most of the races you enter will be UKA licensed.
6. The Social Element
Running on your own is fine, listening to music, getting lost in your thoughts. But running with others is great too. You have something in common at least! Chatting can take your mind off the watch and the mile counting and the encouragement received when you feel low, tired or unmotivated is priceless. Join a running club and you’ll make new friends and feel part of something real!
7. Improved Fitness
If you train hard and train regularly there’s only one thing going to happen to your body. You’ll get fitter. As a result of that you will sleep better, you’ll have more energy during the day and a healthy body means a healthy mind so you should feel more positive, less stressed and generally happier. See melatonin and serotonin. Not to mention your lower cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia and any number of other health problems. What’s not to love?
8. Tumbling PBs
You train harder and more regularly. You get fitter and stronger. You will undoubtedly get faster. Your PBs will improve, perhaps dramatically in the months after joining a club. It’s one of the main reasons I joined Worthing and District Harriers. I was coming back from injury with little time to get fit for the Paris Marathon, but I wanted to beat my time from the previous year. I did, by 15 minutes, and I put that down to training that I simply would not have done on my own.
9. Variety of Training
Prior to joining a running club, I had done virtually no trail running. All my training had been along the seafront. The only hills I had run up we’re during races and I hadn’t raced on a proper track since I was at school! Fartleks, Kenyan hills, intervals, bleep tests. You will train in so many new and different ways, which makes running more fun and interesting and gets you to that extra level of fitness and those new PBs.
10. Join a Running Club
Look, there isn’t a number ten ok? I sat here for ages trying to think of one. If you can then please email me. But you know, why does there have to be ten? Are the nine reasons I’ve already given not enough? If you need a tenth reason to join a running club then, well, I can’t help you. Sorry. Get back on the sofa with your Pot Noodle.
11. Variety of Races
Ok, there’s no number 10, but there is for some reason a number 11? Go figure. Anyhoo, prior to joining Worthing Harriers I had run one half marathon, one marathon and a few parkruns. I had never considered running off road. I didn’t even know there was a category of shoe called a Trail Shoe. If you had suggested I run an Ultra Marathon (Basically anything over 26 miles) I would have laughed. But here I am having run two ultras and two full trail marathons. If you join a running club you will be encouraged, coerced and swept along in a wave of enthusiasm to explore different races and have new adventures.
If you are interested in giving Hinckley Running Club a try, click here for further information.