If you enjoy running as a hobby or your go-to form of exercise, starting a running group might be right for you. Running clubs are a way to stay active while building a sense of community. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of how to start a running club.
Benefits of Starting a Running Club
Before we show you how to start a running club, let’s cover some of the reasons why doing so is worthwhile. When running as a part of a club, you experience all of the benefits of running and more.
By starting a running club, you are committing to your personal health. Running alone can help you improve your cardiovascular health, bone density, and your overall mood. When you add the presence of a running group, you can expand on those same benefits.
Even if your group is casual, they will set a standard for accountability to some degree. Knowing that a group of people expects you to show up is a great way to motivate yourself to stick to your training schedule.
A running club can also breed some healthy competition between runners. You may find yourself pushing beyond what you previously believed to be your limits. You will also have the chance to collaborate with other runners on training strategies.
The running improvements that you can gain from starting a club are fantastic. But what many find to be most rewarding about a running club is the camaraderie. Within a single running club, you can develop a strong sense of community to keep members coming back for more.
Finding Willing Members
Now that a running club’s benefits are apparent, let’s explore how you can make your idea a reality. Your first step in creating a running club is to find members.
You can begin by running with a friend or contacting some runners you already know. After that, you can start to search beyond your social circle. As you do, follow the advice in the following sections to entice people to join your running club.
Express a Fitness Level
One of the main fears that prevent people from joining running clubs is that they don’t feel they are in good enough shape. After all, who wants to join a club only to find that they are trailing behind a pack of elite runners.
When sharing your running club idea, make sure you express the general fitness level of the people already in the club. That way, potential members will know whether they will fit in regarding running paces and distances.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Along with fitness standards, there are some other expectations that you should make known to your members and future members. These expectations can include:
- What a new member should bring (rainproof clothes, water bottle, etc.)
- How often members should show up
- What members should know about the goals of the club
Setting these expectations allows people to know what they are getting into before they arrive. It also gives you a chance to set the culture and atmosphere of your running club.
Leverage the Internet
One of the best ways to find new participants for your club is to use the internet. By posting about your club on social media sites, you can reach a much broader audience. You might even find some runners in your neighborhood that you didn’t know were there.
Meeting Times and Locations
Along with finding members, there are some other practical steps you will need to take while establishing your running club. Among these first steps is scheduling.
Ideally, you should set standard meeting times for your club. At first, try limiting your meet-ups to a single time and place each week. After building a consistent group, you can consider expanding to other locations.
Try selecting places that have a convenient central location that new members can find easily. The meeting spot should also be near a good running route.
Likewise, you should also set a regular meeting time that works well for your members. Setting a time will depend on who your club is for. If it is an adult club, you might want to set weekend times to avoid work conflicts. If you are starting an after-school running club, a weekday afternoon time will work best.
Setting Common Goals
Many of your members will enjoy the fact that your running club is both a physical and social activity. But it remains helpful to set a common goal for your club.
That goal could be to complete a 5k or a marathon together. Or it could be to collectively improve running times and distances for the sake of personal and group improvement.
Either way, common goals will give your club a sense of purpose. With collective goals in mind, your members will have more incentive to improve and motivate each other to do so as well. A group setting is also an opportunity for members to remain accountable in pursuing their individual fitness goals.
At first, there may not be many members who join your club. That can be disheartening, but it is also normal. It will take time to build a large group of regular members.
Rather than becoming discouraged, remain consistent. Make sure that you always show up to your scheduled meet-ups even if turnouts are low. You can also maintain an active social media presence to show potential members that your club is legitimate and active.
Through that perseverance, you can begin to boost your numbers. After a while, you may find that you have formed a 100-person running club.
Creating a running club is hard work and requires organization and dedication. But if you are willing to put in that effort, you’ll find that a running club can enhance your training experience. Use this article as a guide to starting a running club if that ever becomes your goal.