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Why Running Together is More Beneficial than Running Alone

Why Running Together is More Beneficial than Running Alone

Whether you’ve just got your first running shoes or are a seasoned road pounder, having running partners can do wonders for your running. And while the romanticism of the loneliness of the long distance runner might sound endearing, in time you’ll no doubt find a desire to have some company out there on the road.

But what exactly is a running community…and why should we all want to be part of one?

The Running Community

A loose term that could mean anytime you don’t run alone. It’s about finding a relationship with others, even over the course of one run, that benefits your motivation, goals, and desires for running.

Learning what works for you will also inform what kind of community approach will suit you. Here are some examples to get you started.

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Types of Running Clubs

Highly structured and regular running clubs sit at one end of the spectrum, as well as, the more traditional local athletics clubs, running together has been brought to the masses by organised running groups sponsored by Nike, Lululemon and others (Search for Nike+ or Lululemon Run Clubs for more info).

This way of running allows it to be the glue in an otherwise potentially diverse social group, and often they make space for runners of all experiences. At the other end of the spectrum are innovative online ways of connecting, such as the online communities built around technologies like MapMyRun and GPS watches and other running technology. These allow you to run remotely with others, creating a community across the world to remotely ‘run’ with.

But these are structured and organised approaches. A more informal attitude could be suggesting to a friend to go for a run on a whim, or running over the hill outside your kitchen window with your dog at your heels.

Equally, I know friends who have run marathons, who have been supported through a playlist we made for them as a way to offer encouragement along the route. Finding your way to be supported by running friends and non-running friends alike is a smart way to widen your running support.

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Black and white image of a single runner in the distance stretching his quads and standing on one leg
    Solitude and space are other reasons to go out for a run, but company helps progress like nothing else.

    Why Community Matters

    As with any activity, there are a number of reasons not to go ahead and stubbornly pursue it alone. Motivation is a big one; having someone by your side to push you on, offer advice and give perspective is huge.

    Part of this can even be giving you permission to not run so far or so hard, as they are able to see that, today, maybe a short jog and a long relax on the sofa is most beneficial.

    Making a commitment to run with someone can also act as a huge boost. It can lead us out onto the road on a day we might otherwise have preferred to stay in. Running pals motivate us to go out or keep going, and this support is crucial in making running into what you wish it to be for you. Being able to stick to and believe in steady, gradual progress is another reason to run together.

    I find pacing much harder when I’m on my own. Too often, I am tempted to run like the wind, only to tie myself up with cramp before I’ve hit half the distance I wanted to achieve. Running together helps you to monitor pace, cadence and breathing because there are people around you to refer to. Also, if you run regularly with the same people, you can all support and advise one another on how you are all progressing, and spot when you’re going too hard or slacking off!

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    And this peer advice is the last perk of running together.

    We are all wiser than we might think, and learning that we can offer this advice to others – and then learn from them – helps ground us in our running. It’s often said that we don’t know a subject truly until we’ve learned to teach it. Sharing our knowledge with our running partners, and receiving theirs, in turn, helps create a communal pool of knowledge that benefits everyone.

    Two runners in the distance jog around a field that has recently been ploughed
      A friend gets you out running whatever the season.

      How to Build your Community

      Whichever group suits you, I would encourage you all to start to run with others. Different communities will suit us at different times of your life and types of person, so don’t be disheartened if finding the right way takes a while. Just keep on running as you search!

      One thing we can all do to encourage the running community at large: smile at each other!

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      One of my absolute pet hates is running past another runner, smiling, and receiving nothing but their glare in return. Folks, however fast, far or well we are running, a little smile and generosity offered to someone else who is out there with you goes a long way to building a strong community.

      So next time you run, smile at all your running partners…it makes a huge difference.

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      Tom Pritchard

      Copywriter, Proofreader and Storyteller

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      Last Updated on November 6, 2020

      10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation

      10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation

      You come in from a long day at the office, and you want to get a workout in, but you can’t find the motivation. Or maybe you think you have workout motivation, but “life” is getting in the way.

      Making your workout a priority and finding ways to fit it into your schedule will offer you a host of health benefits, help you lose weight, and make you feel like you’ve got your mojo back.

      Working out will be a lot easier if you view it as a gift you give to yourself versus a distasteful activity you have to get through. Think about your health and vitality — by working out, you are treating yourself as a priority and coming from a place of self-love.

      Studies show that regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.[1] So if you’re using the excuse that work is taking over too much for you to have time to work out, think of your workout as a part of your work day. You’re helping your brain be sharper at work.

      “Healthy exercise is valuable not only for the maintenance of good physiologic function of the body, but also mental clarity, and the feeling of good health.” —Paul Dudley White, MD

      Once you’re ready to make your fitness goals a priority and give yourself the gift of regular exercise routines, how do you implement your workout plans into your daily life?

      Here are 10 ways to boost your workout motivation. These strategies will help you keep your fire for working out going strong.

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      1. Commit to Your Calendar

      Say you want to work out for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Look at your calendar for that week and see where those spots will fit in the best. Then, make a commitment to sticking to those times.

      One exercise study showed that a big obstacle to maintaining regular exercise is being able to fit it into a person’s schedule.[2] Make these appointments with yourself unbreakable. Maybe you can handle variety, so one day a week you might have an early morning workout. Another day that week, you might fit it in after work.

      2. Start Your Day with 20 Minutes for Your Workout

      You may have great intentions for working out after work or during a lunch hour, but inevitably other commitments will encroach into that time and kill your workout motivation.

      If you get on up and knock out your workout first thing, you reap the benefits all day long of that energy boost. This workout could be a morning walk or hitting the yoga mat right when you get out of bed.

      3. Expand Your Horizons and Seek out Variety

      Our brains crave variety. If you are stuck in the rut of the same old workout, it might be time to stretch yourself.

      Brainstorm some wild ideas that sound appealing to you. Look for fencing classes in your area. See if there’s a place near you where you can rent kayaks, and look for some local outdoor clubs where you could go kayaking with others.

      Even if the new thing you try is challenging, give yourself some time to stick with it enough to see if it might be for you.

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      4. Include Social Time in Your Workout

      Having a hard time fitting in a workout because of your social life? Instead of only getting together with your friends at the wine bar, see if you can schedule a hike in the park with them, or you could join a rec league like kickball. You could talk a friend into joining with you, or you could sign up by yourself and meet some new pals.

      Some exercise research has reported that competition is a key motivator for exercise, and you can use that to your advantage in one of these leagues.[3]

      Other opportunities include playing basketball or tennis at local parks, gyms, or fitness centers. Scope out some ways to make your workout more social or combine fitness activities with your social life to create more workout motivation.

      5. Use Music to Inspire You

      Is your playlist stale? Spend some time creating a great workout playlist. Search Spotify or create some motivating stations on Pandora.

      Think about what songs make you move. If you hear that song, you just can’t sit still. Even the theme song from Rocky might be a good motivator for you.

      You can create multiple theme playlists to spark more creativity and fun in your workout. How about making a playlist of Best All-Time Roller Skating Songs? Or Best Heavy Metal Workout Songs? Best 80’s Workout Playlist (maybe it includes Let’s Get Physical).

      6. Find Some Cool Podcasts

      If music isn’t really your thing, download podcasts or audiobooks that interest you. Getting lost in a good podcast or audiobook can make the time fly by during your workout. And if you get the satisfaction of “multi-tasking” — you’re getting your exercise in while reading a book or staying up to date on a podcast.

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      For an extra boost of workout motivation, if you’re listening to an audiobook, stop it at a cliffhanger and decide not to listen again until the next time you work out. This will motivate you to start exercising so you can see exactly what happens.

      7. Update Your Gear

      Maybe you’re not up for working out because your workout gear is from the dark ages. If you go to pull out a T-shirt for your workout, and it’s full of holes, it’s time to re-do your workout wardrobe.

      Think of getting new workout gear as investing in yourself. How often do we make sure our living rooms or kitchens are state of the art, but we don’t put any time, energy, or money into our personal effects?

      It could be as simple as getting a new water bottle. Making sure you have supportive and properly fitting shoes is key to achieving your workout goals. And if you get a new workout tee or tights, it can make you more motivated to get moving.

      8. Get Organized for Your Workout

      Set out what you need as motivation for your workout. If you are going on a morning run, lay out your workout clothes alongside some motivational quotes the night before. Fill your water bottle and set it on the counter.

      For the after-work exercisers, pack your bag of clothes to take with you to work so you have no excuse not to go to the gym. If you are coming home after work, set your clothes out so that when you come home they will be a not-so-gentle reminder to you saying, “It’s time to go on your walk!”

      9. Use Alarms as Nudging Reminders

      So you’re not a morning person. If you think getting up earlier to squeeze a workout in before work is just not going to happen for you, then set an alarm for the time you need to start preparing for your workout in the afternoon/evening.

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      If you want to go on a walk at 6pm, set an alarm for 5:30pm as a reminder. When you hear the alarm, it’s a workout motivation reminder. You don’t want to shirk on your health and fitness.

      10. Trade Exercise for That After-Work Happy Hour

      Maybe you are skipping some workouts to meet co-workers at happy hour. Or you come in from a long day at work and have a glass of wine first thing to alleviate the stress of the day. While it’s sometimes nice to unwind with a glass of wine, doing so after work could become a habit, and you can replace that habit with exercise.

      By cutting out alcohol right after work, it gives you more time in the day to get a workout in. Try to go straight from work to your workout, or put your exercise clothes on the minute you get home and head back out the door for your run or walk. Whatever it is, think of that happy hour as a new kind of “happy hour time” for your to treat yourself and your body to your workout.

      Exercise can help stave off anxiety and depression, so if your post-work drink is to alleviate post-work stress and anxiety, give a neighborhood walk a whirl instead.[4]

      The Bottom Line

      Life sometimes gets in the way of our plans, including our plans to work out and stick to weight loss goals. However, by maintaining the attitude of self-love and giving yourself the gift of time to exercise, you can use the above tips to help you stay on track with your workout motivation.

      By using some organizational tricks and remembering your reasons for making your workout a priority, you’ll not only find the time to fit it in but feel good about doing so.

      More on How to Find Workout Motivation

      Featured photo credit: juan pablo rodriguez via unsplash.com

      Reference

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