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No matter your running goals, there’s a group out there for you. Finding yours is easy as 1-2-3.
1. Find Your Tribe
A good place to start is your local running store or gym. In addition to offering group runs of their own, the staff there may have insider information on other runners or groups that might fit your needs.
But if you’re looking for a specific experience—say, women pursuing a Boston-qualifying time or a stroller-friendly running club for moms—fire up the laptop. The Internet is a great way to find running groups in your area! Running in the USA compiles a list of running clubs in each state, or use Meetup to search for group runs in your town.
2. Get In Touch
If you’ve got any nerves about joining a group workout, send the organizer an email. Whether your concern is about the speed of the group or feeling like an imposition, getting in touch is a great way to put your mind at ease. Some questions you may want to ask:
- What pace does the group usually run?
- Are strollers/headphones/dogs allowed?
- Is there a “no-drop” policy for someone who’s struggling to keep up?
- Is attendance at group workouts optional or required?
- Are you able to join for a trial run?
- Where and when does the group meet?
3. Show Up!
You may feel like the new kid at school, but don’t let that keep you from following through. Almost every runner feels nervous before joining a new group for the first time, and almost every runner feels a little silly once they realize groups are super-welcoming to new runners. Tips for a winning first outing:
- Show up a little early, especially if you’re not certain where the trailhead or track is.
- Be honest about your pace. If you fudge your current abilities, it could lead to a miserable experience.
- Keep the headphones at home—at least for the first day. It’s likely many of your new training buddies will want to get to know you!