Sunday, April 3, 2011
There is little doubt that involvement in a running club can be a benefit to your overall training and running experience. We also realize that what constitutes an ideal running club to one person may not necessarily be so for another.This naturally raises the question of what should we look for in a running club? In choosing the right club,it is essential that we first recognize what kind of runner we are and what are our running goals.Obviously,we want to go with a club that shares similar interests and a comparable level of committment.Perhaps equally important is determining what you want your running club to actually do.Do you want to be part of a club that runs together on a regular basis, one that also organizes races or one that's very involved in the community? I am always mystified by runners who complain about their club because it wants them to "volunteer" for some aspect of a race or event they are putting on. The question in regards to this is,didn't you realize this might be expected from you when you first joined on? As a sidenote, something I have learned over my many decades as a runner,and I've been guilty of this too,is that runners can be at times self-centered and reluctant to help out. Suffice to say,before joining a club,make sure you know all that they do and what level of involvement is required of its members. Another thing to consider,what are the people like who are in the club? If you think that just having a common interest in running is enough you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. People have told me in the past that they have soured on certain clubs because they sensed an elitist attitude among its members or found it to be cliquish, consequently making it difficult to feel as if they fit in.Obviously, you should attend a few meetings and runs before deciding to commit to a club. A few other things to keep in mind: How often does it meet for runs? It is vital to the health of any club to meet at least once a week for runs and ideally more than that for what I call informal runs,runs where there may be just a handful of club members getting together. One other thing to consider before committing,how do you feel about paying dues and other expenses that a club might demand?And again, I have also been guilty of this in the past,many runners resent having to pay dues and particular expenses that a club may require.As before,why complain,surely you were aware of this before signing on. A club that encourages and improves your running, as well as having other runners you can relate and get along with can be such a plus to your running and life.If you have been part of such a club then you know what I mean, after awhile you feel that your club, in many ways, becomes almost like family.If you are a part of such a group then you are a most fortunate runner. But, if you haven't found a club that suits your running needs,have you considered starting one yourself? Pt.2 of Running Clubs will be posted later today.