If you work in The City and you have a 60-minute lunch break, you can squeeze in a 30-minute run and still have time to eat lunch if you are efficient in your planning and schedule. It may mean you end up running on cobbles or in your work carpark, but using your environment can add new challenges to your running. If you can sign up a colleague to join you then it may double your chances of ‘getting out there’. The chances are you are not alone in wanting to break up the daily grind with a bit of physical activity. You will end up feeling energised and ready to take on the afternoon’s activities.
The benefits of group running are massive. Having a running partner gives you automatic accountability. If you know a friend is waiting for you in the morning, you are much more likely to get up and go, rather than stay in your warm bed. It doesn't stop there either. A partner can stop you from losing pace or shortening your workout.
Peer pressure is usually something we are taught to avoid. Yet in this sort of situation, positive peer pressure can have additional benefits. When you run with others you put more effort in, meaning you push yourself a little harder. You hit a new pace in a group without even realising it. Running in pairs or a group can also give you access to different techniques through sharing knowledge.
Most runners begin as solo runners because the fear of running with other people can be overwhelming. They may feel intimidated by the ability of the group versus their own. If you are thinking about it, start small. Pair up with a friend who is also just starting out (or at the same level) to start with. Talk to each other about what you want and what your comfortable pace is. If they run at a different speed to you, work out something that works for you both.
It is all about striking a balance. There are advantages to running alone, and the same is to be said for group running. And in reality, it makes sense to do both. If you are slower, partnering with some one who is faster will help you increase your pace. Just as a group runner, can break away from a group to achieve their own goals.
Joining a group isn't something to fear, but something to aspire too. You will make new friends, increase your speed and improve your technique.