October 3, 2013

My fear of the group run

I have a confession: I have major anxiety about group runs.  I've always been a solo runner, mostly because it simplified where and when I could train, but also because I was always afraid of the group run...would I be too slow, would people like me, would I be the inexperienced runner, would I clam up, etc., etc., etc....  Yes, I realize that most of these thoughts are highly irrational and probably very silly.  I'm a decent runner, pace-wise and I have run enough races to not be a total newb.  All of these thoughts were silly and holding me back from getting more involved in the running community that has become such a big part of my life.

I've had a few close calls.  While spending a weekend in Charlotte, NC earlier this summer, I planned to join a group run.  The night before the run I started getting really nervous about it, not knowing the group's planned pace or mileage.  I freaked out and didn't go.  Irrational?  Pretty much.  Over the top?  You betcha!

Last week, mom shared that she joined an awesome training group (complete with personal couching) called Without Limits.  I also had a week of new frontiers - I actually went on a group run!  While I was visiting a friend in Atlanta, I joined a Thursday evening run.  There are two options for the run - a longer, flatter run or a shorter, hillier route.  With Marine Corps a mere 4 weeks away, I elected for the hilly route (which most were doing).

As the group got going, a few speed demons took off in the front and others grouped off based on pace.  There weren't announcements for pace or anything like that; it was clear that most people knew their pace buddies and naturally grouped that way.  Alas, my irrational concerns about being called out as the slow girl in the back were completely unfounded and I was actually in the middle of the pack.  Despite the insane hills (they weren't kidding when they said they call this route the roller coaster!), I felt pretty strong for most of the run, running about a 9:15 pace.  The group capped off the evening with some social time at a pub right near the running store, which was really fun.  I got some advice for Marine Corps and even discovered one of the other girls is a fellow Delta Gamma sister (commence college girl squeal).  So it was definitely a good night.

After I had time to digest the evening, I immediately started thinking about finding out about group runs at my local running store...I guess you could say I conquered my fear of a group run.

What I learned on my first group run:
1. No one really cares about your pace.
2. The camaraderie and social time is really fun.
3. Great way to get involved in a running community while away from home!
4. Fun way to learn about new races and relays (I learned that a few folks from this running group recently did a relay together)
5. It's a great way to get out of your comfort zone, from a running and social standpoint.

If you are interested in finding a running group, call a local running store or check out meetup.com.   Are you a group runner or a solo runner?



  1. So, glad to hear I'm not the only total baby about stuff like this! I've always rationalized not looking for a running group because "I prefer running alone", but after having done a few runs & races with other people (my sister, husband a few friends) I'm finding that's not actually the case - it's nice to have some company, especially on those longer runs!

    Good for you for finally getting out there and joining a group! I'm going to have to look for one in my area, I really think I'd enjoy it! Thanks for the encouragement! : )

  2. Good for you for conquering a fear of yours! Meranda has only ran with an "official" running group once, but Lacey does it often! They are great for motivation and I have found the people to be so nice and encouraging, no matter what your pace!

  3. I'm definitely a solo runner! The only person I really ever run with is my boyfriend, and sometimes I don't want to with him either. I'm not really sure why. Probably just due to anxiety/self consciousness.

  4. Very much a solo runner!! I do think when I start marathon training I'll join a running group just for the additional support but don't see myself running with others often.

  5. I'm totally a solo runner or I run with my husband. Groups used to annoy me because running helped me get my head clear.. Maybe I will try it again.... Good job for going out there!

  6. I've always been afraid to join a local running group - I've only been running 1 year and I'm pretty slow. Lately I've been running faster/longer so I might have the courage to check a group out soon! Thanks for posting this!