Running alone can be cathartic and at times necessary for sustaining mental health, but it doesn’t always produce the best race results. Although it’s entirely possible to PR and even BQ through a strictly solo routine, there’s no doubt that it’s more difficult. Work smarter not harder by training with other runners! Here’s how it can help:
- Social Facilitation: This proven psychological theory states that humans experience performance improvement as a result of the presence of others. During a group run, you might find yourself subconsciously running faster to keep up without even having to think about it!
- Increased Accountability: Running with a group makes you less likely to miss a workout, knowing that everyone else will be there. This bit of social pressure can keep you committed to your training schedule and well on your way to your next personal best.
- Increased Motivation: In all likelihood throughout your pack runs, you will come across athletes that are faster than you. These speed demons can be an amazing tangible source of motivation in efforts to increase your speed.
- Learning Opportunity: What do runners like to talk about while running? Running! This makes it nearly impossible not to learn something new- whether technical, like how to improve cadence or experiential, like what to expect at the start line of the Boston Marathon. Run to learn and learn to run!
- Support On and Off the Track: The old adage says that distance running is 90% mental. If that’s true, than this benefit of group running is perhaps the most important. A running group gives you access to fellow runners who know what you’re going through and want to see you succeed. This familiar support can make it easier on your mind to keep going when the physical side of running gets tough.
The fastest way to get faster is by running with a group. Go online and find a running club in your area, start a team at the office or go with friends. You might even make some new ones along the way!