Marathon Mondays: Training Can Be Easier with Help from Friends

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Like many things, training for a big race is sometimes easier with a little help from your friends. In this week's Marathon Monday, we met a running group that thrives on the social aspect of the sport.

Long distance running may seem like the ultimate lonely man's sport, which translates to mile after solitary mile alone with your thoughts. But that's not the case for the members of "Running This Week" - a running club based in Charlottesville.

Mark Sargent, a member of "Running This Week" said, "I never realized until I started running that it's such a social sport. You get a group of people together, you start talking when you're on the run, the next thing you know you're three, to four, to five, whatever miles into the run, and it makes it a lot easier when somebody else is there beside you."

The group meets twice a week for runs, and stays to socialize after the hard work is over. Whether the run or the fun after is favored, that's a mixed bag with members.

But one thing that is unanimous among members is being a part of a group like "Running This Week" makes them accountable to each other, and when people are depending on you, getting out to run turns into a responsibility.

Dan Moriarty, a "Running This Week" member, said, "I think it adds accountability and it's just a lot easier to get all of the runs in when you've got friends to do it with. If you've got something to talk about, it takes your mind off pounding the pavement for all those hours."

Group member Sherry Whiteman agrees. "I need the motivation, and having a group of runners, knowing people who are at my pace, and my skill level, and being able to run is huge motivation, and knowing that's we're going to get together and socialize after. I love it."

When looking for a running group, be sure to ask questions. Is this a training group or a fun run group? Are there group members at the pace or skill level that would complement your ability?

A good place to start your search can be specialty running shops, like Charlottesville Running Company or Ragged Mountain Running Shop, both in Charlottesville.

This week's tip from the trainer is all about group running, and is written by Dan Bayliss.

The REAL Social Networking

The sport of running usually has two distinctly different types of people, you have one type that are serious and are "racers" and the others who are not as serious and are "recreationals". If you have ever been to a big marathon race, you can easily determine between the two groups; the "racer" typically has that serious look on their face and don't chat much with people. On the other hand, the "recreationals" tend to be very social, often jumping up and down and very excited to be there.

Typically, these two groups train in a very similar fashion: with other people. Running has been traditionally known as the "lonely man's sport" but there is a large number of runners who train and run races with their friends and family. As such, many people run because they like to socialize and be part of a running community and local running clubs and charity training groups give people the opportunity to meet and train with other people.

Some runners participate in local events or travel to race destinations with their running buddies. For me, training for a marathon will allow you a large amount of time to get to know someone and in fact, I have met some of my best friends running with the Leukemia and Lymphoma's Team in Training, a group that trains for endurance events like marathons, while raising money for the LLS. So not only did I meet some fun people but we trained together and raised money for some really good causes.

Charlottesville has a plethora of running groups that people can join, even beginners! For example, the Charlottesville Track Club has runs most of the year both for beginners and experienced racers. The key to running with a group is to find someone who is a similar pace as yours. Reach out to the local running stores (Ragged Mountain Running Shop and Charlottesville Running Company) to find a fun group to run with! And after a while, you're run will be over before you know it!

Dan Bayliss MS CES
ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist ® (CES)
Owner/Personal Trainer
Best In Health Personal Training and Health Promotion