As a runner, you know just how far-reaching the benefits of a regular running routine are. From a more toned physique, greater overall strength and increased stamina, right through to better mental health, a lower chance of illness and a decreased risk of developing osteoarthritis, us runners have a lot to smile about.
And the best thing? We don’t want to keep it to ourselves! Let’s face it, most of us live and breathe running, and given half the chance we could talk non-stop about our favourite sport all day, every day. So why not put your passion, enthusiasm and knowledge to good use by encouraging others to join you?
By starting a beginner’s running group, you’ll not only be helping others get fit and improve their health and happiness, but you’ll also be giving yourself great motivation to keep your fitness level up. It’s win win! Here are seven tips on how to get going...
Start with friends and family
It’s unlikely to have escaped the notice of your friends or family that running is a huge part of your life. Often, your achievements and general glowing demeanour can make those around you want a piece of the action, too. So, if friends or family (or colleagues, or parents on the school run) have ever commented that they’d love to start running, invite them out for a gentle run/walk and you have a ready-made running group, right there!
Make sure it’s convenient
Think about the best time and place for your group to meet. Don’t for example, pick 5.30pm on a weeknight, as people will likely be either still at work or getting dinner ready for the kids. Early mornings or late evenings at the weekend is a great option. Or if you’re planning a workplace running group, pick a lunchtime when most people are in the office.
Aim to do a weekly running session, and try to keep this as consistent as possible. If people get used to diarising a particular day and time for running, it will quickly become habit and they will be less likely to miss sessions.
The name game
Give your running group a name. You can be as creative as you like, but if can help if it’s informative, too. For example, naming your group ‘South London Running Mums’ tells people roughly where you're based and that you’re specifically for mums.
Work your social network
Use social media to your advantage, by publicising your new running group for free on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Make it relevant
If you want to inspire and encourage new runners to get started, make sure the sessions you plan are specific to them. Research some beginner running plans and then tailor them to the needs of your group. A gentle walk/run programme is a great way to start. Remember, your new role as run leader is to support and gently encourage.
You don't need to make it official if you simply want to run with friends, but if you decide to get serious about your favourite sport England Athletics hold one-day Leadership in Running Fitness courses for £160, after which you will be a qualified and insured run leader. You can then register your group on the Run England website.
If you don't fancy the responsibility of setting up your own, there are plenty pf established running groups you can join. For great reasons to join a running club, click here