Whether you're a seasoned runner, or just give it a go every now and again, we're all familiar with the perks of pounding the pavement. Running improves our cardiovascular health, helps to strengthen muscles and build stronger bones. Then there's the allure of the runner’s high and the convenience of only really needing a pair of running shoes to get you out the door. And of course, it doesn't drain your wallet nearly as much as a gym membership does.
But despite knowing all this, for those of us that aren't natural runners, it doesn't take a lot to get thrown off. If you've tried running on and off but never kept it up, running in a group might motivate you to get back on track.
Safety in numbers
While technically you could head out the door for a run anytime you please, for women and gender-diverse people, it’s often not that easy. According to a Runner's World survey, 60% of women have experienced harassment while running and 39% have had to change their route.
Running in a group can give you some extra security. Flanked by friends, you might feel more comfortable running at night, or on longer routes. But it can also give your brain a break.
The mental space devoted to thinking about safety on a run can wear you out before you even start. Is there enough sunlight left? Should you ditch the earphones? Then there's the scanning for strangers and looking over your shoulder. Running in a group can give your mind the extra space it needs to concentrate on your technique or drift into that meditative state to keep you clocking up the extra kilometres.
No mirrors in sight
Are you a fan of group fitness but find that you can get a bit self-conscious? It can be nerve-racking to walk into a class full of strangers. But even more intimidating is that often group classes have you placed right in front of floor-to-ceiling mirrors. And no matter how hard you try, it can be easy to become preoccupied with how you look and whether you're doing a particular move as well as the person to your left.
Going for a run keeps those eyes firmly forward. There's no chance of accidentally locking eyes with someone in the mirror as you struggle to catch your breath, and no thoughts about how you look or your skill level getting in the way.
Group running connects you with other runners like you, and you can lean on them for insider knowledge. Your fellow runners can enlighten you on what does and doesn't work for them. Whether it’s which high-impact sports bras make running more bearable for bigger busts, or what leggings don't slip down, hearing how other people with similar bodies or experiences have navigated something you're facing can make a big difference to your running journey.
The ADIDAS Ultraboost 22 range was created with this mentality in mind. The running shoes were designed by women, for women, to address the differences between male and female instep height, heel anatomy and gait cycle trends.
Keeping you accountable
Half the battle with running is the mental hurdle. Going with a group is a great way to boost your motivation because you'll look forward to the social element, and keep you honest. You don’t have to stay together the whole time either; it’s just nice to know you’ve got someone close by to egg you on, or stroll home with if you can’t go any further.
Having a standing appointment to run with a group of people who will hold you accountable can keep you committed for longer than when you’ve tried to run solo in the past.
So whether you’re a regular runner or dabbling again, try running with a group to put you at ease and give you the leg up to keep going for longer.
If you’re interested in giving group running a go, try it in Melbourne with ADIDAS this International Women's Day. Register here.