Thursday, August 22, 2013

Running groups in other cities

This year, I have sent more variants of this email than I ever have before:

I live in Dallas and found your group on the internet.  I will be in town next weekend (Aug. 24 and 25) for my high school reunion. I'm currently training for Berlin, and I train regularly here with a group, so I am dreading the idea of doing a solo very long run that weekend. Do you have a group going long on Saturday (ideally) or Sunday?

My schedule calls for 20 miles, and I'm very flexible re: pacing. I will have a car and I'll happily drive to whatever location would have a run close to what's on my schedule.

I have sent that email to several groups in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City this year with various details and I LOVE how well it has worked out for me.

I'm definitely a social runner.  I believe in doing easy runs at a conversational pace, and I find that when I'm running with people, the miles click by so much more quickly.  And of course it feels like multi-tasking in ways -- first and foremost, it's quality time talking with friends, getting all up in the business of all our daily lives, struggles, thoughts, plans, etc.  But at the same time, it's networking, it's consulting with experts (asking a contractor what he thinks about switching out our water heater, asking a doctor about a case at work involving a delayed diagnosis of ALS, asking a computer guy what he thinks about a problem I'm having, asking someone who used to live in a city where I'm going for work to give me restaurant recommendations, etc.), it's about hearing different points of view and just connecting with other people. 

Basically, for any given run, even speed work, I'd rather run with people than alone.  Even running side-by-side and not talking makes me feel safer (I assume they'd call for help if I got hit by a car or just randomly collapsed), I don't worry about getting lost, I feel compelled to keep going when I might otherwise quit, and it helps to feel like someone else is struggling with you. 

In Philly, I found the Fairmount Running Club.  In Pittsburgh, I found the Elite Runners and Walkers.  And this weekend in Kansas City, I've found a group called RUNbelievable (no apparent website, but a fellow runner from high school hooked me up). 

So far, two of the groups have been totally awesome and have made me feel right at home.  And I have a feeling this weekend's long run will be similar.

Reaching out to find groups in other cities was new to me in 2013 and something I think I'll keep doing as long as I continue to run and travel. 


  1. So happy that my fair city of Pgh was able to provide the Elite Runners and Walkers Club for you - I love my city!!!

  2. Wow, you are awesome at networking while running! I'm pretty quiet while I run... I'm more of a listener than a talker. Since I've become a pace-leader for my group, I find that I'm very focused on following the directions for our given route(s) and constantly keeping an eye on our pace. Before leading, I really enjoyed running with the group. I still do now, I just feel like I have extra responsibilities and I have to put more thought into it.

    Glad you've been able to find great groups to run with while traveling! I'm sure it really helps when the miles are getting up there! 20 is a long way to go when you are alone!!

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