There are some obvious reasons for joining a local running club. One of them being, people to run withYou gain accountability. A group of people that are expecting you to show up and run.

This in turn leads to friendship. Often in joining a running club you’ll at the very least find a friend or two with whom to race and run with and, quite possibly, drink a beer or two.

But that’s only the beginning.

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Here are five surprising benefits of joining your local running group

1. Team Spirit

Yes, you’ll find friends but I also believe you’ll discover something deeper.

A sense of belonging to something larger than yourself – whether in a five mile run on a Saturday with your mates, or in a race where you know no one. At some point, you discover that we’re all on the same team, just trying to cross that finish line with a smile.

2. Speed

You may not have any desire to go faster, or further – but you will. When you run with other people you tend to run faster than you would on your own.

This may not be scientifically proven, but I’d be willing to bet on it. When running consistently with other people, you care less about your Garmin stats and more about keeping up.

3. Knowledge

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Upon joining a group, whether as a newbie or a seasoned runner, there will always be someone who knows more and less than you do.

You have the opportunity to learn from a slew of other runners about their experiences on the run, how to prevent and treat injury and receive recommendations about various running products.  You, in turn, get to coach other runners.

Is there a better way to learn?

4. Curiosity

As you run, you will eventually discuss training and what others are doing. You’ll discover other methods of exercise that benefit your run.  You may try things you’d have never thought of on your own, with your new running friends.

Before long, you might find yourself out on the trails, or at a TRX class, or Crossfit box, or heaven forbid, buying a foam roller. This can lead to reading books about running (Born to Run, Eat and Run, Chi Running, Ready to Run, or Run: The Mind Body Method of Running by Feel), screening movies about running and/or obsessing about what you eat.

Be careful. This is a very slippery slope.

5. Travel

If you slide down that slippery slope, you’ll be talked into running races and not just your local 5k’s, but longer distance races in neighboring towns. Which leads to races in other states or countries for that matter.

Running a race is an excellent way to see another city, to get a feel for the people and check out places you might not otherwise go. And it’s even better when you’re traveling with your crew.

You may not run the race together, but you know there will be a familiar face along the way and no matter where you are, you’re all on the same team.

These are but five of the many reasons to join a running club.

What’s your favorite reason?  Let us know in the comments below.

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