How to find a run club in your area
There is nothing better than the camaraderie of the running community. From sharing war stories of injuries to celebrating triumphs such as PR's and new longest distances — your run tribe can be one of your biggest motivators.
If you're a newer runner — or consider yourself "less-serious" — you may have some hesitations to showing up at your local running store's group runs. Maybe you you feel like you won't be able to catch up. You'll be at the back, and maybe get lost if you don't know the route that well.
I used to think this way! It took me a few years to work up the courage to attend group runs. Even then I would make sure to show up with someone my speed or run way too fast which was miserable.
So how do you find a group that runs your pace? And how do you find the courage to show up once you find them?
Check your local running store.
Check out their website or Facebook page — most running stores host at least one [maybe more if you're luck!] group run a week. Charm City Run [my local running store] has a number of great locations all with various group runs all throughout the week.
If nerves are getting in the way - give the store a call! Ask about the route, if they have a map, and what the average pace tends to be week to week. If it's a safe area to run alone try getting familiar with the route once or twice, maybe even with a friend in tow.
When Ralph and I lived in New Jersey we frequently ran with Running Co. of Haddonfied. There was definitely no shortage of speedy runners in the group so instead of trying to keep up I cut the loop in half doubling back to the store giving me a total of 3-4 miles while more advanced runners could get through 6 in about the same time. This way we could all chat and hang out at the store afterwards at the same time and I still felt like part of the group.
Running Stores aren't the only ones with group runs.
Running specialty stores tend to be the groups with faster runners — but they aren't the only options. Many other athletic apparel brands like Lululemon or Athleta lead group runs from their stores. Other options are groups like City Fit Girls or November Project that host weekly runs or run centered workouts.
Local Facebook groups.
If you're not ready to show up and run with strangers — try looking for local run groups not associated with any store like Run215 (Philadelphia) Run856 (South Jersey). These groups are not only great for getting more info on above mentioned group runs but you might find new friends that are training the same paces as you. You can also find a Facebook group that might not be local runners but offers the same support and camaraderie that a in person group can offer.
While not [yet] a local resource for every city - Fitt is not only a great go-to for all the latest and greatest LOCAL health and fitness happenings, most featured cities include a round up of running clubs in the area. There are great resources on both the Baltimore and Philadelphia page.
Start your own group
All it takes is one other person to run with you and you've got a running group. Recruit a co-worker to run a few miles after work or a neighbor to join you on your evening jog.
Remember - no matter your pace or level you might have to try a few different groups until you find the right fit. It may feel discouraging if you haven't found your tribe just yet but know they're out there - keep at it!