Last night I went to a Run NYC workout (run club out of Niketown near Central Park). They meet on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and anyone is welcome. I haven’t been to Saturday workouts yet, but I plan on it, as soon as my weekend schedule slows down a bit. The workout we did was “Negative Splits”: after a mile or so warm up, we ran a half mile stretch at a “fast” pace (there are different pace groups) and recovered on the way back. This was repeated four times, plus a cool down mile for a total of 6.8 miles.
I was in the 9:00 minute mile group. At first, I thought it was going to be too slow for me. I am in between groups right now, so while 8:00 is too fast, 9:00 is too slow. Or so I thought. Our splits were indeed negative: 9:00/8:45/7:45/7:15. Seriously. I have never run half a mile at 7:15 pace, and I was blown away. And I was exhausted. And clearly, in the right group. Imagine if I had tried the 8:00 minute group? I probably wouldn’t be here to write this!
Which brings me to my list of why running in groups is so beneficial:
- The time goes by faster. People to talk to, listen to, stare at…
- Leader of the pack. There is usually a leader, in my case there was a pacer. Either way, there is one person who sort of takes responsibility for getting everyone to the final destination. And it’s nice to take a break from doing that for yourself.
- You run faster. Just like in races, groups run faster than people do individually. Everyone is trying to keep up with the pace, in turn increasing the pace.
- Pressure. The good kind. Running with a group creates a certain pressure to keep going, to keep up. Where previously we might say “this is too fast”, or “I can’t keep this pace”, this is less likely to happen when running in a group. Call it peer pressure, but it works.
- IT’S FUN! Let’s face it, running is more fun in groups. It’s a great way to get outside, meet new people, and push yourself. All good things.
So there you go. Those are my top five reasons why it’s beneficial to run in groups. Most people can’t do it everyday, but if you can work in a few runs with a group or with friends, it helps to shake it up and keep it interesting. Most communities having running clubs of all different types and levels, so give it a Google and give it a try!