10 Reasons to Run with Buddies
Forest Dwellers is by nature a trail running group. If you are joining us clearly you are interested in running with buddies. If you are a bit of a loner on the trails my hope is that one or more of these 10 Reasons to Run with Buddies will encourage you to give some group runs a try. There are some particular benefits to running in a group, as there are benefits to solo runs, each is unique. Each can and should be part of your training program.
With a slight bit of humor I give you 10 Reasons to Run with Buddies.
- Motivation - if you are meeting a group of runners chances are you'll run more often! There is something to be said about social pressure. If all your buddies are at hill night while you are watching a Netflix marathon you can bet we'll all know about it. We will also be hard pressed not to razz you about it the following week. In the end it is probably going to be far less hassle to get off the couch and join us.
- Inspiration - hearing about others races and adventures can be quite inspiring if not highly addictive. Run groups can probably take the blame for more than a few runners signing up for events they just heard about before they quite knew what hit them. I've seen this happen, and indeed it has happened to me.
- Effort - running up a hill with someone breathing down your neck or calling out "encouragements" can get you to work a little harder. This in turn can make you fitter, strong and faster. Who wouldn't want that?
- Sharing - forgot your snacks on the kitchen counter again? No problem, the group has you covered. For ever runner who is missing their fuel there is another who automatically brings twice what they need. This alone is a good reason to run with a group especially if you are a disorganized type. This food on the fly is also a great way to try new fuel sources during training runs, what could possibly go wrong? Prunes anyone?
- First Aid - our group has seen it's share of ankle injuries the past year. Right there beside most of those injured runners was a nurse (we have a lot of nurses in our group,) a first aid kit, several runners determined to help and more humor than you could shake a stick at. Your trail buddies have you covered. If you have to walk out of a trail with an injury it helps to have friends by your side to keep you company, to keep you safe and see you safely home.
- Friendship - you simply can't help but make friends. Endless hours on the trails means getting to know fellow runners inside and out (which is sometimes a little scary.) The people I've met, the friendships I've forged, the athletes I've been inspired by while doing long runs or huffing up hills are simply priceless. I consider myself extremely lucky.
- Topics - I've heard some crazy things out there on the trail. Literally nothing beats trail conversations. Not even the best girls night can match some of the trail chatting I've been a part of. There can be as much endless wisdom as there is wise cracking and everything in between. Trails are a great place to learn from runners more experienced than yourself and to share wisdom with those who are not. Trail talk is special talk. Period.
- Gear - I've learned more about gear I'd never seen or heard of, or knew I needed until I started running with our group. Granted this can also leads to excessive spending but we won't go into that. Cool socks with toes, jackets that keep you dry, packs with 9 million pockets and so on. From local to online stores, there is always something new that you might not have known about if you didn't see it on a group run.
- Cheaper - why drive to a run yourself when you can share the cost of gas with others? Car pooling is awesome. On the way to the run you can pump each other up and on the way home you can whine about the hard hills or try to figure out who it is that smells from the 4 hour run. Car pooling is better for the environment, for tight parking lots and for making group runs even more fun. Also a nice way to help those who don't have a vehicle!
- Darkness - every once and a while a run goes badly. Maybe you are tired, can't find your legs, feeling a bit down, or suffering some minor ailment. No matter what it is you can't beat a group of run buddies to lift your spirits. Maybe they can't take the pain away (injury) or stop your discomfort (stomach issues) but they can help distract you for a few hours. Between family dramas and Uncle Bob accidentally mowing off his toe, your mind will be challenged to keep up with the often soap opera type chatter you'll be exposed to. More than once I've had down spirits at the start of a run only to finish laughing alongside my trail friends. Trail buddies can bring out the best in us even at the worst of times. This is a fact.
You may have other reasons why running with a group benefits you. I just wanted to acknowledge the comradery of trail buddies as I see it week in and week out. When like minded runners hit the trails for a few hours there is often a kind magic that happens. Nothing you can see but definitely something you can feel. Outside of speed or athletic ability there is something that roots us together, a sameness that we can talk about for hours on end and a togetherness that we feel and share.