Lacing up your running shoes and setting out with a new group can evoke a flurry of emotions reminiscent of the dating scene. It's not about the candle-lit dinners or moonlit walks, but rather about finding that perfect stride companion - your "sole-mate" who shares your passion, pace, and, perhaps, your penchant for pre-run pasta!
While joining a new run group can feel unnerving, here are some tips to help you get out the door and potentially meet your new BRF - Best Running Friends!
Getting Past the First Stride Jitters: Just as the initial moments of a first date can be tinged with nervous anticipation, so can the first few strides with a new running group. But remember, just as you wouldn't judge a date by their opening line, don't judge a running group by the starting pace. Every relationship, whether with a running partner or a group, needs a little warm-up.
So doing some "homework" beforehand is essential, much like googling a potential date. Oh, please don't pretend you haven't done that, I know I have! You'll want to check out your new group's digital footprint, pun intended. Do they have a wide range of paces? Do they have runners working toward races that you are running, or are they casual, fun runs? A little bit of background will help. Also, this is a great time to "introduce" yourself and lay out your needs before you meet up.
Pace and Preferences:
In the dating world, it's about finding someone who shares your love for 80s music or black-and-white movies. In the running realm, it's about pace compatibility. Perhaps the sprinters leave you in their dust, but that steady-paced marathoner? Just your speed! Even doing your homework, you may notice that when you get out for the run, it may not be exactly what you expected. Be familiar with the run course in case you need to speed up or slow down to meet your fitness needs, but still knowing where the group starts and ends the run will help you feel more prepared.
And remember, if you don't find your perfect pace partner, fear not. There are plenty of fish in the sea, or in this case, running groups to be found.
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone: Remember those dates when you tried a bizarre new cuisine or dared to sing karaoke? Those were the times you learned and grew. The same goes for running. Don't count yourself out of the game. The running group may be trying different workouts, routes, or paces that you haven't tried, but that challenging uphill route might introduce you to a new stamina level and perhaps a fellow runner who becomes your regular route buddy.
So know thyself, but be flexible...you may end up surprising yourself.
However, unlike a date, you don't have to worry about all of the "concerns" about looking "cute", passing gas, or spilling water all over yourself. The running group has been there, run that, and has the shirt to show it. This is a place to be yourself and enjoy the freedom of chatting with like-minded folks.
Chemistry Beyond Romance:
The world of dating revolves around chemistry. And while we're not talking about romantic sparks here, the chemistry between running partners is just as vital. It's about syncing strides, sharing hydration tips, and perhaps laughing over a shared cramp ordeal. When you find that, you know you've found your "sole-mate."
However, don't put too much into the perfect "spark." It may not feel comfortable immediately, but keep the conversation flowing by chatting about upcoming races or favorite music to work out to. If all else fails and you are struggling to breathe, just ask the group to tell you about their latest marathon or race. They'll be happy to chat all about it while you focus on your stride!
When It's Not a Match: As with dates, not every group run or running partner will be a match made in heaven. Maybe the pace doesn’t suit you, or your running philosophies just don’t align. It's alright.
Share your feedback, adjust your laces, and look forward to the next run. Your perfect running companion might just be a sunrise jog away.
In essence, embarking on a journey with a running group mirrors the dating scene in surprising ways. It's about finding connections, shared interests, and a mutual rhythm. It's about highs, lows, shared laughter, and triumphant finishes.
So, step out and find your ideal "sole-mate" – the one who will sprint, jog, or walk beside you every step of the way!