FIND THE RIGHT CLUB FOR YOU
As well as free clubs, there are other paid-for options that might also meet your goals. Here’s how to find the best club for you.
‘I’m bored running on my own’
Looking for a relaxed, non-competitive running group? There are many networks of running groups across the UK that welcome any level or age of runner. Check out runinengland.co.uk or jogscotland.org.uk.
‘I want to run for fun’
Moved to a new area and want to meet running buddies? Want a crowd of like-minded running friends to hang out with after your workout? There are plenty of clubs that focus on the social side.
Try meetup.com and runtogether.co.uk. competition and support,’ says Tim Starkie, manager at Sweatshop Teddington, the brand’s flagship store, which offers thrice-weekly running clubs aimed at a range of running levels, all totally free of charge.
Get Fit With Running Photo Gallery
‘Because the clubs aren’t formalised, people participate when they can – there’s no pressure to commit, meaning the atmosphere is relaxed – but once there, people are motivated to keep running and less likely to give up, says Starkie. ‘Plus, clubs are hugely sociable (think going for breakfast after weekend runs), making them great places to find new friends and meet people from all backgrounds.’ Running clubs also allow you to vary your training with races and interval sessions, get advice from more experienced runners or even coaches and,you may get to try out kit and shoes before buying.
Sweatshop believes running clubs should be fun, free and available to everyone, no matter what their running ability. ‘Whether you’re a novice or an elite athlete, running together is about sharing your experience and spurring each other on,’ says Starkie. But different levels of
‘RUNNING CLUBS ALLOW YOU TO VARY YOUR TRAINING WITH RACES’
‘I want to train for a race runner stand to gain different things.
If you’re serious about running and looking for focused race preparation or coaching, look for a local athletics club. Check out uka.org.uk or ubfinder. englandathletics.org.
Clubs are ideal for beginners: running in a group will help motivate you to achieve longer distances and keep up a steady pace, bolster your confidence and allow you to meet more experienced runners who can share their advice with you. The support of running with others can help you get through the pain barrier instead of giving up.
Whether you’ve hit a plateau or are unsure how to improve your performance, you’ll find most running clubs offer technique and drill or interval-training sessions, while someone times or measures your progress. Running in a group can help increase your competitive drive, ensuring you run further and faster. Plus, if you’re training for a race, the club environment helps get you used to the sensation of having people around you.
RUNNING KNOWLEDGE RUN FOR FREE
Here’s our pick of some of the best free running clubs
Sweatshop Run Community – As well as a branch in Yorkshire, Sweatshop has stores over the south east of England and all host regular running clubs, catering for beginners to intermediates. Staff, all of whom are keen runners, accompany every run. Contact your local store for more details; sweatshop.com.
Nike+ Run Club – There are three weekly runs in the capital, catering for different levels and with interval training to build speed. Sign up at nike.com.
Asics Running Club – The sportswear brand has sessions from two London stores – Oxford Street and Canary ! Wharf. Visit asics.com/gb/en-gb/.
Sweaty Betty – The brand’s popular free in-store class schedule includes Run Club, one-hour runs for either beginner or intermediate runners. Book online at sweatybetty.instabook.io. adidas Runners – London’s coached club has four weekly sessions at different locations, including two women’s runs, with bag drop and shoe trial available at most. For details, see adidas.co.in/ adidasrunners/community/London.
Lululemon – A Run Club is hosted at various stores, including Covent Garden and Richmond in London and Bicester Village in Oxfordshire. Check out lululemon.co.uk for details and eventbrite. co.uk to book.
TrustIO Trail Runs -The National Trust’s monthly 10k trail runs are a great way to improve your fitness and take in spectacular views (think clifftop gardens and medieval castles). Country-wide. See nationaltrust.org.uk/running for details.
Runners Need Just Run Club- Weekly 5-8km runs set off from Runners Need stores around the UK. You can trial kit and after three runs, you’ll get a goody bag and Just Run T-shirt. Find your nearest branch at runnersneed.com/ run-club.html.
London City Runners – the largest running club in the capital that’s free and not affiliated to a retailer. It even has – its own clubhouse – a running-themed ‘1 cafe-bar in Bermondsey. Check out londoncityrunners.com.
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