Group Running: The Benefits & How to Get Started


Running or Aerobic Exercise is a vital component of maintaining good health. Aerobic exercise comes with a multitude of benefits including an improved immune system and increased stamina. It also reduces risk for many harmful diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Not only is it beneficial for your body, but the benefits for the mind are immense. Improved sleep, increased energy, and reduced risk for depression and anxiety are just a few of the possible benefits. Furthermore, running is a tremendous way to relieve stress, a much too familiar feeling that is not always dealt with properly. The Department of Health and Human Services recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. These numbers may seem intimidating but fear not, finding a group to run with can make this goal much more achievable.

Why Run in Groups?

Safety on campus is very important and university data shows that not everyone feels safe walking/running alone. Running in groups will act as a deterrence for any criminal activity or unwanted attention. Additionally, in case of injury or fainting, there will be others around to help.

When running, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow. Running mates can facilitate this growth by providing tips and strategies to be a better runner. Some days when you just are feeling unmotivated, a running mate can also be there to cheer you on and to keep you on your feet. Skipping a workout will be much harder when your team is depending on you and is holding you accountable. They can serve as encouragement in achieving set goals and a healthy lifestyle.

As with many other workout routines, sometimes running can become monotonous. Break that up by trying new routes with your group; that may include finding a tough hill to run up or challenging each other to break previous records. Setting achievable and measurable goals for each of your members and as a team may also serve as motivation to reach that next milestone. To easily track your progress, there are distinctive apps available for you and your group to download.

group-runningWhat App should my group download?

Available on Android and iOS, the Runkeeper app is a very handy app that develops plans, tracks progress and goals, and saves and shares routes. These features are applied to groups as well. First, you can create a running group, customize the frequency and distance of the runs, and talk with others to coordinate runs. Even if you are not able to run with the group on a certain day, your progress is still recorded in the feed and your teammates can see your accomplishment. Runkeeper is also equipped with fun challenges that can serve as a little motivational boost.

While the weather is still nice, I encourage you to reap the endless benefits of aerobic exercise. Don’t feel pressured to be able to run a 5k or a half marathon right off the bat. Start off slow and set measurable and achievable goals tailored to your ability. Make connections and new friends by finding a group to run with, and encourage others to join. Run on!