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Getting fit with friends
Whether you're serious about running or you're just looking to share your hobby with like-minded people, joining a running club will provide you with the training environment you need to thrive. But before you join a running club, you have to find one. Narrow down your search based on your ambitions and expectations.
What do you want to achieve?
I want to get fit and meet new people
Do you enjoy running but don't want the pressures of racing? Look for a recreational running club that meets once or twice a week. Keep fit with friends and enjoy leisurely runs where you live. Take part in larger events such as the London Marathon and Great North Run, with the focus on enjoyment and achievement over winning and personal bests.
I want to train and race competitively
If you dream of Olympic glory or crave the adrenalin of competition, consider joining an athletic running club where you'll be introduced to road running, cross country and track and field. Receive advice from expert coaches and earn the chance to represent you club at race meetings at home and abroad.
Knowing which running club to join
Now you have identified your objectives, it's time to actually filter through some running clubs. So what steps should you take?
1. Search for running clubs near you
Use the brilliant club finder on the Run England website to find a group that suits your needs and objectives. Simply enter your postcode and select your level for a full list of running clubs near you. The website also allows you to explore nearby running routes.
2. Look them up online
Most running clubs have a website of some sort. It might not be great; it might even just be a Facebook page, but it should help to give you an idea of what they do. Photos, profiles, race schedules and latest news sections are great for getting an impression of the club and its members before you join.
3. Get in touch
The best way to find out more is to speak to somebody who's already part of the club, whether as a coach or as a member. If you have any concerns, now is the time to ask about them. A quick phone call or a short email could be all it takes to give you the confidence you need to commit. Here are a few good questions to ask:
4. Go along
You can't put it off any longer. Cast your nerves aside and prepare to begin life as a member of your new running club.