By Ambassador Heather Foley
You’ve signed up for the Chevron Houston Marathon or Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Great. You shared the screen shot of your registration on all your social media to enlist all your contacts to keep you accountable. Excellent.
You got some really good running shoes based on your gait/foot (not based on the color you like or what celeb wears them). Fantastic. Runners, the bulk of this great endeavor is about to begin!
Training. Now, I am a long-standing, loyal, lover of my running club (Shout out to Runner’s High Club!) because I believe it is what has kept me running and succeeding for all these years, plus I love all the people I have met. They’ve truly become a family to me. But I realize that not everyone is into the schmoopy side of running clubs, so I have decided to separate this blog into two sections about the benefits of running clubs. We will call them The Head and The Heart.
- You will get the benefit of guidance and knowledge. If you have never run a marathon before, this is critical. It’s hard and can be taxing on the body. I know you can google “how to train for a marathon” but I promise you will get more from looking a person face-to-face and hearing about the Allen Parkway home stretch than you will from reading it on a screen.
- Logistics made easy. A running club will have routes, pace, and water stops built in so you don’t have to worry about those things when the runs get longer.
- Training partners to push you. You might be thinking, “hey! This is a “heart” bullet point.” but I am just talking about straight up pace buddies and learning to regulate and/or push yourself. Join a running club and you will get the benefit of those Metronome Pace Coaches as well as you could test yourself by keeping pace with someone a little faster and push your race goals.
- It is just safer to be in a group in the streets of Houston than to be by yourself.
- Sometimes you will not want to go on a 16 mile run and if you have some friends to get through it with, it’s not as bad.
- New friends and networking. Runners are fantastic people. You never know if the person you struggle through your hard track workout with could help you find your next job, be your future spouse, or your next best friend thatyou end up traveling the world with (I speak from experience).
- “Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half sorrow” this is true for endurance events. Share the experience with people are you will get more out of it. Join a running club and next time you PR there will be a whole crew that is equally excited for your new milestone and on the flip side, if you fall short on your goals there is an entire group that is just waiting to build you back up.
Now, maybe you are one of those people that sees running as your “you” time and you like to decompress during your runs. That’s ok! Just because you run in a pack doesn’t mean you have to talk. Runners are intuitive and can pick up when someone is there for the SAG and route but isn’t interested in chit-chat.
The Houston Area Road Runners Association is your link to all the area running clubs to choose from.
Here are a few that the ambassador team aligns their training with:
@haf811 – Runner’s High Club
@robbrown714 – Cypress Running Club
@densfarrar – Bay Area Running Club
@cintialistenbee – Fort Bend Fit
@lindsaylm – Kenyan Way
@VictoriaLoses100 – Houston Fit
There are so many different kinds of clubs. Don’t be shy about trying them out for a week or so and seeing which one is a good fit for you. Happy Training!
About the Author: Heather Foley
After graduating from college, affordable access and time for team sports was hard to find so Heather picked up running to keep in shape. She joined Runner’s High Club here in Houston in 2008 and a new family and passion was discovered. She has run over 30 marathons/ultramarathons (including back-to-back finishes at the Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa), but loves all the other distances as well. To keep in the best running shape she can be in, she also regularly does crossfit and yoga. Running motivates her on a personal level, but it also gives her the opportunity to interact with the incredible and vibrant community that exists among runners, and all people who love an active healthy lifestyle. When she does sit still, she likes it to be on a patio on a nice day with live music and friends. This is Heather’s fourth year in the Ambassador program.
Twitter – @haf811
Instagram – @haf811
Facebook – Heather Foley