The Benefits Of Running In A Group
16 June 2022
The clue is in the name for RunTogether – we love running in groups! We’re not alone in that either. Whether it’s parkrun, 10k races, or social running programmes, more individuals than ever are taking to group running. Yet, for many, the benefits of running in a group aren’t always clear.
Fortunately, we’re on hand to right that wrong! Keep reading for our experts’ running tips and learn all about the benefits you can gain from running groups.
Running In A Group Creates Shared Experiences
Defining what an experience is can be difficult, but one thing is for sure: there are many experiences to be had in group running. We’ve experienced friendships, camaraderie, fun, leadership, problem-solving, and much more. This list could go on!
Being in a running group – small or large – means you can share the experiences you have along the way. This in itself is an experience many seek. After all, sharing can be incredibly rewarding and motivating!
Group Running Enhances Motivation
Every runner has their own motivation for running. The beauty of running groups is that they allow people of similar motivations and goals to run together.
“Without that motivation, it would have been really tough. It was a fitness group and we just jogged around the block, but learning from the leader was great and he had so much passion it just rubbed off on you.”
says Nicky Spinks, who joined a local running group more than a decade ago. Back then, Nicky was a ‘slow jogger’ – her words, not ours. Today, having survived cancer, she’s one of the world’s greatest ultra-distance runners. And all because she saw the power of running in a group.
“For those runners looking for performance improvements, group running helps you focus on a rhythm, which helps with consistency which then helps with performance,”
adds Josh Griffiths, part of the British team for the World Champs marathon later this summer.
“Group running can help us to push harder or run further than we thought we could,”
says Emma Cohen, Professor in Cognitive Anthropology at Oxford University.
The Positive Impact Of Group Running On Mental Health
More and more people are now running for the benefits it gives to our mental health. Dr Brendon Stubbs, an exercise and mental health researcher, has this to say:
"Our research has shown that running can have a meaningful improvement in mental health and wellbeing across the lifespan. The effects of running on mental health and wellbeing are even greater in most people when this includes connection with others, such as group running. Our research suggests the verbal and non-verbal interactions and sense of social connectedness have important health benefits, and are important to form a sense of community and integral to long term behaviour change in running regularly.
“Put simply: ultimately sharing the same passion you have with others whether on the trails or roads is great for your mental health.”
Belonging And Connection In Group Running
Running in a group is special. It makes us feel a belonging and connection with those we run with. It makes us feel in synch, safe, and together.
“Running serves not only as exercise, but as a chance for groups, or individuals, to come together and move together,”
says Emma Cohen. Studies on the social benefits of group exercise and have shown that running groups can strengthen social bonds and increases people’s perceived enjoyment and energy. Griffiths agrees:
“I do the majority of training alone, but whenever I get the opportunity to link with others, I jump at the chance. I enjoy the camaraderie, and the friendly atmosphere can act as a distraction from the training.”
Have our running tips inspired you to join up with a few running friends, or even sign up to a running group? We’d love to hear your RunTogether stories and share these with our community. Send us an email with your own experiences of running in a group to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read more stories from Runtogether groups and moments, or check out our blog posts here.