Running is often perceived to be a standalone sport. While it doesn’t require a team to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement, the feeling of camaraderie that comes with running in a group shouldn’t be overlooked. There are many benefits to exercising together, including pushing yourself to new levels, creating accountability, and developing healthy habits while having fun.
Let’s look at the facts. The average person spends 12 hours sitting a day. It can be difficult to step away from your desk to make time for exercise. But it’s significantly important to set aside time for physical activity. There is something to be said about the impact of working out in a group, and studies show it can increase motivation. So, when it comes to running, there’s strength in numbers.
It may seem like a big feat to start a run club at work and motivate your colleagues to participate. So, here are five tips to help get you started and keep the momentum over time.
#1: Align with those who share a passion
We understand. Running may not be everyone’s preferred method of exercise. But you’d be surprised at the number of people who do run for “fun” to stay in shape. That’s the first step – You won’t know until you ask.
Take time to find and recruit people who have a passion for physical activity. Grabbing the attention of coworkers who are not interested in running can be difficult, so it’s important to get in front of likeminded individuals. Start by identifying this group and building a sense of community and excitement for the club. Keep your tone encouraging to recruit more runners and reassure team members that all abilities are welcome. Remember, you’ll never know until you give it a shot.
#2: Spread the word
Communication is key whenever you’re launching something new. It becomes especially important when recruiting people for an extracurricular activity. To get runners onboard, you need to be thoughtful in your communications strategy. Here are a few ideas for getting the word out there:
- Create and design flyers that articulate what the run club is, its purpose, when and where you’ll meet, and how people can join.
- Rely on word of mouth from interested runners to create additional buzz.
- Utilize email to reinforce your communication efforts. As a preferred method of communication for many people in the workforce, email can be very effective for reaching large numbers. It also establishes a channel for interested runners to get in touch with you and ask questions. The crucial takeaway here is to get people within your organization talking about run club.
#3: Create consistency
Consistency is key when it comes to creating and sustaining your run club. Make an effort to schedule set meeting times each week for your group to help keep up morale. This helps your fellow runners plan ahead and rearrange their schedules accordingly.
Don’t forget to account for poor weather conditions. Be sure to have a plan B when weather-related issues prevent you from running outdoors. Communicate a change in plans early.
#4: Focus on community
Create a welcoming environment. You want runners of all speeds and abilities to feel comfortable, so encourage participation at every level. The run club mantra should be “no runner left behind.”
Whether a first-time runner or a five-time marathoner, make it a point to be inclusive. Extend the invite to all departments to create a diverse group. As the club grows, you will have the opportunity to meet new colleagues and make new connections. This approach can help take away the intimidation factor and create a sense of community.
#5: Have fun!
Most importantly, have fun! Running can be a social activity. Consider events beyond your weekly runs to bring the group together. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Participate in a 5K race as a group.
- Sign up to volunteer together at a local race.
- Create t-shirts to build team member spirit. Who doesn’t love swag?
A run club is not just about running. When team members feel part of a community, they’re more willing to take part in activities and stay committed. And there’s no harm in creating friendly competition. Whether committing to regularly showing up or increasing your pace week over week, challenge yourself.
With these tips, you’re ready to head to the starting line and kick off your run club. Good luck!