Some of you will be aware that I run for Pitreavie AAC. I've ran with them since 2008 and when someone asks me:
Should I join a running club?
Without a second thought I say yes!
In Scotland there are a number of options for every ability of runner, some clubs require you to be of a certain fitness, be able to run a certain pace, while other clubs are open to everyone, even if you are just starting out on your journey of running.
jogScotland is one of those clubs who welcome everyone and they are a national club, check out the jogScotland website to find your local meeting point. (http://www.jogscotland.org.uk/)
I however wasn't aware of jogScotland when I started out and went straight in the deep end and went to an athletics club, Pitreavie AAC. This could have been a sink or swim moment but luckily on my first night I was paired up with someone who would make sure I made it around the route and they gave me tons of encouragement as I took on the hills of Dunfermline! Just what I needed.
I quickly got to grips with the different routes around the town and got to meet and know some great people at the club and I was hooked. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening I would head to Pitreavie and get my fix. Tuesday's were 10 mile runs and Thursday would be more specific speed work or strength work, before I knew it I was no longer the last one in the group to get back to the club house and I was quickly chasing down the next group, making new friends, losing weight and feeling great.
Running with a club is great, you get to meet like minded people, you may run new routes which you didn't know existed on your door step and you get to know about smaller, cheaper races that seem to be kept a bit quieter than the big events such as BUPA races. They are usually organised by other clubs in the area and there is a great buzz about them.
Over the past year I haven't trained with Pitreavie very much, maybe once or twice a month if that. The biggest reason for this was the cost in fuel. I now live in Edinburgh so driving over to Dunfermline twice a week was becoming expensive but I was also spending more time traveling than actually training!
I now spend most of my miles on my own, getting out at lunch time for 7 or 8 and then heading home and running another 3 or 4, alternatively I run home from the office which gives me 10 miles before 6pm, which is 45 minutes earlier than the team would be heading out to train on a Tuesday or Thursday. I like running on my own, most of the time, but then there is something great about chasing the person in front of you when out on a training run or some nights you just can't be bothered but your usual running buddy is up for a good paced run and before you know it you're back and pushing harder than ever.
This is why I found the Harrison Park group on a Sunday morning. I can't keep up with them for the full distance but it gives me something to aim for and people to chase again. I may look at finding a club to train with during the winter just so it forces me out the door when the weather isn't great. This is another reason why I love training with a group, you know that no matter what the weather, there will be someone as crazy as you standing at the club house, waiting for someone else to hit the roads with, no matter what the weather!
For a list of Scottish Athletics affiliated clubs, visit http://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/index.php?p=23
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find yourself a club, your running with thank you for it!