If you have been considering running with a group but were intimidated by joining strangers for a run, then I am here, as a self-professed introvert, to tell you that running with a group is beneficial for all personality types. Yes, especially for us introvert-types that generally prefer to be alone or just around close friends.
Being an introvert doesn't mean that we don't like people, that we are socially-awkward or even shy. Some might say that I am quiet, but my friends will attest that they can't get me to shut up most of the time. We write, we read, we are creative-types that thrive on alone time in our internal worlds.
An introvert is drained by social situations, while an extrovert is energized by them. We can utilize our strengths as an introvert, step out of our comfort zone, make new friends and have fun while running with a group. I'd argue that introverts have more to gain from running with a group than extroverts.
5 THINGS INTROVERTS CAN GAIN FROM RUNNING WITH A GROUP
When you become a part of a running group you have the opportunity to make some like-minded friends. One of the issues introverts have with meeting new people is the dreaded small talk. We crave deeper connections. When you join a group of like-minded people in a running group, you start off on common ground. It is easy to make conversation, jump in on an existing conversation or just listen in. Making new friends comes naturally when you share the same passions.
Often we can feel more accountable to others than we do to ourselves. If we know people are counting on us to show up, we don't want to let them down. We can get stuck in our own heads, in our own internal worlds. A running group can provide the accountability we need to get out and get moving when we might otherwise be stuck in front of our computers or with our nose in a book.
While we generally enjoy doing things alone, having others around can push us to new levels. When we run with a group we have the opportunity to run with faster pacers which can elevate our own running. Friendly competition and positive social pressure that comes from running groups can encourage us to push ourselves harder than we would if we were alone.
Running groups come in with their own built-in cheering stations. In all the years I have been running I have rarely seen runners act in a way that wasn't inclusive, supportive and encouraging. Having people around to cheer you on, no matter what your fitness level or ability can be a game changer. One of my favorite things about runners is that when we come together in real-life (IRL as the kids say) there is usually a wide variety of ages, skin colors, sizes and abilities, but we are all the same. We are all runners cheering each other on.
Running groups are usually led by coaches. Running with a group is a great way to get access to a running coach for much less cost (if any) than hiring a personal running coach. The type of advice and recommendations that you can get from running coaches and your fellow runners can be more personalized than what you can read on the internet or in a book.
Being an introvert isn't a character flaw. I am introspective, thoughtful, a writer and a thinker. Those are all wonderful things. I just need to remember to step outside of my comfort zone when I know it is for my own good. Can you relate?
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I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help.
While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.