My first night with a running club

Goodness, what a difference a year makes. Indeed what a difference a few months, or even a few days make. This running thing is now officially ‘serious’! I’ve joined a running club!

A year ago I was just starting out on the running lark. I had a suspicion (once my body stopped screaming from the unaccustomed exercise) that it might be a longer term thing. I got through the Glasgow winter with my own motivation (something I’m quite pleased about, especially given I wasn’t very fit), and then after a few races, entered and completed the Glasgow Half Marathon, raising about £3,300 in the process.

After the half-marathon, however, I knew that the autumn evenings would start drawing in and the weather would worsen (ok, it’s been a crap summer, but the odds are on my side the autumn won’t be any better!). So I’d started giving some thought to joining a running club. I figured my abilities were at the point of needing structure, guidance, and my moral would benefit from being able to spend time with similarly interested people (rather than taking it out on non-running family and friends who’s eyes start to glaze over when I start talking about PB’s, GPS data, and wicking materials).

So this Monday I finally took the plunge and popped along to The Bellahouston Road Runners. They’re quite a high profile group, and the final straw was spending most of my recent 10k race, where I spent much of the race close to a runner wearing the road-runners hard-to-miss purple top.

I *always* find joining groups a little nerve-wracking. Perhaps it’s repressed (or not) childhood memories of first night at cubs, scouts and such, or simply that you have to be a deliberately outgoing to get to know people in large groups, and I’m not normally that forceful a person (at least until I better know the people involved! ;-).

So I grabbed the first person I met in the car park who looked like a runner (the shorts and trainers were a bit of a give-away!) and explained it was my first night. He was immediately welcoming, and pointed me in the right direction, and I was then introduced to the men’s captain, Nick. He gave me a great overview of the setup, as well as summary of the costs (First night is free; £25 first year subs (includes the club running vest) after a few weeks, then £15 yearly thereafter; and £1 contribution per session), and the structure of the week. Monday’s are currently training sessions, and Wednesday’s are the longer runs. There are informal groups on the weekends.

What struck me most was that the club is really much larger than I’d realised. About 200 members, and about 50 attendees on a normal night. This makes it one of the biggest in Scotland. Monday was a bit quieter though given it was the ‘September weekend’ holiday in Glasgow (not that I’d noticed!). After being introduced to everybody as a guest, I was placed in a group based on my 10k time, and we went off for a bit of speed work with a coach. 6x550m intervals around one of Pollokshields many streets. Great stuff, and I didn’t feel I had any trouble keeping with the pace, although it was certainly hard work. I figure see how it goes for a few weeks. We then had a nice slow run around Bellahouston park, and then back to base at the Glasgow Ski Centre for stretching, a nice glass of orange squash/water and time for proper chatting with some of the other runners. Given I live just over a mile away, I figured I was as well to run home, at least until I get myself sorted out with a bike: Which is the plan for the weekend! It’ll also be useful for quickly nipping to the shops 🙂

I’ve subsequently been for more on Wednesday: this time the ‘long run’ night, and even managed to remember a few names as well as taking care to introduce myself to some other new members who were along for their first night too: Strength in newbie numbers! This time a long run around the outside of Pollok Park (a run I’ve wanted to do for a while), and even an interesting ‘Indian chain’ (or somesuch: Essentially the runners form a jogging line, and the person at the back runs to the front of the line and rejoins, and the process repeats) in the last 3.5km that was a fun diversion.

Now that I’ve jumped the biggest hurdle of going for the first time, I need to make sure I stick at it. Like anything, it’ll require determination, certainly after a busy day at work or with the weather closing in. But those are the main reasons I wanted to join, so that shouldn’t be *too* difficult! 🙂

A scary consequence of writing a weblog is that your own site can come up in web searches, and it’s not escaped my notice that one of my other posts about the running club comes up, and gets a fair bit of traffic. So, on the off chance something similar happens with this post: if you’re thinking of popping along to the club, drop me a note or leave a comment, and let me know, and I’ll be happy to keep an eye out, although it’s worth stressing everybody at the club is very welcoming and friendly, and I’ve still only been just twice! But I’ve a good feeling I’ll be going along quite a bit in the coming months 🙂

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