BBC Radio Kent: Running: The five key benefits of running in a group

Benefits of running in a group

Media sport psychology consultant and peak performance consultant Roberto Forzoni is invited to speak with @BBCRadiokent for an insight into the world of elite performance, psychology of behaviour and performance, well-being and positive mental health.

Whether you’re an experienced runner or a novice, there can be some significant and worthwhile benefits of running in a group rather than alone.

These include the following:

  1. Accountability: You need to turn up!
  2. Motivation: The support and inspiration of others
  3. Social aspects: develop friendships and social support.
  4. Improves performance: Learn from others.
  5. Safety: Both in the event of injury and feeling more comfortable, I am group.

1. You need to show up – accountability

A major benefit of any exercise group is that it can act as a catalyst to maintain the routine! Simply by committing to meet up with a group of friends or to run with a local running club is that by making that commitment to others you are more likely to go. Both general adherence and sustained adherence, particularly when you might not fancy going, is more likely to motivate you to go. Also, the very fact people are expecting you to turn up could act as a catalyst to go when self-motivation is low

2. Motivation

We saw above how a commitment to meet up could motivate you to run regularly, especially when you don’t relish the thought of going for a run. But motivation can from a different aspect of group training; if you lack some confidence in running, seeing people similar to you (in terms of age, body shape and experience, for example) could help you to be more confident that you too can do it. This is a common theme in psychology ad termed a ‘vicarious’ experience of using other achievements to help your own.  Seeing others like yourself running and achieving some benefits from it can be pretty inspiring, especially if you lack the confidence to rum. You develop an ‘if they can do it then so can I” attitude t can be challenging to motivate yourself to run alone. Indeed, if you are feeling a little under the weather or it’s raining outside, the coach and that movie you wanted to watch could seem more appealing. The very fact there is a commitment to run with others could be the only motivating factor you need. Another motivational benefit could be that running with others makes runs go much quicker! Running with a group can help you stay motivated and focus on running. The people in the group have similar interests and understand what each other is going through when running. Many runners find that long runs go by a lot quicker and easier when they socialise with friends while they run.

3. It’s social!

Running groups can have a great social side which is very important during training. You will gain friends, often for life, who are like-minded people who like to run. If you run purely for fun and health benefits, your runs with others could be a time to chat about life and issues that are on your mind, If you are a more serious runner, it might be fun to talk about running times, races and PBs! Either way, it’s a great social activity, and many groups undertake events together and celebrate as a group outside the running sessions.

4. It can improve your running performance

Running with a group is also a great way to learn tips around running; these could include ideas on running technique, breathing, pacing and distraction processes to keep you going when you find it challenging – which in turn helps you become a better runner. In addition, when you run with others who are competitive and encourage you to run a little harder and a little longer than you thought you could run, you will experience increased running confidence and also performance.

5. Safety

Running in a group provides great safety, and if someone gets injured or feels sick there is someone there to help, this is especially helpful on long runs. Simply feeling safer when running in a group is a good reason to do this type of taring and is much better than sitting at home and not exercising because you do not feel safe running alone.


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