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Running with the pack: Why running clubs are picking up speed


runner's clubAmerican runners were the best in the world in the 1970s and 80s, when they trained in packs, according to a recent New York Times article. In the 90s, they ditched group training for private coaching and they were quickly eclipsed by runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Japan—all places that emphasize group training. Gina Kolata reports in this piece that elite runners are now back to running in groups and that recreational runners are also recruiting running buddies. And we’re reporting on local clubs where you can find a pack or a buddy (and a lot more motivation).

WHY JOIN A CLUB?
It will get your run on the calendar in ink, where it’s an appointment and not just a good intention.  Second, it will push you. You may be great at doing the same old three-mile loop at a steady pace, but running clubs will inspire you to do speed training, hill work, and longer mileage than you’d do on your own.

FINDING A RUNNING CLUB
New York Road Runners
: In addition to organizing its own classes and clinics, which provide instruction and coaching, NYRR also serves as a clearing house for many of the city’s running clubs. Check here for a full listing.

Lululemon: The yoga-gear giant has recently created clubs (and apparel) for runners, based in several city stores. Running coordinators, like Meghan Reynolds at the SoHo location, help develop your goals and game plans. Runs are Wednesday night (usually 4 miles) and Saturday morning (5-6 miles). A second beginner group does a run-walk work-out.

Urban Athletics: More clinic than club, Urban Athletics offers 10-week classes to work on speed and form. They also have classes for the running newbie. Consider it a more challenging version of From Couch to 5K that also comes with companionship.

New York Flyers: NYC’s largest running club has a packed schedule of group runs. Meeting places, generally in Central Park, are clearly set out and include mileage and pace information, as well.

Hash House Harriers: Equal parts running club and drinking club, the New York chapter of this international group will get you through any training slump with its good cheer. No dues, just bring beer money!

Did we forget your club? Or do you have another trick for staying motivated? Tell us, here!