Running alone has its perks but the quickest and fun way to improve as a runner is to join a running club says Deepthi Velkur
Running is that alone time we need, isn’t it? It’s the ultimate “me” time when you can get away from it all, reflect on life’s important matters, or even push your body to the absolute limit in splendid solitude.
So why on earth would you want to ruin all that by joining a running club and have other people chattering in your ear during a steady run? Also, aren’t running clubs meant for those who take running seriously?
Well, actually, no. Choosing to join a club is one of the best decisions a runner can make, no matter the level. You often see a big improvement in your performance and, more importantly, it provides for enduring memories, experiences and friendships.
We all choose to run for different reasons – some to stay reasonably fit, some to lose weight and others to become competitive runners who want to win races. No matter the reason, being a member of a club can help make your runs even better.
Motivation can be a challenge for some of us when we look out of the window and see a cold, rainy morning but knowing that there will be others to share that experience can often be the difference between you going back to bed and heading out the door.
Over the past few years, Bengaluru has developed a thriving running scene and with running groups in almost every locality, it has never been easier for us to join one.
Famed for its pleasant weather, Bengaluru also boasts some scenic routes and parks that can make any runner happy. Cubbon Park, Lal Bagh, Nandi Hills, GKVK campus, Kanteerava Stadium are a few of the iconic running tracks around the city.
Most people run in smaller groups during the week and weekends are reserved for a bit of strength training and long group runs. Running groups start training very early in the day and last for about 2 – 2.5 hrs and on the long run days might be longer.
Out of the 25 running clubs active in Bengaluru today, let us discover a little more about a few clubs:
Runner’s for Life were the pioneers of the running movement in India and they believe in the philosophy of taking running to places it has never been before. The Fuller Life started by Arvind Krishnan is the parent group of RFL. They started out as a google group of runners’ back in 2005. The group meets once every fortnight. They organize three major running events across the city like the Bangalore Ultra, Kaveri Trail Marathon, and Puma Urban Stampede. They were also the first to launch the country’s first duathlon in 2009. The team grew to a few hundred and so did the scope of their events and the connection they built with the running community. They continue to show efforts in supporting the running community in as many ways as possible.
Soles of Bangalore are the most diverse and active group of amateur and like-minded runners who train in and around HSR Layout, Sarjapur road and Bellandur. Santhosh Jayakumar who is one of the co-founders of the group says running is looked as more of an activity to stay healthy and fit. They help organize group running events in the city on Sundays and events/seminars for amateur runners as well. The group strives to remain inclusive and has grown to about 60+ runners both beginners and experienced runners alike who engage and share their experiences for the joy of running. The group also provides training for people attempting to run marathons, injury prevention methods, organize talks on nutrition and many more.
Jayanagar Jaguars (fondly called JJ’s)is one of the oldest and largest running groups in Bengaluru who believe in their mission to deliver a structured and an affordable training program for all be it a beginner, experienced marathoner or ultra-runners. They uniformly follow the structured training program which focuses on building strength, fitness, and stamina across all their 10 locations. Over the years, more than 3000 runners are benefited through this program crafted carefully by their experienced head coach Pramod Deshpande and the same is implemented by designated captains for each group across their locations. Some of their training programs include training for half and ultra-marathons, TWTK (10weeks to 10k) to run the TCK10k, fitness through running for people who want to stay fit through running and many more.
Pacemakers are a group of 100 spirited and strong-willed long-distance runners both novice and experienced who coach under the leadership and guidance of their Coach Pani- an Ex-IAF athlete. He has many commendable achievements to his credit in various competitive races covering varied distances. The primary objective of this group is to train runners to better their performance and run injury-free by applying the right principles of training. They design a structured program for each athlete keeping in mind their current fitness levels and individual goals. The programs are designed to balance the intensity and volume of workouts which gradually reaches its peak before any event. The group trains at Kanteerva Stadium three times a week in interval training, tempo runs, Fartlek runs. The runners are also required to do strength and cross training workouts independently. The long-run workouts are usually reserved for Saturdays which happen at GKVK.
Runner’s High is a community who want to make running and fitness sports accessible to all irrespective of their background and reach their individual potential in the truest sense. They offer training and coaching to walkers and runners whether novice or advanced. Their training programmes are designed by a team of experienced coaches and sports medicine specialists who are themselves runners of great repute. They also organize various running events in the city. Members who train with them, supporters, patrons and the education efforts the team is involved with form the crux of the Runners High community.
While running clubs and running with others do have their merits, some of us like having that bit of time and space where we don’t have to talk (or listen), where we can go any route or direction we want. Go on that solo run once in a while to give you that sense of freedom.