Building a Successful Group Run….

As I was driving to the group run for our running club today, I must say the thunder and lightning were scary I didn’t want to go.  However, there wasn’t really an option for not going because most of the club was racing, we had a few newbies who said they were coming out for the first time, and I was the self-designated group leader.

I always say, you build it and they will come but the bottom line is that somebody has to show up to get everyone started.  I know this, I believe in it and I certainly do not want to see one person get dissuaded by showing up for a group run and being the only one.  It’s just not cool in my opinion.

So even though I knew we would be light on numbers today due to area races, the weather and the number of people who had texted me to bail, I was going to show up, just in case.  As a result, I met a new friend, Heather.  Brian was also there and snapped a quick photo of us between rain showers!

This was Heather’s first time out with the F’N Running Club and I spent a nice 4.5 miles  run/walking and getting to know her.  We have a lot of common friends, so we “may” have been talking about YOU!  🙂

If you have an interest in building a group run, here are a few things to consider:

  •  Have two group leaders, who are reliable and will show up regardless of weather.
  • Group leaders should communicate with one another so if one can’t go for whatever reason, they know for sure the other will cover the run.
  • Schedule the group run for the same time & day each week.
  • Don’t change your time/day because “Suzie” can’t come at that time.
  • If you are a leader and decide to run mid-day and are scheduled to lead the 5pm run, better plan for the 2nd run or show up with your bike to get everyone started.
  • Unless you are a specialty group or a competitive team, encourage all paces and levels of ability.
  • Post group runs thru the Park District, local running store, and/or local health clubs to let area runners know when and where to show up.
  • Encourage runners to bring a friend, or their kids, or whatever will help them get out the door to show up.
  • Know that everyone is busy and their time is valuable so pay attention and get everyone started pretty much on schedule unless you know for sure that somebody is running late.
  • Being a group leader doesn’t mean being a coach, just that you get everyone moving toward the trail at the appropriate time.
  • Know that most people show up for a group run for FUN, stress relief and exercise so keep things upbeat and light  if possible.
  • Make sure you get to know the new people so they show up next time.  You get to talk to “Suzie” every week, take the opportunity to meet somebody new!
  • Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!

Do you run with a group or are you a solo runner?  Any tips on successful group runs?

Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Schubert & Sauk Trail Woods Group Run

This morning as I got up to thunder and lightening terrifying my dogs lil man, I was thinking, “Wow, nobody is going to show!” However, the rains soon stopped and we had a nice group show to run Schubert Woods. We parked at the Chestnut Street entrance and invaded the Park Forest Running & Pancake Club’s turf. Fortunately, I used to be a Pancaker and know many of them and they are all very cool and welcoming. I knew they would be happy to have more people “running their turf” rather than feel violated like we were taking over. Today’s Schubert Crew from left: Kim, Lori, Aby (my 10 year old), Aurelia, Brian, Kevin, Matt, Wayne & Mark B (also a former Pancaker who was gracious enough to come and run hard with our F’N men).

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As I have mentioned before, I am really excited about this trail, just shocked that it is so underutilized. It is easily one of the most beautiful trails we have in the area and I feel “qualified” to make that statement as I have been running on the Southside of Chicago since circa 2004 and have covered a “few” miles in that time. My favorite things about this trail include: the foliage that shades you from the sun and gives houses a variety of visible creatures, the constant turns and small rolling hills, and the fact that the trail is newly resurfaced and without ruts or holes which some of the more popular trails have due to so much use. This trail also has a nice sized lake, which you can see at several points, and a few old bridges which I really love.

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All in all, if you can make the trip to Park Forest to run Schubert & Sauk Trail Woods, it’s worth the trip. You won’t be sorry and you will probably see me and a few Pancakers on the trail if you go on a Sunday morning around 8am. Today, Pancaker Alexis joined us, but was too quick to catch on film, plus we saw Ray & Margaret on the trail. I’m sure others, who we missed, were also floating around in the woods. It was nice to see the trail was alive and bustling with activity…….just as it should be.

See YOU on the Trail,
Amanda – TooTallFritz