For over eight years I was an independent runner. On December 1, 2017 I changed my running status; I became a member of my local running club in Witham, Essex.
In truth I had spent many months considering the decision. In theory my choice was based on wanting to grow as a runner. I believe learning by speaking to and comparing oneself with others are rewarding and essential activities if one is to realise one’s potential.
The timing of my joining was also a conscious act. My off-season began after my seventh marathon at the end of October and I knew that this would be the ideal time to focus on other elements of my running, aside from racing and training with a specific goal in mind.
Since joining, my perspective on running has shifted unexpectedly. My first three club workouts have been tough but enjoyable.
- 2 x 15 minutes of 400m repeats with 1 minute standing rests (3 minutes between each set)
- 30 x 30 seconds hard effort with 30 seconds of walking rest
- 5km time trial
Although I view myself as a disciplined runner, these workouts are more difficult to complete alone. The soreness in my calves for subsequent days was a constant reminder of how other runners can motivate and support me.
I have also met many friendly and experienced runners, who are keen to include me and have already provided me with some technical advice and new methods of warming up and stretching. They have already taught me that experimentation keeps one fresh and focused.
I do not regret the choice to become an affiliated runner. Now I experience the best of running, often training alone, but at least once a week interacting with other passionate and skilled runners. I look forward to embracing more of the club running culture so I continue to improve as a well-rounded and humble athlete.