Why should your organisation start a run club?

It is well known that increasing movement in our everyday lives is important for improving our physical health. However, it is also important for our mental state and general sense of wellbeing. At Just R, we have found numerous ways to get moving! Whether it be a walking meeting, Yoga class, a group hike or running. Given the fact the average person can spend up to 9 hours sitting a day, taking time away from your desk to move is vital.

Run Club

Every Thursday, a group of us commit to donning our running shoes and hitting the pavement, come rain or shine. I’ve never considered myself a committed runner and often struggled to remain motivated and consistent doing it alone. Therefore, joining Just R’s run club was a perfect way to get to know my colleagues whilst committing to my own personal fitness goals. Indeed, research shows the feelings of camaraderie that comes with running as a group should not be overlooked!  

Exercise in its many forms has a huge potential to enhance our wellbeing. Even just a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. However, despite the wealth of research showing the strong link between physical activity and enhanced mood and wellbeing, many of us still struggle to incorporate movement into our increasingly hectic lives. One simple way to introduce more movement into your routine is to run.

Alongside the obvious improvement to one’s cardiovascular health, running can also help take care of your mind. If you know anyone who runs, you may have heard them refer to a ‘runners high’. This so-called high is a direct result of your body working hard, pumping blood through your body at an increased rate. As your internal systems work harder, your mind becomes focused on preparing for vigorous exercise. As you continue to push yourself, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones which are stimulants- causing this well known ‘high’. 

Running and other forms of exercise are a great way to feel content and relaxed. Furthermore, pushing and challenging yourself with colleagues can be a helpful motivational tool and is a great way to boost connections with the team outside of work- what’s not to like? 

Here’s some tips on how to set up your own run club, or simply to encourage physical activity within your team:

1. Recruit your ambassadors

Many people feel strongly about running. Some love and some loathe it. Whilst running is not to everyone’s liking, you may be surprised by those who do run or those who want to try it, but lack motivation to do it alone (like me!). Therefore, a good place to start is simply asking those around you if they would be interested. By starting with a group of like minded individuals, with a keen interest in physical activity, this will allow you to build your group and generate a sense of community. Ensure to continue to encourage others to join and reassure them that all abilities are welcome.

2. Consistency is key

To ensure your club maintains momentum, being consistent and persistent is key. Agree when you will meet and stick to it- it’s important to make the time. Set up a recurring notice in your colleagues’ diaries to help keep the team engaged and communicate clearly with reminders. This will help your fellow members to plan ahead. 

If you don’t fancy braving the rain- ensure to account for poor weather conditions. It’s good to have a plan B for when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Again, be sure to communicate any changes.

3. Focus on community

Work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment. You could set up a walking group for those who don’t feel ready to run. Find ways to mix it up to give people of all abilities the chance to train and build up endurance.

4. Set goals

Get inventive and set a shared goal. Goal setting can make running more interesting and inspire others and yourself to continue to push and reach those milestones. Setting a goal helps maintain motivation and can attract otherwise reluctant runners. For example, you could set a goal to complete a local 5 or 10K. Even better, you could ask your colleagues to vote for a charity to raise funds for whilst doing it! This is a great way to boost motivation whilst also giving back.

5. Pick a running route and try it out

Plan ahead and test out your route. It might be a route that is close to work, or a route that is tried and tested. You may want to think about the accessibility of the route. If people seem to become bored, or if it becomes too hard or too easy-  switch it up.

6. Have fun!

Most importantly- have fun with it! Consider events beyond your weekly runs to bring the group together. Whether this be having a reward to look forward to, setting up a social event for members, or even going all the way and creating some run club T Shirts!

By investing time and energy in encouraging colleagues to partake in group physical activity, not only will they benefit from the undisputed health benefits from being more active, they will also reap the rewards of an improved mental state. Remember, research shows running can improve one’s mood, reduce stress and boost confidence! It’s important for employees to invest in their own health. Through initiatives like running clubs, employers and workspaces can take steps to promote healthy behaviours. At Just R, we actively encourage everyone to take steps to improve their health and wellbeing in a way that suits them. 

Written by Amy, Just R’s newest Run Club member (so far). Please wish myself and the team the best of luck with our 10K in September.

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