We’ve had a lot of new mother runners join us recently – so exciting!! But also so scary….What if I I post about wanting to meet people for a run and no one responds? What if I am the slowest person on a group run? What if I do find someone to run with – what do we talk about for an hour (or more) while we’re running? I don’t know about actually “meeting” people who I only know from a Facebook group…
Moms RUN this Town, San Jose is NOT just a Facebook group! We actually ENCOURAGE members to meet for real runs…in person, on a trail in the area, with their kids (if they have them). Why? Because running is more fun in a group! And as moms, we understand that speed is relative (just like we know that numbers on a scale don’t mean that much). We also know what it takes to get out of the house for a run, especially if you’re bringing the baby and the toddler and the double stroller…and the 7 year old on a bike…and the dog….
So what actually happens when you get 2 or more mother runners together for a group run? Well, it goes something like this…
Group Run Meeting time – 9 AM-ish – there is always a little lee-way to account for explosive diapers and tantruming toddlers. Sometimes we meet earlier depending on the day (weekday vs weekend) or the distance (5 AM start for those long runs!) or if moms need to get back to the house at a certain time (to get ready for work or so their partner can get ready for work or to be there before the kids wake up).
Who runs with who? Here’s where people can get really nervous because we’re talking PACE! The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines pace as “the speed at which someone or something moves”. In our chapter, we have some pretty speedy mamas (8 minute miles or less) and we also have some not so speedy mamas. I fall into the latter category and I am totally fine with that! If a tiger were chasing us, you can thank me for keeping the tiger busy so you can get away. Yeah, I’m just a nice person that way! Being “slow” is really relative – I may be slower than an 8 minute miler but I am faster than my two year old!
For group runs, we usually divide up into pace – sometimes formally but most of the time, naturally. We will all start off together then eventually the faster moms go ahead and the rest of us do the run at the speed that we are comfortable with. Sometimes we’ll say before the run, “OK, we’ll meet back in an hour” and people run out for 30 minutes then come back for 30 minutes. That way, everyone meets back around the same time and we can all stretch and talk. Sometimes, we’ll say before the run, “OK, we’ll all do 5 miles” and then people run the mileage in however amount of time it takes them and usually people wait until everyone is back. The faster ones take the time to stretch and socialize while waiting. Starting together and ending together is a usually a given during a group run.
Sometimes though, there might be only one person whose pace doesn’t match the rest of the people meeting up. What then? No one wants to hold the others back or kill themselves trying to keep up. This is where we get creative because we don’t leave our mamas behind! In this scenario, the faster moms will periodically double back to check on the mom running behind her – encouraging her or just making sure she’s doing OK – then run ahead again. This way, the speedy moms get in more miles and the not so speedy moms know that they aren’t left behind. Win-Win for all!!
Most moms usually find something in common to talk about during their runs. After all, we are all health minded women who have a care-taking role in our families. A conversation that starts with, “So, how do you run this town?” could lead to finding out all the races a mom has done or all the activities she takes her kids to during the course of the week or her favorite place to workout or go for a date night.
After the run, some moms just leave after stretching. Most moms, if they have kids with them would let the kids out to play and have a little playdate. Sometimes moms grab lunch or coffee. Running is a boost not just physically but also mentally and socially. I am not a sola runner (I’ll do it if I have to) – the “runners high” is always so much “higher” when I am running with other people!
So don’t be scared of a group run!! It’s OK if you’re the slowest person there or if you don’t know anyone in the group you’re meeting up with. By the time your run is done, you’d be surprised with how far and/or how fast you ran and how easy it is to make a new friend or 15!
So, when you are joining a group run???