Contributor: Brittany Hopkins
Some things are better with friends. And training for races is one of those things. I love suiting up on race days, but I'll admit, I struggle to keep to a training schedule on my own. However, if I promise a friend I'll see them after work for a jog, you better believe I'll be there.
In a similar boat? Then perhaps it's time we join running groups. There are so many in the Bay Area, we're bound to find groups that fit our schedules, skill-levels and personalities. To get our searches for the perfect fit started, here are a few of the area's most popular packs:
Sports Basement Fun Runs
If you're looking for a noncommittal way to test out the running club idea, Sports Basement's evening jogs may be the perfect place to start. The Bryant Street and Presidio locations hold free 3-to-6-mile group runs at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday. All experience levels are welcome.
See Jane Run Club
Looking for a ladies-only experience? Then check out the See Jane Run Club. They meet at 6 p.m. every Tuesday at the Noe Valley shop for a free 5K jog around the always-pleasant neighborhood. They seem nice, right?
San Francisco Road Runners Club
Now we're getting serious. This group includes more than 500 dedicated Bay Area runners and organizes four runs a week: 3-18 mile Saturday morning runs (with multiple pacers!) in different locations every week, Tuesday evening track runs with a coach at Kezar Stadium, and Thursday morning and evening tempo runs on the Marina Green. Come fall, they add in Saturday and Sunday trail runs. With such the variety of courses and locations, and the support of pacers and coaches, you should be ready for your next race in no time — without much planning. There perks do come with a fee though: 12-month memberships are $150 for new members and $120 for returners. But potential members are welcome to join a Saturday morning run for free to test the waters.
This is Marin's premiere trail running group. I hear the best of the best head out on these organized runs, and even if you can't keep up with the pack, it's neat to see them in action. But don't worry, all are welcome. "If you are the type of person that revels in dirt, trees, rock, water, air and sweat, I welcome you," says the founder Robert Rhodes. Their website is a little confusing, so follow their Facebook page to keep up on future runs. And, if you're a fan of films like Wild, check out the group's Trails in Motion Film Festival.
Has joining one of these or other local running groups whipped your training regimen into shape? We'd love to hear your reviews in the comments.