Running with a Training Team

Contributed by Lisa Gonzales, a 2018 Ambassador for The Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon.

Here’s something to consider…running with a training team. Sure, I can probably help you come up with some reasons why it won’t work: you don’t have the time, it’s too much effort, the schedule won’t be flexible enough for you, and a half dozen other excuses, but let’s go into this with an open mind.

Running with a team has a lot of perks.

To start with, running with a team is motivating.

Every week (or more frequently depending on schedules), you can run with new people who have great stories to tell about running, day jobs, families, blackened toenails, and more. And depending on the club, some bring in great speakers on topics to help you become a better runner.

Running with a team helps you remain accountable.

When you’re part of a group, others keep you focused….and expect you to be there. Teammates are really good about reminding you where to go, getting on you when you don’t go (because let’s face it, that does make a difference), and telling you they miss you when you don’t show up. What many of the runners on our team remind us of is that their Sunday routine is getting up and running with all of us. As it should be…

Need structure? Running with a team can provide that.

When I first started distance running in 1998, I joined a team to train for my first marathon. The structure of the training runs helped me cross that finish the first time, and provided the foundation for the 17 other marathons I’ve run (and close to 50 half marathons). I didn’t ever have to think about how far to run each week, when to increase mileage and when to step back, how to complete track workouts to improve my time, and how to taper before a race. Who knew there was so much to consider? Oh yeah….the coaches of my team did. I was grateful for that structure!

Running with a team can help you explore new areas.

Most teams run on different trails, sometimes in areas where you might not feel comfortable running alone. I know that when I started running with my current team, we headed out to Rancho San Antonio Park and I almost got lost on the way. Never would I have imagined such beautiful switchbacks and shaded climbs were available in the Bay Area so close to very urban areas. Many other trails have become highlights of my destination megalist over the years, and the list continues to grow.

I’ve been running with the RUN365 Club for the past seven years. I treasure the time getting to know other runners. I’m grateful for the rich conversations about life, politics, running, school, kids, grandkids, dogs, snakes, and more. Over the years, we’ve found that we celebrate birthdays, new jobs, engagements, marriages, births, and more. Our team is more than just a group of runners, its become an extended family.

Whether it’s the after-run social time, road trips to races, end of season barbecues, and endless carpools to races, running with a team can be just what you need to really take running to heart.

Something to consider…

Dr. Lisa Gonzales is a five-time pacer for The Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon and a seven-time pacer for The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. She is head coach for RUN365 with the South Bay team and is USATF certified. Her day job is Assistant Superintendent in the Dublin Unified School District.

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