Depression affects a lot of things, but one thing it seems to affect the most is motivation. It’s annoying because how are you supposed to get out and run for your mental health when you don’t feel like it? One possible solution is to join a running group.
In 2012, when I was just getting back into the groove of things after being sidelined with depression, I was asked by a group of friends if I wanted to train for a local race with them. I’d never been a part of a running group and I knew I needed to force myself to get out more, so I figured why not. Little did I know how key the Kick Butt Running Crew (yes, that was our name) would be to getting me out of the valley I was in.
Every Saturday morning, we met as a group to run. Even though we were all training for various distances for race weekend, we all started and ended every run together, waiting for the last person to finish up their training. I was one of the least experienced runners in the group, but no one made me feel that way. We all built each other up and encouraged one another. Every single weekend we met, we formed a tighter bond. So much so, that on the Saturday mornings I thought about skipping, I quickly pushed the thought aside. The Kick Butt Running Crew was keeping me accountable. And that’s a big deal because we were training all winter long in Michigan. A warm, comfy bed is way more appealing than snowflakes assaulting my face. Even though the whole running thing for me was hard during this time period, I kept going. They encouraged me and kept me going so much that even though I originally joined to train for the 10K distance, I ended up registering for and completing the 25K course. Crossing the finish line that day changed my world. It showed me I’m a badass and that I can do whatever I put my mind to. The biggest lesson it showed me though is that accountability partners are key for people with depression. Even to this day, when I dip into a valley and I don’t want to run, friends, family, and various running groups give me motivation.
Find a Group Near You
If you want to find a running club in your backyard, this is an excellent resource to do so. Road Runners Club of America lists groups from all over the country that offer beginning running programs, regular group runs, distance training programs and more.
This might seem like a strange place to look for running groups, but hear me out. Meetup.com is useful for more than just finding book clubs and gaming groups. There’s a whole Running section where you can find groups around the country. Right now there are over 2,400 groups listed so chances are you can find something close to you.
Another great database to search for running clubs is Running in the USA. I find that it’s more up to date than Road Runners Club of America as well.
Local Running Specialty Store
No, I’m not talking about Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sports Authority. I’m talking about a local or regional store that focuses on just running. These are the types of stores that are really going to be tied into the local running scene and they may even have running groups of their own.