August 2, 2016
I think we can all agree that running is kind of a pretty diverse sport, you only have to sit and watch the London Marathon on a cold drizzly day from the comfort of your couch to realise that….and even then you are only looking at different types of marathon runners…and sorry to break it to you folks but there are millions of runners that will NEVER run a marathon, and maybe not even a half marathon…AND THATS OK!!!!
Now I am not that hot on the history of athletics or how traditional running clubs came about…I know it kind of started getting popular in the 80’s or is that just me making shit up…based on faded images of blokes in sweatbands and the film Chariots of Fire? I know even less about when women started running for fitness or for fun…
But what I do know is that running is a changing…and its changing fast.
We have running crews now (like seriously this is a thing) and flash mob style meet ups…24 hour races, races where you eat and drink different weird things, themed runs, races where you get a mug or a pint of beer rather than a medal, races where you get crap thrown at you…if enough people will pay for it, someone will come up with the idea and make it happen.
But what I want to talk about today is the concept of Online Running Clubs
With our busy lifestyles and the amount of stuff competing for our time in a working week, its no wonder that the idea of crowding into a smelly changing room on a Tuesday evening at 7pm 52 weeks a year for an hour long dash and then home to a late dinner, is not achievable or all that desirable to some…and for women with families (and dare I say it single parents) its even more difficult to fit into that concept.
So here are my top 6 reasons why online running clubs are becoming more popular and may be the answer you are looking for…and also how The Clubhouse (which is my online running club) helps plus size women in particular to thrive (and survive) in the sport.
1…..Convenience – I mentioned it before, but with an online running club there are no set times, no having to rush through traffic to get to a session. Many of The Clubhouse women just can’t get to evening groups, so they follow the training sessions I set them via email each week at any point during the week whenever they can…feeding back how they got on.
2….A Sense of Belonging – Running can be a lonely sport, and somehow belonging to a club, a crew, a tribe makes you feel part of something bigger than just yourself. Clubhouse ladies report that wearing a Too Fat to Run branded T-shirt both in training and at races makes them feel proud, knowing they are spreading the word about our movement and representing our gang.
3….Confidence Building – You don’t have to run with others, or look like a wally when you don’t know what Fartlek is (it’s a type of speed training) from behind a keyboard or phone. Plus because you are not actually running with anyone you won’t ever come last, or have to worry about your form being scrutinised. Fear of joining a REAL running club is high for new runners, and those who might not look like a club runner…so the clubhouse helps build confidence and always encourages women to join local groups when they are ready
4….Connectivity – Meet new people, form friendships, have people to do races with…but also a tribe of fellow runners to ask advice from even if it only is online. We have had heaps of meet ups happen now in The Clubhouse, for races but also just for training sessions, one lady from Derby managed to meet up with another lady from Washington DC recently for a run while working there for a while…how cool is that. But the online friendships are invaluable too.
5….Accountability – Knowing you are part of a club ensures you don’t slack with your training, if you post you are going, chances are you will…and if you are missing for too long, people notice and check in on you. In The Clubhouse we do cockadoodle doo (early morning) and reboot (haven’t run in a while) runs, and members post what they are going to attempt at the start of each week…this is proven to help women run more frequently.
6….Seek Advice – With qualified coaches and experts you can seek advice on all kinds of issues you are having, or just ask how other people approach various aspects of their training. As well as having me on hand in our closed Facebook Group we also have a guest expert each month plus a number of other running coaches, leaders and therapists in the group now….and if we don’t know the answer to something we will always find someone qualified who does
Now I know I am not the only online running club around, and some even have UK Athletics Accreditation…Road Runners Club, Purple Patch Running and Fetch everyone are just a few…and then there are the online running communities which feel like a club…Run for Fun and Run Mummy Run…
- It’s exclusively for women
- Suitable for women of all shapes and sizes
- Suitable for all levels of fitness
- We have walkers, joggers, jeffers and runners
- We focus on health and happiness, not just running
- We deal with the mindset and technical side of running…and encourage all kinds of supporting activities
- We encourage our members to give back by leading on various projects or challenges
- Our members can become community ambassadors leading our #OneBigFatRun events each month
- We offer a discount on kit, coaching and retreats to our members
- Our Closed Facebook Page is a SAFE SPACE where you can post almost anything if you need support
The Clubhouse Online Running Club has been going for 18 months or so now and has had more than 200 women take part…we would love to build this to 1,000 members by the end of the year…we have 30,000 followers on social media…but unfortunately we can’t provide the love and support via those channels like we can via the Clubhouse…plus there is only one of me…and I have to make a living from all of this somehow.
We had some comments earlier this year that The Clubhouse was too expensive for some women and we listened and slashed the price by 50% to just £59 for the year…which is just a little more than £1 a week and we also introduced a donate a membership scheme to help women on low incomes.
The Clubhouse ladies describe our running club as a lifeline, and its members like a family
So do you fancy joining the Clubhouse family and making a commitment to becoming a stronger more confident athlete this year?
For more information and joining instructions click here, you can donate a membership via our shop and you can request to be put on our waiting list for a free membership by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (conditions apply)