Social Benefits of Running in a Group

Pros of Group Running

For years, more than 10 to be exact, I’ve run as part of a team. Starting at Cherokee HS, then Villanova University and then to George Mason, and finally as part of the now-defunct Haddonfield Running Company team, I ran with people just about every day. Those are some of my fondest running memories. Not only was I push to new levels, but I also had the shoulders of my teammates to share my successes and failures.

Villanova racing 4 miler @ Haverford College
Sam, Bobby, Marc & Kippy racing a 4 mile XC race

The conversations you can have with other runners during a run can make the miles fly by.  Running in a group is the perfect way to gain motivation, learn from more experienced runners, and get pulled along to new PRs.

3 Perks of Group Running
Carly & Marc running together in San Fransisco

Running in groups are huge reasons why running is becoming so popular again.  Below, I’ll look at 3 reasons why running in a group is and has become so wildly popular.


There’s no better way to jumpstart your training than with friends. You can have conversations about anything while you’re running. Steve Case said it best, “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions”. Not only that but the shared experience leaves you feeling connected. It’s no wonder that elite running groups fare better than elites who train by themselves.   Even if you don’t know who you’re necessarily running with, a group or pack is much better for your motivation than running solo.

Running with a pack can help you reach new PRs.
Marc running with Shalane in a pack

Learn from Experienced Runners

All of the questions you had about running could potential he be answered on a run. Questions such as “how to stretch”, “what to eat”, “what workout you should be doing”, could all be answered by an experienced runner. Bouncing ideas off of a runner who has “been around the block” can greatly improve your own performance. Online communities, such as Run856 proves that new runners looking for motivation and help can turn to more experienced runners.

Social Facilitation

There’s a lot to be said about working out in a group setting. A fast pace is more manageable when you’re working with other runners going through the same thing. Sharing the work is crucial for both physical and mental reasons.  As talked about on wikipedia, “Social facilitation, or the audience effect, is the tendency for people to perform differently when in the presence of others than when alone.”  It’s a legit phenomenon that you work harder, smarter and more efficiently when you’re in the presence of other people. 

The 3 benefits of running with a group: Motivation, Experience, & Social Facilitation
3 benefits to running in a group

I know for a fact that I perform better when someone else (even someone I don’t know) is on the track when I’m doing repeats.  This is definitely a real thing! So next time you’re looking for a little boost during a workout, find some unsuspecting person to use as extra motivation.

Summary on Group Running

Overall, running in a group is hugely beneficial if you can control yourself on the days when you run with the group.  I know from experience that too many days in a row of pushing the pace leaves me feeling really sore and run down. Pick your group-running days wisely – maybe 2-3 times a week, while the other days you focus on your own pace. 

Pros of group running
Group running builds confidence & motivation

When you run in a group, there’s a good chance you’ll have some extra motivation.  Not only to perform but to show up. And as we know, showing up is half the battle. On top of that, group running will help you learn from experienced runners.  You can ask the questions you’re afraid to ask. Or maybe you hadn’t even thought of something and during conversations, you’ve learned something new! Finally, through social facilitation, you’ll be able to handle a faster pace or a longer distance because working with a team (or in a group) is powerful stuff.

Need more motivation? Check out these articles!

Partner Workout – HIIT

Using a coach to provide the social facilitation

“Tricking” yourself to get you out the door


Running Coaches Corner
Running Coaches Corner

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9 thoughts on “Social Benefits of Running in a Group

  1. deborahbrooks14 July 11, 2018 — 7:51 AM

    All of my runs are now with my group. I have not run alone in years! The best conversations and best friends have been made


  2. I used to be a solo runner but I enjoy my long runs with a group now! Makes the time go by so much faster!


  3. Not in years? Really, wow! Impressive. You totally know the power of social facilitation then!


  4. Absolutely. Time does fly when you’re running with someone! Hope training is going well for you!


  5. I used to run regularly with a group. I loved it. The miles really do fall away when you’re chatting with a running friend. Now I mostly run alone or with my husband, which I also love, but I do sometimes miss the group run.


  6. I don’t do a lot of group runs for training, but I run with a friend for most of my long runs (and those 5:00 a.m. 5-milers). I’m working on getting a network of runners together in my town, so we can facilitate group runs more often…they definitely area fun and productive!


  7. I’ve never been one to really run with a group, but I can definitely see why it could be beneficial!


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