So what do runners talk about when they get together? I imagine it sounds a little like pig Latin or Martian to outsiders and non-runners. Once we're done showing off for each other, runners do tend to talk about some meaningful stuff that we'd like to personally accomplish, and then we turn to our “share the joy” side about how to get others interested in exercising their minds and bodies.
At a recent general club meeting for the local Middletown Athletic Club, we had an opportunity to talk about "all things running." Seems that's what a running club does when it meets… talks about all things running. OK, so we're kinda one dimensional.
So what do runners talk about when they get together? I imagine it sounds a little like pig Latin or Martian to outsiders and non-runners. Words like tempo repeats, intervals, relay splits, and, my personal favorite, fartlek, all seem to find their way into the chatter. My bride, who has been running for as long as I have, usually gives me a blank "huh?" when I mention lactate threshold and VO2-max.
Sharing the joy
Once we're done showing off for each other, runners do tend to talk about some meaningful stuff that we'd like to personally accomplish, and then we turn to our "share the joy" side about how to get others interested in exercising their minds and bodies. Yes, we really do want you to like us and like what we do for fun.
If you've ever been intimidated by the thought of running with a group or running in a race, you really needn't be. The vast majorities of runners are not Olympic quality, are not 100-mile-a-week beasts and are not intimidating at all. In fact, most of us are recreational at best. OK, a few of us have issues with competitive things, but we mostly keep that in check… mostly. But don't get on the treadmill next to me.
Intro to Running 101
The pursuit of running and even racing offers a number of "entry-level opportunities" to train and run at that recreational base. There are at least five Road Runner Clubs of America chapters in Delaware alone, and each offers some sort of 'introductory' program or mentoring group. The typical term is "Couch to 5k." The Glasgow YMCA, for example, has a Couch to 5k program. The group "Black Girls Run" meets every Saturday morning at Silver Lake in Middletown for the same purpose.
Stepping farther out
Want to run a marathon? The National Leukemia Society offers "Team in Training." Other philanthropic groups offer similar marathon training groups and fund-raising opportunities, geared at getting you to the finish line. Contact the Delaware Running Company or New Castle County New Balance stores. Each offers introductory group runs on a regular basis.
No racing required
Don't want to race? That's OK too… almost any running group, club or individual would love to help get you out the door for some personal health time. I silently cheer louder for people I see out running for the joy and health pursuits than I do for the superstars. Mix joy, health and racing and I get downright giddy.
If you're interested in running but don't know where to get started, just remember that every experienced runner was once a beginner runner. We just have a slight head start on you… for now, anyway. Try www.rrca.org as a starting point. Or just ask a running friend.
So don't worry about your resting heart rate, your knee extension angle or your footfalls per minute. Chance are, we don't know ours either. And if we do, we're just showing off or making it up. But we'd love to have you join us for a few miles on the roads, tracks and trails.
Former Lock Haven University stand-out runner Andy Shearer is the Middletown Athletic Club secretary/treasurer. Shearer has been running since 1978. His column "runs" the first week of each month.