Friday, January 11, 2013

Group Running

I can't help but to put something on "paper".  I know that I'm not the fastest, most well liked or at all of the events anymore, but something needs to be said about the Thursday Nights in the City Run - and group runs in general.

(To me) the reasons we go to these group runs are to make each other better, catch up with each other and be motivated to get our butts off the couch.  From what I've seen on these Thursday night runs I can't help but shake my head - and last night it came to a breaking point.  It's getting to the point where it is no longer fun, we are not making each other better and most importantly someone is going to get hurt!

On a run like the Thursday Night in the City, we have set parameters: 7 minute pace, a course, GROUP run.  From this I take away: A) Run 7 minute pace (not a Fed Hill Runners 7 min pace), B) Don't lead the run if you don't know the course C) Talk.

On Thursday Nights we are going to run 7 minute pace.  I know I'm not in outstanding shape right now, but I can dial into 7 minutes pretty easily.  There is no reason to go breaking away from the GROUP.  We are out there together.  You won't receive a gold star for running 6:30 pace.

If you don't know the course don't lead it.  It's not safe and is very frustrating.  You aren't going to win a medal or score points with (most) dudes or ladies for being out front on a group run.  Swallow your pride and tuck in.  I personally am not a huge fan of leading runs all the time, but it came a point yesterday where there was no option.  On the subject of leading the run...if you are in front and crossing an intersection factor in the number of people that you have in the pack and determine if the ENTIRE pack can SAFELY cross the road.  When in doubt don't cross the road.  Also, when possible run on the sidewalk.  When going up Ellwood take up as little of the road as possible. 

I understand that sometimes the weather conditions make it difficult to be talking...and someone may be having a crappy day...and you may not like everyone.  But my goodness, to go miles with a group of 10+ people at a comfortable pace and people saying nothing: I'd rather just run by myself!!  And on the subject of talking...COMMUNICATE: if you are departing from the group (when "leading") give folks a heads up so that you don't have half the group follow you creating a cluster f&c+ at a busy intersection.  Also, give the group a heads up when a car is turning, a dog is coming, a runner is passing, etc.  Common running group sense - which has not been there!

I don't write this discourage folks from showing up, but I need to put it out there with the hopes of making it more fun for all and most importantly SAFE.

HERE is a link to the map that we do each Thursday.  We start at the World Trade Center and head towards Canton using the bricks.  Look at it. Study it. Print it.


RM said...

Yeah, I'm glad I didn't have to write this for once but the etiquette has been lacking, well, for quite some time.

If you've never organized a weekly group run, I encourage you to do it. And then go, 52 weeks per year, for 7 years. It's very easy to just "show up" but it's a lot more stressful to go out of your way to try and organize what is supposed to be a fun, winter run that helps get you out the door.

When I watch some of the haphazard street crossings I cringe. The clueless looks when we get to a street that we ALWAYS turn on - this is the reason we do the SAME routes. It also allows for people to hook up on different parts of the run without having to guess where we're going to be.

But probably the most annoying is the pace thing. If you want, or need, to run faster than what the leader of that run is doing, then say so at the beginning, or simply make your own run.

And again, like Brennan said, running in a group should be social. It gives you a chance to talk to someone you might otherwise not see, talk about random stuff, whatever. One person can't (and shouldn't have to) create all the conversation. It's awkward.

These aren't rules, more like guidelines to harmonious running. Everyone stands to gain from running with others, but it has to be fun (and safe) or people will stop going.

Dart said...

Thank you for posting, Brennan.

Thank you for replying, Ryan.

Make certain: Those who don't read this on the blog, I'm certainly going to scream this down your throat on the next GROUP run. Because it won't take up any space in my head about how your feelings are absorbed. F that, someone is going to get hurt or hit if we don't say it.

& if you need to test your macho pace, why don't we just go do some sprints on the track at TNT... I'll test your ego against a 33 year old slow guy. Deuchbags.

What we can never do alone we CAN do TOGETHER. Group run = Group run.

Meg said...

Thanks for posting this, guys. I enjoy the Thursday night runs, and generally don't mind when the pace is a little faster, because it's a good tempo workout for me. But I agree- lately it's been less fun because of the issues mentioned above. Specifically, last night the three females accidentally turned left instead of going straight, in a rather sketchy part of upper Fells, following someone who was apparently leaving the group and going home (but hadn't bothered to say so to anyone, or say anything at all during the entire run, for that matter.) We then got stuck at a light and had to sprint to catch up to everyone. Given the recent happenings in the Fells/Canton area, I definitely feel safer running in a large group that includes guys, especially in places like that after dark.
Obviously, it's our responsibility to know the course and not just mindlessly follow people, and I'm not blaming anyone specifically, but I think that it would be helpful to have better communication during the run so that everyone can stay together.

Melissa said...

Last night's run was good in that, as Meg said, it was nice to get in a harder than usual effort (especially after factoring in the extended sprint to catch up to the group after following someone who peeled off). I don't want to speak for the other girls, but I know that I go into these runs expecting to run faster than I usually do. It's something I plan for in my weekly schedule, so I don't mind if the pace fluctuates a little. But last night was definitely a cluster... Hopefully things will go more smoothly now that people are more familiar with the route. And hopefully with that covered we can talk more and get to know each other better. At the very least it would be nice if the person you're talking to didn't run away mid-sentence (this didn't actually happen, just using hyperbole).

pepperjackb said...

Ok. I'm one of the worst offenders with the running in the road part. It's a bad habit from growing up in places where there are no sidewalks. I will try to do better.

RM said...

In some cases, running in the city you are going to run in the road. It's fanning across the street that is the problem.

Years ago we all somehow used to be able to run with guys like Kip and Brian, even though they were considerably faster than anyone else. This was accomplished with a few simple keys of respect:

1. If you're feeling good, or are doing a particular workout, let the group know. There have been days (years ago) where I was just on, and I would make it known at FHR that I felt good, and I would just do my thing.

2. If you don't know the course, don't run in the front, because guess what - now everyone assumes you are the leader, and is going to follow whatever you're doing.

3. Look behind you once in a while. As it happens occasionally the pace picks up or someone has to tie a show and poof, a mile later we look back. Be more alert to who you're running with - especially when you're running in the dark through the city. It's a safety thing more than anything.

4. Regroup! The old Wednesday Night Run would pick it up in the back half, but we'd always regroup for those who didn't want to pick it up. Have a pre-determined point (note: if you've ever been on a group ride this is how it's done and it works quite well). Or, if you're feeling great that day, run ahead, and turn back every so often and swing back around.

Dustin said...

Since we are addressing etiquette and expressing grievances, I would like to mention a similar problem that has occurred periodically at Tuesday Night Track. Each week, a group of varying sizes sets out to complete tempo or threshold workouts. These are rhythm workouts, requiring concentration, control, and fluidity. We complete them in an effort to establish a sense of pace and improve our ability to run comfortably hard and to promote specific physiological advancements.

Occasionally, sojourners will join our number, only to use our group for their own benefits and violate the symbiotic nature of these group tempos. These individuals push the pace, draft off of runners while breathing down their necks, and treat these 85%-92%-effort workouts as races or time trials, complicating the efforts of those seeking to run relaxed. Several times, I have had individuals draft off of me and pant heavily for mile after mile, making it difficult to accomplish the goal of a workout requiring smoothness and concentration. This is compounded when these individuals don't share the lead, as the regulars do; they merely use and leech. For those who have transgressed, this is your warning. We will humble you in races and condescend you after. Expect us.

Nicholas Klastava said...

While I was not a part of the Thursday run, I do agree with everything you said Brennan. I mean to me the point of "Group" running is the social aspect To me running has always been about teammates and friends, it's what motivates me to get out the door, it's why the running community is so amazing. It's the reason I come down to Baltimore to run with people who love the sport as much as I do and to meet some new people.

If you are coming to "Group" runs without the intention of doing anything with the group, then why not just run on your own? The point of group running is it helps everyone accomplish something. I know to me 7 miles goes by much faster when I chat with a group of people, other then listen to my breathing for an hour.

When you run with a group there is some level of commitment between you and everyone out there to assure that everyone gets something out of the run, or to help others better themselves, or heck to just help other people be safe or not get lost.

I will try harder in the future to take safety first when running and take a look at my surroundings while running and just provide more to group runs in anyway possible.

Andy said...

oooh yeah I like girls, especially International Girls! They're most sexiest girls.

Cory said...

Oh wow, sorry I missed all the excitement last week!