Running clubs are an awesome and fun way to stay motivated. Meeting people and friends in person to participate in runs, competitions, and races can be both rewarding and challenging. But have you considered joining a virtual running club?
You might have heard of running clubs, but may be asking yourself “What is a virtual or online running club?” That’s a valid question and there are some notable differences. I will tell you about the benefits of joining an online virtual running club and discuss 9 of them that you can join today.
What is a Running Club?
A running club is exactly what it sounds like: a club for people who enjoy running. There are more running clubs all over the country than you might think. Running club members help motivate each other to keep at it and train regularly. They believe that there is strength in numbers and that often it takes motivation from a group of club members to help another member stick with active running and training.
I’ve personally had experience with running clubs in the past. When I was in my early 20s, a group of 2-4 friends would regularly come with me to our gym. It had an indoor running track upstairs. After we’d lift weights for a while, we’d often run anywhere from 2 to 5 miles together. Our most experienced member ran high school track and cross-country. He motivated us to stay with it and try to build our endurance by keeping at it together. I’ll admit this was very helpful. I doubt I would have done this on my own if it weren’t for our small running club.
Running clubs come in all makes and models, with members of all shapes and sizes. There are running clubs for all types of interests and participant levels. They range from short, fun run races to half marathons to marathons and even 50ks and ultra marathons. I’ve heard of fun runs that end with racers drinking Irish Car-Bombs or having a spaghetti dinner after. The Irish and Italian sides of me love both ideas.
What is the difference between a running club and a virtual running club?
A running club will meet in-person to run together. A virtual running club doesn’t, at least not often. They may have a member host a specific run via a Zoom meeting or another live-streaming method. Perhaps this member is showing other members this run for motivational purposes. Or they’re both running different runs at the same time and communicating during their runs.
A virtual run club may also just be a small to large group community online. Facebook, Instagram, and many other social media platforms connect virtual running club members to each other. They may share their results, maps of the routes they’ve run along with their distances and times, or links to related running articles. These virtual running clubs keep members motivated and feeling connected to their running club members.
9 Virtual Running Clubs You Can Join Today
A virtual race is a fun benefit of many virtual run clubs. You can challenge yourself and have fun running anywhere.
While there are likely thousands of more virtual running clubs nationwide, we’ve done our best to get you inside our top ten. Whichever one you decide on, or maybe you’ll add some of your own to the mix, the important thing is to have fun and stick with it!
Digme is a virtual run club. Digme Studios have recently launched live audio-coached runs. You can join their team every Saturday morning at 9 am for a friendly 45-minute run. This is geared toward all abilities and is suitable for the treadmill or outdoor running.
All you need to participate is wireless earphones or earbuds, a 4g connection, and your phone. Digme’s head HIIT and running coach, Ben Davie will guide you through a live session.
There are a lot of awesome running tunes, plus lots of chat about your rate of perceived exertion, or RPE. This running club is marketed as a podcast with a playlist that will make your runs fly by and go much smoother. The cost? FREE.
2. Track East
Track East is a free virtual running club that is hosted both on Facebook and Instagram. Track East running coaches provide a lot of content related to warm-up exercises, cool-down strategies, as well as mobility sessions. There are virtual races available to stream and you are able to join on their social media pages.
Track East is geared toward runners who have most of their running game figured out but are looking to up their pre-workout and post-workout game through interacting with a thriving online virtual running community. The times available are any time you like, all content is recorded live and later available on their Instagram and Facebook platforms.
3. One Track
One Track guides you step-by-step with daily audio runs, plus live video workouts for runners. You work at your preferred level, sessions are geared toward your effort, not speed. You can dial into a live audio session and join other runners from all over. You’ll be guided through your session with your own virtual personal trainer. Running coach Anthony Fletcher will talk you through interesting scientific facts to help you understand your session further.
One Track is ideal for runners looking for accountability. Training sessions start and finish at specific times, so you’re encouraged to show up on time. Interval runs take place every Monday and Thursday, easier runs happen every Tuesday and Saturday, fartleks every Wednesday, threshold sessions every Friday, and long-distance runs every Sunday. Runners can book into sessions on a class-by-class basis for free or a voluntary contribution. There are also monthly memberships available, too.
4. Virtual Running Club
Virtual Running Club offers numerous virtual races as well as virtual running challenges that keep you motivated about your running over time. With over 80,000 members and growing, it has a large community of support. You can make many friendships to help keep you running and motivated in your training and wanting to race.
The online community connects through its private group on Facebook. There are specially designed virtual awards and medals for races, and themes for many of them. Race times, distances, and rewards are reported by members through the honor system. The cost varies per race entered, but it is free to join the online community.
5. Rock ‘N Roll Virtual Running Club
Rock ‘N Roll Virtual Running Club has something for everyone, including awesome running tunes and playlists designed to keep you moving during your runs. They offer an online support community that is free to join. You can purchase a three-pack of races you can enter for $199.00, or participate in unlimited races across the country for $899.00.
They even offer VIP services such as lodging and transportation when you travel to races. This virtual running club ROCKS.
MedalMad is another free internet running club that offers virtual events, races, and training sessions for its members. You can unlock numerous virtual medals to commemorate your running and fitness achievements.
MedalMad offers a free app you can download that allows you to upload images of tracking apps, race results, images of dashboards from cardio equipment, or images of a running or fitness watch. You can watch your progress and medal count add up by joining MedalMad.
7. Run The Edge
Run The Edge is another online running club that differs from the rest. They offer numerous running and fitness challenges, virtual races, and offer plenty of merchandise and awards tailored to each event.
There is a cost for each aspect of the various races, training, and challenges offered, ranging between $30 to $70. The community support is huge, with over 180,000 members using Run The Edge.
8. Nike Run Club
Nike Run Club is another virtual running club that is tied to a free app. Download the app, track your runs, connect to coaches and other users of the NRC community and app users.
There is quite a bit of mention of Nike’s numerous running shoe and apparel inventory, so fans of Nike products will particularly enjoy this online running club.
Runkeeper is an app and online running club started by ASICS, a leading shoe company and running apparel manufacturer. I’ve used ASICS top-of-the-line running shoes for almost a decade now, so it was a pleasant surprise to find they have a virtual club and mobile app to help keep runners connected and motivated.
They have a full array of virtual runs and training offered and connect runners from all over to each other. You can have tailored workouts and training, and like many of the virtual running apps, this one is free to use.
Final Thoughts on Virtual Running Clubs You Can Join Today
Now that you understand what a virtual running club is and see some options that are out there, you may want to consider joining one today! Virtual running clubs offer more flexibility towards a runner’s busy running and training schedule.
They usually feature a large online community, often free apps and memberships and many, many racing options with merchandise availability and real or virtual medals you can earn. Take your running to the next level, improve your run times and look into virtual running clubs today!