We take a look at a few of our favourite ways to build team spirit while also having a jolly good time.
News Flash - Other Sports Are Available
Ever wanted to try kayaking, bungee-jumping, snowboarding, dry-slope skiing or paragliding but can’t find anyone to go with? Take advantage of the fact that you’ve got a group of sporty and like-minded individuals on tap in your club and share the experience with them. Raising money for a charity with links to your club or club members could add a whole new dimension to the day if you choose an organised challenge, like a sky dive. Training for a marathon might not seem so scary after that!
Mix Up Your Week
Regular club-based cross-training sessions are a great way to encourage a bit of club bonding as well as get a break from pounding the pavement. They might not strictly qualify as ‘fun’, but weekly yoga or pilates workshops, spinning sessions or pool time are all good year-round options to build fitness, broaden athletic horizons – and generally remind your members how much they love running.
If your club decides to go down this route, spend a bit of time speaking to potential coaches/instructors to see how they can adapt their sessions to benefit runners. Incorporate the classes into your club’s timetable – even if it’s just a couple of six-week blocks a year – to strike a balance between keeping it fresh and encouraging participation and progress.
Get Away From It All But Don’t Forget Your Trainers
Everyone likes a change of scene – but you don’t need to go far, or fancy, to have a good time with your club. A self-catering lodge in a rural location where everyone chips in to cook, plan routes and help out is ideal. If you’re catering for mixed abilities, plan the run times and distances to make sure everyone can be back for the evening meal – and a few well-earned drinks. If you’re catering for ladies only, a day or two at a nearby spa after a long race or women-only event would fit the bill nicely too.
Major Marathon Madness
For many runners, doing a marathon, or even a half marathon, might be a once in a lifetime experience – so make the most of it together. Having a common club goal builds links between members of similar ability who can train together, and even further connections when the ‘war stories’ get shared afterwards.
Choose a location that suits your members’ budgets, interests and skills and make a few days of it. Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam are classic European race destinations, with plenty for everyone to do, see and eat when the race is done. If your members can be persuaded to go further afield, head Stateside for a big city race and cross the line with tens of thousands of your new best friends; if you fancy totally unfamiliar scenery, the Marrakesh and Reykjavik Marathons are good options too.
A Team Effort
One of the main benefits of running for a club is feeling part of something bigger – which is a bit of a paradox as most people race and train alone. Build up that ‘team spirit’ by entering a few team-only events like relays and local championships. Non-competitive events are ideal to pull everyone together without the pressure of bringing the silverware home for your club. Obstacle and ‘colour’ runs often have team prize categories – but even if they don’t, keep the team spirit going by turning up in similarly outrageous fancy dress and helping other members through the course.
Pay It Forward
Volunteering your club to provide marshals for a big event or a parkrun is a great way to give something back to the running community. It’s not ‘fun’ in the same way as heading out for a meal together, but helping out and cheering on other runners makes everyone feel good and part of the bigger picture.
Another option for getting involved with your community is to prepare beginners for a local target race. The more experienced club members can share run-leading or interval planning duties – but everyone will share in the satisfaction when your trainees cross the line.
Image: Dumfries Harriers in Cannes