Why Join a Running Club?
Running clubs are great. And contrary to popular belief, they don't have to be elitist. Yes, many running clubs are for runners of a decent ability, however, others focus more on the social side of running. Depending on your ability, there are many different ideas for what you can do:
Beginners Running Clubs
Finding a running club for beginners is simple. And, it's one of the best ways to get better. Having a group of people of mixed abilities is great encouragement, and makes you enjoy running more. There are hundreds of social running groups across the country that offer exactly that. A simple running club search on Run England's running club search tool will bring up the closest running club to you that matches your ability. And the best thing about it, is a lot of them are free, or have very cheap joining fee, so you can go along and try it out
Intermediate Running Club
Finding a running club for someone who is at a fairly decent level is very easy. You can use the same tool as before, and simply select the appropriate level.
Advanced running club
When you get to a competitive level, joining a free running club may not be the best way to improve. It would be wise to find a local running club with trained coaches. You may want to do a quick google search for the big running clubs in your area (places such as harriers) and find one that suits you. Look for coaches who have LiRF (leadership in running fitness) qualifications, or more specific technique classes. The Running School offers this, and f there is on near you, it is an excellent place to improve technique. The other thing to consider would be some strength and conditioning coaching. Running is about more than just getting fit. Your body needs to be conditioned in order to perform at its optimum level, and by using different exercises, you'll improve your running.
Parkrun is slightly more than a running club. They offer free, timed 5km events very week and cover most of the UK. You can use it how you like. Either as a regular training session, that is timed, or a running club with a few friends. You can also use it every couple of months to check your progress. So if you join a running club, find a few people to go along with from the club and make it either a regular thing, or a group effort.