Being able to call yourself a runner
Membership of a running club brings about a psychological shift that allows you to call yourself ‘a runner’, rather than simply someone who runs.
Running friendship and camaraderie
Running is a great way to have time out and get away from it all, but most people would prefer to have someone to run with from time to time. A running club offers a great way to hook up with other runners to go on a group run. A running club is also a great way to find running partners that you can meet up with outside of club sessions. This can be particularly useful for women for whom running safety becomes a factor.
Greater competitive edge in running clubs
Even the least victory-hungry among us can find ourselves being pushed by running with others. As you get to know a group of runners and their relative abilities, you know who to set your sights on beating. That competitive edge can really drive you on, leading to improvements in your running performance.
Local running knowledge
Running clubs are a great source of info. In a club, you'll be able to find out where to find the best physio or masseur in the area, where to buy quality running gear at a good price, and where to find good off-road routes and much more. Make maximum use of those in the know at your club.
Everyone can do with some coaching advice. Sadly, not all clubs will necessarily have coaches on hand, so check before joining if this is going to be important to you. Tips about technique can be invaluable. If you are planning on entering a race, a coach or trainer can advise you on a schedule or training plan for that event.
Finding the right running club
There may be several clubs in your vicinity, and sometimes it may make more sense to find one nearer to where you work, rather than where you live, depending on what time they train. It's worth making contact first and then getting along to a session before committing. This will give you an idea of the size and running level of the membership. Some clubs have a very track-based focus, while others are more cross-country or road-running friendly. Some are obsessed about racing while others would rather recruit new members who are going to participate in social events.