Dr. Trentacosta weighs in on the benefits of joining a group or incorporating a community of runners into your running routine.
For those new to running—or trying to establish a more regular routine—several factors can play a significant role in helping you stay motivated, get consistent, and enjoy the sport, according to a new study published in PLOS Global Public Health.
Researchers surveyed more than 20,000 participants in parkrun across 58 venues. They found two major features led to considerably more runners returning for another event: when routes were near freshwater or woodland. The results were so compelling that researchers suggested that organizers consider creating more routes that include these elements.
Other factors in the recent study that were not as much of a driver but still inspired some to return to parkrun included having more new runners at an event, being able to run a route faster than expected, and having smaller events.
A variable that wasn’t tracked but is part of every parkrun is a community feeling, allowing runners to be part of a group, no matter what pace they choose. That social element is a huge boon, according to Natasha Trentacosta, M.D., sports medicine specialist at Cedars Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in California.
“Not only is it helpful to run with others from a safety standpoint, since you have help in case you get injured or lost, but you’re also more likely to enjoy running and make it into a habit,” she said. “With a group, it gives you a feeling of community that’s important for better health overall.”