We’ve all been there – the moment you wake up after hitting snooze a few too many times – only to realise you’ve slept through yet another morning workout. The guilt starts to set in, and you’re a little bummed. While you desperately want to get into a regular routine, the idea of going at it solo is less than enticing.

That’s where running clubs come in. If you haven’t heard of a run club before, you may have seen them out and about. They’re those glowing, Lycra-clad pavement-pounders who are always up before dawn, and sipping their victory coffees by 7am.

Run clubs typically range in size and fitness levels, so you can find the perfect one for you. There are even online groups if you can’t find the right fit IRL. Still not sure if a running club is your jam? Here’s a few reasons you should consider joining a crew.

1. It’ll perfect your form

Just starting out in running? An expert runner usually supervises run club sessions. They can analyse your stride, check your form, and give you helpful feedback (especially beneficial if you’re training for a race or trying to lose those last few kilos). If your local running group doesn’t have a profesh coach, there will most likely be someone in your group who has enough experience to offer their (very) valuable two cents.

2. It’ll shake up your routine

Sure, your regular running path is comfortable. There’s no shame in knowing it takes precisely 51 seconds to get from your house to *that* hill. But, mixing it up is important to keep you interested and your body challenged, and a running club will take you outside your comfort zone and onto a new path. Literally. Not only will you get a chance to take in some fresh scenery, your muscles will love the challenge of unfamiliar terrain.

3 You’ll make new friends

Nothing builds friendships quicker than a shared hatred of suicide sprints. Exposing yourself to groups outside your usual circle creates valuable relationships within a community of like-minded and motivated individuals. So instead of zoning out with headphones and counting down the minutes, you’ll be discussing last night’s Bachie, and wondering how the time flew by so quickly.

4 It’ll give your motivation a makeover

Fact: an exercise buddy can dramatically increase your chances of getting up and showing up. And when your buddy is a whole group of people? Even better. Plus, your club will provide just enough healthy competition to push you to your next PB.

5. It takes the pressure off

How many times have you skipped a running sesh because you were out of training ideas? Time is a precious thing, and most people don’t have heaps to spend on planning. Join a run club and you won’t have to plan your workout every time. Most trainers will direct your sessions, or the group will pre-determine the running route and pace. This way you can break a sweat without sweatin’ it.

6. You’ll score extra happy feels

Running can make you happy, and running in groups can make you even happier. Exercise such as running can help lower symptoms of depression, boost self-esteem, alleviate anxiety, and increase mental sharpness. Add these benefits to the feelings of social acceptance and camaraderie you’ll feel when exercising with a group and you’re onto a winner.

7. You can find your tribe online

Good news: you don’t have to find a running club IRL – if you’re ready to make friends and step up your fitness game, start by joining an online running group like Running Divas. You’ll have access to women-specific training plans, recipes, expert advice and, of course, a community of supportive, like-minded runners.