Group Running Anxiety


Mt. Major group run circa 2013

This is a topic I have wanted to address for awhile.  I don’t believe I stand alone with these feelings and figured I would bare it all for what it’s worth.

Despite being a social person, thoroughly enjoying the act of conversing with others and spending time with friends, I have a level of anxiety induced by group runs that is uncharacteristic of the the rest of my life.  Normally you can throw me into any situation, I will adapt, find someone to bond with and enjoy the experience on some level.  Running is no different, however the feelings group running (especially with new people) induce is uncharacteristic of how I feel in other group situations.


Pretty typical of the people I run with….

I have chewed this over for awhile and have attempted to dissect it.  What I have come up with is this…. I always feel like the weakest runner.  Running doesn’t come naturally to me and is something I have actively worked on since 2011.  Group running and hiking almost always makes me feel like I am slowing people down and taking away from THEIR experience.



2013 VT50 (relay and 50M) DONE! We ran our hearts out that day!

Am I crazy?  Probably.


Heather’s first 5K…. I’m pointing to the finish line

So I am committing to work on it.  While I have had wonderful solo runs (Isolation, Pineland 50K, Stairs Mountain to name a few), my best times have been with others!  What I am learning is even if I am the weakest runner, not everyone in the group is there to get a fast workout in.  Most of the time, they are simply looking for company to get their own hard miles done. I vow to find solace in that.  I am also vowing to do the run for ME on these group runs.  I can only go so fast, climb so strong and go so far.  I recognize my limits but also take chances sometimes and let the fast people drag me along.  How else will I get faster?  Stronger?  It’s the best way to get motivated!


Running at Harmony Hill in 2013 with Katie


Lauren’s first half – Seacoast Half 2016

The caveat to these feelings is I LOVE helping others achieve their goals.  I could not be more happy to escort someone through a hard run or a goal race.  I love sharing my love for this sport for others and when it’s not about my insecurity, I do great!

Do you feel the same anxiety when running with a faster group?  New runners?  Tell me about it!


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