The alarm goes off at 5am. I peer out of the window to see a bleak, cold morning. My eyes dart to the running shoes and activewear I eagerly piled at the door the night before so it would be harder for me to talk myself out of it.

But the bed feels so comfortable and my pillows are so soft and running 7kms on my own in the dark is so lonely. Oh and I think it just started raining…

There must be a better way – DiUS Run Club (DRC)

Fast forward three months, it’s a Wednesday afternoon and I’m chatting eagerly with my DiUS running group members through the #melbourneruns slack channel.

That’s right. You don’t have to run on your own at the crack of dawn when it is 8 degrees outside. You can run WITH people at work and then eat dinner after. HOORAY.

Running 7ishkms with a burger chaser (pun intended)

Photo: Julia and Matt eating burgers and milkshakes.

DRC Melbourne meets once a week with burger night about once every three or so weeks. We usually include a loop of the tan and some distance around the Yarra. With different levels of fitness, we tend to run at an easy pace with the emphasis on inclusion and fun rather than speed and endurance.

Each week the group changes but the aim always stays the same. Get a little fresh air and get to know the people in your team in a different setting. Working at a consulting company can sometimes mean you don’t see some of your team members for weeks at a time. Running club is just another way to be social with the added benefits of exercise endorphins.

Photo: Anton, Matt, Marc, Andy, Julia and I post run

Like the idea of getting your team together to run regularly? Here are my tips on getting a running group off the ground.

3 tips to getting your own running group started

1.     Target individuals first

We started running group with a few key people who I knew for sure loved running already. We scheduled the first couple of runs based on their availability to get the momentum going.

2.     Be inclusive and kind

Running in a group can be very intimidating, let alone people you work with. This can be compounded again if you don’t run regularly on your own. As the group leader you need to listen to the concerns of everyone and base the sessions (at least initially) on the fitness and pace of the least experienced runner. Cheering on the group is a must and don’t leave anyone behind.

3.     Be consistent and persistent

As the leader/organiser of running group, you cannot bail. You have to stick with the time you will be running and be prepared to go on your own if no one turns up. You need to be the one that people can count on to be there, the glue that keeps the group together.

Photo: Julia and I, Ricky and Erinn post Run Melbourne

Oh and the best part about having a running group? You can get the team together to run events too! The DiUS running club did Run Melbourne and City2Surf (our Sydney counterparts) in 2016 and have their sights on Melbourne Marathon Festival next year.

Photo: Early morning Run Melbourne selfie

Happy running and burger eating everyone!