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On the Run with Sam: There Can Always be a Team

On the Run with Sam: There Can Always be a Team

Last month I wrote about the importance of making a team feel like a family. I’d like to continue that conversation into this month with more focus on finding a team after organized sports.

I was lucky enough to find a job at Fleet Feet Albany & Malta during my transition from high school to college. I had started running with Fleet Feet at the weekly club runs just weeks before I decided to leave my restaurant job and apply at the store. 

Since my first days at Fleet Feet I have joined many club and training program runs, all where I have felt comfortable to be myself and run at what pace works for me. I enjoy running with a group because not only does it motivate me to really get out on the road, but it changes up the variety of my workouts. If it was just me making the decision, I would gladly trot along and do my three to six miles a few times a week with no variety in pace or terrain. Since being able to join Fleet Feet’s club and training runs, I get the opportunity to run on different paths and at different paces. 

I think club sports are often overlooked by college students and adults because of stigmas, time restraints, or some other excuse. 

I am also a student at UAlbany and while I don’t  have the talent to run at a Division 1 school, there are opportunities to run with the school's running club, UARE. Here I have been able to inconsistently join the group for runs and share a lot of laughs with fellow classmates. The runs are organized by executive club members and modified to work with any ability level the club might see pass through it. 

All of this is to say that even though I have outgrown the formal and daily team-style practices, I am still able to find ways to be with a team.

We all know that for anything in life the hardest part is to start. A new job, a new sport, etc., but once you build up the courage to do it, it’s not one you usually regret. You likely aren’t going to regret trying to do something that betters your wellbeing. Running, while not exactly cheap, is one of the easier sports to get into, physically and financially. There isn’t a large price tag on equipment and you can do it just about anywhere. All you need to get started is a good pair of sneakers and a can-do attitude. From there you can decide if you want to invest in accessories like a watch, premium-fabric clothing, or other tools. At the end of the day though (within reason), as long as you’re doing the things that keep you healthy like stretching and eating right, you are doing more than enough to be consistent in your running or any sport you choose to develop as an athlete in.

Outside of college sports, be it a competitive or club team, there are club teams to take part in. Right in the Capital Region the market for running clubs is a bit oversaturated, but they all serve different audiences. You just have to find the one that is right for you. 

Though maybe you aren’t looking for a club or team to run with consistently or at all. You just want to find a way to enjoy the solitariness that comes with running alone. That’s my favorite way to enjoy running. No music. No partner. Just me. It gives me time to reflect on my way, project, life, whatever is on my mind, really. 

As I am about to depart from the comfort of being a student, I am looking forward to the opportunities that come with running and the people I will meet along the way.

Samantha Simmons

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