I’ve mentioned my running team the Dashing Whippets Running Team a few times. If you’ve seen me run races, you will also notice that I usually wear their singlets—infact I mostly wear their singlet as my running uniform, if you want to call it that. Sure, I prefer my soloruns (I’m notorious for them even if I push others to join our team). However, I have those and I get to benefit the other factors of my life. I definitely believe that joining a running team is one of the best things that any runner can do to improve their running career. I just happen to be on one that is competitive.

Photo by Da Ping Luo

Photo by Da Ping Luo

I decided to write this entry because right now it is a significant part of my life for my realization that joining the Dashing Whippets has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. This is a celebration of the improvements that I’ve experienced in the past few weeks/months while running with my team.

The Dashing Whippets Running Team (DWRT) is the coolest running team in NYC

Fine, this is a bias statement because I have some amazing friends outside of my team that I adore. Some of them are in groups like the NY Flyers, Gotham City Runners, Harriers, Van Cortlandt, etc. However, I took my sweet time to figure out which team to join. During the Fall of 2013 I got an email from the Co-Founder and I took a month to research all that I could about the DWRT. A few things attracted me to the team: The Branding (because I’m a designer, is this a play on Boston Colours? Brilliant), The Name (who doesn’t love double entendres—Handsome and Fast), The Co-Founders (who wouldn’t want to learn how to run a sub 3 hour marathon?), The Cost (I could try it out for 90 days without any commitments and see where it went) and the fact that they had coaches and panels that I could learn from to help me improve also didn’t hurt. It’s been almost 2 years now and I feel the same about them. I’ve also improved significantly. I’ve ran 4 ultras, a few marathons, felt more efficient at races and met many female (the men are amazing also) runners that I absolutely admire and look up to. Present Day: I’ve seen the team grow into an amazing online presence: Website | Instagram | Facebook and gained popularity. That’s so incredible to be a part of.

What should you consider when joining a running team:
Photo by Ben Ko

Photo by Ben Ko

  1. Location — Thankfully the Whippets are located throughout the city so most of them try to meetup to do random runs besides our scheduled runs.
  2. Coaching — Each week our coach Scott B. sends us what we should be working on. Isn’t it great to know that you’re supposed to do “8-16 uphill runs of 200m at a pace that is slightly faster than 5K. Walk-jog back downhill after each to recover” than making it up without knowing what you’re training for? I think any running group that you join should have a coach that is certified so you could ask questions for anything that you’re training for. This is invaluable on my team. I’ve known too many runners who’ve gotten injured by terrible advice.
  3. Knowledge — According to how big your team is, someone has done a race that you’re interested in before. Nothing’s better than saying what my next race is and someone lets me know the 411 on the course, location, etc. Not to mention feeling confident that I can do a particular race because of solicited advice.
  4. Pace Groups — My team is a competitive one. There are workouts where someone would ask, “So, who’s running at a 6:30 pace today?” I look in awe and slowly inch back until my pace is called. The I’m assured that one day I just might raise my hand with them. Hey, anything is possible. The point is: There’s always someone who is going to be at your pace. Even if you start in the back, maybe someone is recovering from a race so they will pace you. You can certainly move up.
  5. Cheering — Some of us even travel to cheer. If not, someone usually sees my gear and yells “Whippet Good!” I’ll take it. Either way, your team cheers for you. Also, one of the most valuable things we have is amazing photography by some of our own runners!
  6. Comraderie — I get the best feeling when someone passes me or I pass by them and we say, “Great Job Whippet, Keep it going Whippet, You’ve got this Whippet…” You get the idea. At every race, it’s great to see each other in the same gear and possibly start with them. We also have fun outside of races… like drunken brunches… and beermiles… C’mon Running and Beer, two of my favourite things.
  7. Recommendations — Nothing better than have a live database of recommendations for the best Sports Doctors, Masseuses, Physical Therapists,
  8. Goals — Joining a running team fosters goals. When I first researched the DWRT, I wanted to know how to get as fast. Then it turned into how could I run far? How do I get strong? These days it’s how do I get to be the fastest woman in NYC (hey, you never know). The point is, my goals matured with time. I’m more practical with them. Actually, my current goal is to see how my body handles the next marathon and evolve from there.

Are you a part of a running team? Which one and why did you join?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Dashing Whippets Running Team.

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