Remember when you were a kid and could spend hours playing tag? Running used to be so much fun! Of course, it still can be, but a lot has changed since we were five. Now, we aim for longer distances; we’re focused on losing pounds or getting a new PR, paying our bills and improving our pace.
Running is still a great stress relief, but training can easily become stale if you let it. If you find yourself getting bored, take a tip from your younger self and incorporate these group training games into your routine.
You’ll get to spend time with friends, break away from the monotony, and who knows – you might even feel like a kid again!
A Scavenger Hunt
Because who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned scavenger hunt? Make a list with your friends (or have someone make it for you) of 10-15 items; the harder they are to find, the longer your run will be! They don’t have to be anything special – a coffee shop, a sign with the letter ‘L’, a green car, a dog – just think of whatever might be around town. Keep the list on your phone or a small piece of paper; then, split up to compete individually or try to complete it as a team!
Whoever finds all the objects first, wins*! Or, add a twist and establish a “home base”. Everyone must complete the list before returning to home base and whoever makes it back first, wins!
*Photo evidence of objects may be required, depending on how much you trust your friends.
Bingo makes a great cross-training checklist for your group! Make a list of 20+ workouts and use an online bingo card generator to randomize each person’s card. Your workouts could include 60 minutes of rock climbing, ice skating, Zumba, kickboxing, cycling, hiking… whatever your group wants to do! Feel free to mix them in with some running goals, too, like “ran 7:30 mile” or “completed 12-mile run”.
We recommend setting some ground rules, like a limit of 2 bingo workouts a week, to keep your training balanced and the game fair.
Follow the Leader
This classic game can be the perfect way to mix up your training and find new places to run. Depending on how long you want your run to be and how many people you have, switch leaders every few minutes or every few miles. This guarantees you will run a different route (and pace!) each time, plus you get to challenge your friends by taking them up hills or switching from pavement to paths. Combine it with the Indian Run, where you switch turns by having the last person in line sprint to the front, for an extra challenge.
Duck Duck Goose
We got this one from Kyle Wood at BootcampIdeas.com. It’s your typical game of duck duck goose, but a bit more tiring. Instead of sitting, you jog in place. When called “duck”, you do a squat (or a burpee, feel free to get creative here)! If you’re the goose, you and whoever is “it” will run in opposite directions around the circle in hopes of claiming the empty spot. Keep going until you’re all too exhausted to even quack!
Race to the Finish
Practice for your next event by making a little race of your own. Choose a destination for your finish line, like your favorite post-race beer, brunch, or smoothie spot. Then, just run! Whoever comes in last buys a round for everyone else, and whoever wins gets to pick the finish line spot for your next race.
You can always incorporate relay races or obstacle courses into your group training games as well. Or take your favorite games and create a tournament! Prizes always make these games more appealing, even if they’re just bragging rights or a dollar-store trophy.
Did we miss any of your favorite group training games? We’d love to hear about them! And, if you’re having trouble finding people to play with, check out our article on how to convince your friends to race with you. In the meantime, sign up for Athlinks to stay connected and track your progress as you find, register, train for and celebrate your races!