Monday was supposedly Blue Monday. The most depressing day of the year, based on this equation, devised in 2005:
It is a day when seemingly Christmas becomes a fleeting memory while the cost of Christmas is at the forefront of our minds and our New Year Resolutions to get fit start to fall by the wayside.
Forgetting, for a moment, that this nonsensical equation was devised on behalf of a holiday company flogging vacations in the sun and that people who suffer from depression might not appreciate the idea that depression is simply brought on by an empty wallet and fading Christmas cheer, let’s consider how we can get back on track with our fitness goals without it costing the earth….or anything, for that matter.
This is my third Get Fit For Free In Glasgow post and with me looking forward to making my long awaited (by me, at least) return to running on Wednesday with Run 4 It Giffnock, I thought I would focus on the free running….no, not Assassin’s Creed inspired parkour, but free of charge running available in Glasgow.
Running (and physical activity in general) is a great way to get fit and to make new friends and it can also help beat the blues, Monday or otherwise. It has helped me when I have been feeling low with low self-esteem, low energy and lack of confidence. Running with an organised group offers support, safety and a degree of accountability. In Glasgow, these groups vary in size, but they all love running and they all embrace new members.
Read on for my top free running groups in Glasgow
Glasgow is blessed with an abundance of parks (Dear Green Place and all that) and in many of them, you will find a Saturday morning parkrun, which is the national and free timed 5K running organisation. While I will not go through them all, I do have to mention the wonderful event at Tollcross, where you’ll find a challenging course, great folk and even better cakes. Full details of parkrun events in Glasgow can be found HERE
However, there is also an abundance of other free running groups in the city that are suitable for beginners and seasoned runners, and there are several which I have found (or heard from reputable sources) to be especially supportive, fun and inclusive.
First up is my old favourite Great Run Local which runs a friendly and free 2k and 5K along the banks of the Clyde at the Broomielaw at the Squiggly Bridge (not the the Squinty Bridge) every Wednesday at 6.30pm. Great Run Local is a family affair as accompanied children can also take part. Times are measured using a free wrist tracker and if there was an award for the friendliest group of volunteers, then Great Run Local Glasgow would be sure to be amongst the finalists.
Then we have the running group that has risen from the ashes of the defunct Glasgow Running Network and which covers most of the north of the city, with weekly runs in Scotstoun, Maryhill, Garrowhill, Tollcross and the Gorbals. It is, of course, the aptly named Glasgow Phoenix Runners. Although, by all accounts, it is a very friendly group with varying abilities, it is requested that you are able to run a minimum distance.
Not one for new runners then, but they ARE definitely the intended audience at the Sweatshop Running Club Couch to 5K group in Anniesland. Not only is this free, but SRC also reward participation and with regular running events and promotions indoor, it is a great place for those out west to learn to run every Monday and Wednesday night.
For those in the southside, we have the aforementioned Run 4 It Giffnock. Here, you can participate in a lung busting interval sessions on a Monday after work that will improve your fitness and help you increase your speed, while there is now a very amiable and social (so social, there is often smoothies at Wholefoods afterwards) 5K run on a Wednesday night. Again, there is a mixed pace and all are welcome.
Run 4 It (also based in Bothwell St) and Sweatshop are both running retailers and in addition to delivering sessions, they also provide information evenings and gait analysis which you’ll know, if you’ve been following my Feet For Life posts, can be very useful in helping you pick a shoe that makes running hopefully more comfortable and less injury laden.
While we are mentioning retailers, we cannot forget the mighty Nike+ Run Club on Buchanan Street where you can enjoy a variety of running options from beginners to interval based sessions on Thursday nights. Nike regularly put on special events, like the wonderful Subway Run which much to my dismay didn’t involve a 5K run followed by 6 inch at Subway but instead a 10 mile run around all of Glasgow’s underground stations. Which, to be fair, remains as one of my running highlights.
Still in the city and along Sauchiehall Street we have a running group that will put a smile on your face every Monday at lunch. Just remember to brush your teeth as it is with the Glasgow Dental Hospital & School Runners. It is a work based Jogscotland group, but is is open to anyone and might just be something to get your teeth into (sorry for the really bad pun).
There are Jogscotland running groups across Glasgow (and indeed, Scotland) and while not all of them are free, they are all led by qualified Jogscotland Jog Leaders and they are all very friendly and supportive. Check on JogScotland for a group near you.
And finally, we have a group that is smaller than most of the others, but which has a huge heart and which offers some fantastic longer Sunday Social runs (usually with food) for those training for marathons and a much shorter Tuesday night run in the city, again, often accompanied with food (and the occasional beer). The Red Bridge Runners meet every Tuesday at 6.30pm at you guessed it, the Red Bridge, otherwise known as the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge
Run Not So Free
While it isn’t exactly free, I do also have to give a special mention to the Glasgow Frontrunners where you’ll find a training session for everyone….and I mean everyone. Glasgow Frontrunners is the most inclusive and one of the largest running groups in the city and it has a range of running sessions from Couch to 5K to marathon training on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at Glasgow Caledonian University. Sessions cost either £1 per visit or from as little as £18 for the year.
Whatever group you choose, you’ll undoubtedly find a friendly, fun and supportive group of runners who will not care about how far or fast you can run, but instead will only be happy that you want to run with them.
Forget Blue Monday and instead, Run Free and Run Happy