Whether you’re looking for a marathon training buddy or the motivation to take those running shoes out of the box for the very first time, a running group might just be the answer you’ve been searching for. In addition to providing accountability, motivation, and guidance, running groups also introduce you to other runners (aka a built-in group of people who are always down for tacos, beer, or post-run happy hour.)
So whether you are lacing up your running shoes for the first time or preparing for your 100th ultra, these Twin City running groups will help you reach your goals and have fun in the process!
Calhoun Beach Running Club
The Calhoun Beach Running Club has its workouts in one of the most beautiful spots in the state, but the Chain of the Lakes scenery isn’t the only thing worth raving about. Initially formed as a training group for Twin Cities Marathon, CBRC helps runners reach their goals—whether they be finishing a 5K or qualifying for Boston—with four coached workouts a week. And the good times at CBRC don’t end when the run does; this is a group that loves a good happy hour. Our favorite part? When the running and happy hour are combined during CBRC’s annual Pub Run.
Minnesota Distance Running Association
A membership to the Minnesota Distance Running Association gets you access to just about any running program imaginable; we’re talking everything from race training to trail running to track club. If you’re looking to try before you buy, are low on funds, or are seeking something a bit more casual, fear not! MDRA’s run group, The Polar Bears, meets weekly to clock miles in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. (Join the Facebook group for the specifics on each week’s route!) Bonus: in the winter months, grab $3 and join MDRA for indoor stadium running—and an escape from the elements—at U.S. Bank Stadium.
ALARC’s group run schedule offers training for every kind of runner on (almost!) every day of the week. Like to hit the trails early? Kick your weekend off with a Saturday run down River Road or a Sunday Runday lap around Lake Calhoun. Looking to make #gains while cutting time? You’ll be all about the core and speed workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Want to take a post-work jog while taking in the scenery? Join the group’s Tuesday and Thursday runs along the mighty Mississippi. No matter your schedule or running style, ALARC has something that will work for you.
Mill City Running
Few things are worth getting up at 6:30 am for, but Mill City Running’s Flapjack Friday easily makes our short list. Runners can choose from a two-, four-, five-, or seven-mile route before returning to the Northeast store for a hearty breakfast of fresh-off-the-griddle pancakes. Not a morning person? MCR also offers free Beginner’s and All Abilities Group Runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. And while joining a run group can be intimidating, pre-run introductions and icebreaker questions will have you feeling like part of the group in no time.
Who needs a lottery and a plane ticket to Massachusetts when they can run a marathon in their own city for free? That was the idea behind Club Run’s NAH-ston Marathon, an assisted long run looping through the Twin Cities each spring. Although NAH-ston only comes once a year, Club Run members have access to running coaches, training plans, and workouts year round. So whether you have your signs set on NAH-ston or the Boston, joining Club Run for a workout means getting one step closer to your running goals.
We Run MPLS
The whole point of a running group is, well, running with a group. That’s why We Run MPLS is serious about its motto “no one runs alone.” Whatever your skill level or background, you’ll instantly feel like part of the We Run MPLS fam. Mark your calendar for the group’s three-mile Thursday runs, test your endurance during a monthly Saturday long run, or mix up your route by attending the monthly Wild Card Route — all of which are free! Whatever you pick, make sure to stick around post-run for a (discounted!) java at the group’s usual haunt, Five Watt Coffee.
Weekly group runs? Running buddies? Enviable merch? Check, check, and check. Whether you run for the workout, the community, or that blue and green singlet, you’ll love being a Northstar member. A self-described “social club for people who enjoy running”, Northstar Running is the perfect mixture of fun and fitness for runners of all backgrounds whether you’re looking to join Northstar’s cheering squad at the Twin Cities Marathon or to run some races of your own.
Twin Cities Running Club
This group welcomes experienced and beginner runners alike, offering weekday evening runs and weekend jaunts of greater distances. With an affordable membership fee of just $25 ($40 for families), you’ll get a t-shirt, weekly email updates, and info about social events. Because who doesn’t like to end their run with food, drinks, trivia, and camaraderie?
If you love racing but not the price tag (is it just us or do races just keep getting more and more expensive?!), we have just the group for you! Every Saturday, Eagan parkrun hosts free timed 5Ks around Thomas Lake, allowing you to go after that PR without parting with your paycheck. Around 50 runners turn up each week, so whether you’re looking for new friends or friendly competition, you’ll find it here. Now all you have to worry about is making sure your wallet doesn’t weigh you down with all that extra cash!