The easiest way to start your own running club

Oct 21, 2014 at 12:52 p.m. ET

Whether you're training for a race or simply putting in miles to maintain fitness, it's always great to have a support network.

Having a network can help keep you accountable for your workouts and help you achieve your goals (whether you want to get faster, lose weight or be able to run farther). One easy way to establish a support network is to join or start your own running group.

One of the first steps is to see if there are existing groups you could join. Ask your local running stores, friends or do a simple search online (try for local listings of fitness groups and workouts in your area).

If you don't find what you're looking for and want to start your own group, here are a few easy steps to get things off the ground and running (pun intended):

1. Gauge interest from your community

Ask your friends, colleagues and even local running or sports stores if they have any interest in joining.

2. Set up a meet time

Once you have interest, awesome! Next step is to establish a good meeting time and place. Start with one run per week and then build your schedule based on the group's interest and priorities.

3. Come up with a great name

Once you've started running, don't forget to name your group. Having a name will help people feel connected to the group and get them talking about it with their friends and family. You never know who might want to join up next.

4. Allow others to join

Use tools like to list your running group in your area, post your workouts and calendar and allow people to sign up online.

5. Get social

You have a group, a name and a web presence. Start a Twitter or Instagram account and document your group's runs; the more fun you're having, the more people will want to join in. Using SweatGuru, you can link all of your social accounts straight to your page, allowing people to see the action before they take the leap and sign up.

6. Get partners

Consider partnering with a local running store to offer members discounts or other incentives.

7. Choose your first race

Pick a local race and start a group training plan so you can all work toward a goal together.

8. Design some gear

Offer a T-shirt to every new member who signs up. It's a great way to extend loyalty to your group and make people feel like a true part of your tribe.

9. Use an app

Plan and send routes for upcoming runs to the group using apps like MapMyRun or RunKeeper (easily message all participants using your SweatGuru website).

Starting a running group is easy. Use your local resources (running stores, colleagues, friends and family), get social, and be creative.

Photo credit: Michael Krinke/Vetta/Getty Images