Welcome back to the Get Moving Tucson column. Over the past couple weeks we’ve provided some basic exercise tips and listed a series of formal running and walking events that are available in Tucson.

But, if you’re like us, running, walking, and exercising is hard to do without someone to do it with. The Physical Activity Council indicates that exercising with others is the single highest factor in ensuring that a person works out. One reason we like the sports of running and walking is that you can do it alone and you can do it with other people.

Tucson’s running and walking community is one of the strongest in the country, with groups all over town for you to join, so let’s take a look and see what might work for you.

For those who want to walk or hike our beautiful desert trails, the Southern Arizona Hiking Group (sahcinfo.org) is a good place to start.

For running, follow the link to “Running Groups” at the Southern Arizona Roadrunners website (azroadrunners.org/running_groups) to find like-minded groups that meet in places and times that are convenient to you.

Among the running groups are free groups, such as the Tucson Trail Runners, Tucson Runner’s Project, Desert Tortoises, The Grinders, and the Interloopers.

For more than seven years now, the most popular free group in Tucson has been Meet Me at Maynard’s, a free social walk and run that meets every Monday night at Maynard’s Market and Kitchen at 400 N. Toole Ave. in downtown Tucson.

Founded with the goal to promote health, wellness, and regional economic development, Meet Me at Maynard’s and Meet Me Wednesday (at St. Phillip’s Plaza, 4280 N. Campbell Ave., Wednesday nights) provide free T-shirts, hats, and pins as incentives .

Don’t worry about your fitness. Every Monday night between 5-7 p.m., more than 500 people attend Meet Me at Maynard’s, so you’re sure to find someone of your ability to walk with, even if you come alone. See meetmeconcepts.com for the schedule of these free events in Tucson and Phoenix.

You can also spend a few bucks and join one of Tucson’s many coached running programs. A popular program is headed up by Fleet Feet Tucson, with locations in the northeast near Udall Park and in the northwest, near Ina and Oracle roads.

Targeting newer runners, Fleet Feet has a range of 10-week-and-more courses that teach you how to run or walk a 5k, 10k, half-marathon or full marathon. See fleetfeettucson.com

Another local running shoe store that manages training programs is The Running Shop, at Campbell Avenue and Fort Lowell Road. It holds free and paid sessions. Check it out at runningshopaz.com.

As the national director for the Road Runners Club of America coaching certification program, I would be remiss if I did not suggest that you find a certified running coach to help you with your running goals. You can visit rrca.org to find a list of certified coaches in Southern Arizona.

I would also be remiss if I did not invite you to join me, Tia, and others at The Workout Group at Reid Park. While our coached running group is best suited for recreational runners who want to get faster, our goal is to help people get in shape so feel free to track us down at runtucson.net

Next week we’re going to dig into the specifics of a run/walk program so that you can teach yourself to finish a 5K or even the 13.1 mile half-marathon distance.

Members of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, Tia and Randy Accetta produce running events and coach runners around the country through their company, Run Tucson LLC. Randy is the director of coaching education for the Road Runners Club of America and is event director for the TMC Get Moving Tucson events on Halloween weekend. Tia coordinates The Workout Group for adult runners and coaches running at Sam Hughes Elementary School.