Running is often seen as an individual sport. On race day, it’s you and your own two feet that get you across the finish line. But we can’t forget the countless hours and processes that go into the months leading up to race day. When you really think about what goes into training, running isn’t such an individual sport after all.
Take a look at pro athletes, they have teams comprised of sponsors, training partners, coaches, doctors, massage therapists, personal trainer and others to help them achieve their best.
Even if you aren’t a college or pro runner, even if you don’t have a uniform or team name, even for those of us running for our own sense of accomplishment, a team is a valuable thing.
Assembling a few key players will help you reach your goals and share the fun along the way.
The Running Coach: In my opinion, one of the best things about having a coach is the accountability factor. If you don’t have a coach, try sharing your weekly workout schedule with a friend or two to help keep you on track. Added Bonus: Some coaches will send a motivational text or email before a tough workout to help give you a boost!
The Running Buddy: Having someone to run with on occasion breaks the monotony of solo miles, adds a social component and holds you accountable. Knowing someone is waiting for you helps get you out the door.
The Running Shrink: Training is mentally and physically taxing. Having someone to talk to about the ups and downs of it all can help keep you from getting overwhelmed. Ideally this person is an athlete as well, so, when you are venting about a bad run or balancing training with life, they get it.
The Non-Running crew: When you are training hours and hours a week, you’ll need something to take your mind off running. Make time to do things with friends and family who aren’t runners. Ever attended a function with a group of runners and tried NOT to talk about running? It lasts about 5 seconds! The non-runners in your life will help you find balance.
The Running Nerd: Garmin questions, they’ve got answers! Need a coupon code to order last minute gear online? They’ve got it! Looking for a tune up race, they probably know every race in a 300-mile radius and have the elevation profile tattooed on their arm. Curious about the best foam roller or latest model of running shoes–don’t worry, they not only have read the reviews, they most likely wrote them!
The Professionals: This is a big group of people that can help keep you healthy and on track with your training—Dr. Google doesn’t count! Just like professional athletes have their doctors, physical therapists, and trainers- our bodies need help too. You ideally want to find someone who is a runner or works with athletes, as they’re less likely to whip out the “running is bad for your knees, you’re going to die of a heart attack” approach.
The Emergency Crew: For runners with children, maybe this is the friend swap babysitting sessions with, so you each can get a workout. Or it’s the carpool to a race day or someone picking up your race-packet when you can’t get away from work. Having people and resources you can count on when things aren’t going perfect can help you stay on track and lose the excuses.
Remember, with any team, it’s important to give back as well. Which “team member” are you for your running buddies?
As Lennon & McCartney put it, “I get by with a little help from my friends”.