"Not supporting them physically like after a long race when all the water is gone and you still have to walk 2 miles but supporting them in the day to day as we work on the sport we all (or at least some of us) love."
We have all been there: The first time we went for a run, the first time we went to a race, and the first time we felt like we weren’t real runners. At one point we were all beginners and apprehensive to GO. Even as the beginning jitters fades away it's something we have in common no matter our current level or at what age we started running.
I try to make a point to smile and wave at every runner I pass, even if they don’t smile back. I feel like there is a kin ship with others---As if you say “Hey, I too like to run for miles on end just for the hell of it”. I feel like it brings us all together and I especially go out of my way to say hi to those who I know are just starting out running or just look like they are in pain. It goes a long way to feel accepted by other runners and not get the sneer of disapproval. If my wave and smile can help one person not feel discouraged or to help them push a little further than that's enough for me. Even if they think I'm crazy and spray me with pepper spray I will at least know I tried while simultaneously writhing around in agony.
You’ll sometimes get the runners you pass who won’t give you the time of day but don’t think that’s the norm. Most runners are jazzed to see another runner and secretly want to be best friends and know how far your going, how long you’ve been running, what your training for and if you got your daily 💩 in. (If you didn’t already know runner care deeply about 💩 and most will tell you their exact routine of how they have to go before they run. But that's a whole other post) I think more runners would stop and have conversations with other runners we pass but lets face it:
"All of us are just trying to not look like we are dying and in pain when we are X miles in. Plus it may just be me but I feel like if I stop I won't convince myself to go again"
I love when I see the same runners day after day. It makes me proud of the complete strangers who have no idea who I am. This I feel is what makes the running community special. We really do try to root for one another even if it's silently cheering them on. Even the other day I saw a young boy running with his dad who you could tell was struggling and not super into it. I meanwhile was also struggling hard but mustered the biggest smile and started clapping and told him he was doing great! He half heartedly smiled but I could tell it helped. His dad gave me a grateful smile and told his son “See! I told you that you got this!” Little things like that not only keep others going but also keep us going. I finished that run only feeling like I was half going to collapse into my driveway. Meanwhile I wondered how to boy did and hoped to see them out there again soon.
"Finding a good running community is like finding a good sports bra. Not impossible but sometimes takes a little trial and error before you find the right fit."
Aside from other runners in your area I strongly believe in the power of supporting other runners on social media. Yes, the comparison game could get to you but if you can try to look past it and look at the poster as just another fellow runner it's amazing what you can find. They run faster than you? So what? They run slower than you? So what? Find people who you seem to have like outlooks with and follow them. Not only will they be overjoyed that they've reached someone, them sharing their runs and even just some humor can help bolster your own running.
I make it a point to fill my feed with like minded runners who genuinely support others. Their posts make me smile, make me think, and push me to be a better runner. All of them don't shy away from sharing the good and the bad of their own training and each one has shared information that has helped me in my individual training. Each of them bring something different to the table and I consider them all a vital piece in my running community. I listed below a few of the accounts I love and hope that you find them as uplifting and entertaining as I do! Click on the names below to be take directly to their Instagram accounts. I promise you won't be disappointed!