Supportive Friends and Family Means Not Running Alone

Nutmeg

Meg has written 31 posts on Salty Running.

I'm a married, step-mother, the 4th of 5 kids. I'm livin' the dream as a manager in retail, putting that English degree to great use. Oh, and I'm sarcastic.

As runners, we all could use some support…and not just for the ta-tas. Image via movingcomfort.com

My circle of family and friends doesn’t include a lot of runners. Even so, I have to say that I’ve been pretty fortunate when it comes to how people have responded to my running.  No one has really come down on me about it.  The closest to negative responses were people kind of wrinkling their noses because they don’t like to run…at all…for any reason.  I’m pretty sure someone along the way said, “Why would you want to do that?”

Aside from having the amazing support of the Salties and Salty readers, I have found even my most running-phobic family and friends to be supportive of my putting my feet to the pavement.  One of my biggest cheerleaders, maybe taskmasters is more like it, is my mom.  She was witness to my spiral into depression and was there to help me climb out of it.  Not only that, but she suffers from depression herself.  With all of this, she realizes the importance of physical activity for those who suffer from these mental illnesses.  She, herself hits the local Curves regularly. Go Mom! Anyway, mom often emails to check in on me; making sure I’m getting out there.  Sometimes, it makes me feel like a little kid and I get annoyed, but I know getting on me about keeping up the program comes from a place of care, concern and love.

My mama with a llama. (Ok, it’s an alpaca, but that didn’t rhyme)

The most supportive person in my life, though, has to be my husband.  He sees firsthand how much running helps my mental state.  When I was benched last month, he witnessed the change in me.  He saw how easy it was for me to slide back down the depression hole.  So, when I was feeling better and knew I should get back into the running routine, he was there to encourage me.  There have been a couple of mornings during which I found myself stalling and pouting about how I didn’t want to go.  Those days, he would look at me and tell me that I needed to do it, that I’d hate myself later if I didn’t go, and that I would feel so much better afterward.  And, he is usually right.

So, if there is a beginning runner in your life, here are some things you can do for her:

  • Ask her how it’s going.  After each run, my husband asks me how it went.  He’s not a runner and doesn’t want to be, but he still asks me about my outings.  If, one morning, I tell him it was a tough one, the next morning he’ll ask if things went better.  It’s so nice to have him ask.
  • Don’t buy in to her excuses.  Shawn knows when I’m trying to weasel out of something.  He calls me on the carpet if he senses I’m making excuses.  He won’t listen to, “But I don’t wanna!”  He’ll say, “I know you don’t, but you’ll feel better if you do.”  I can’t argue with him.

    See? Shawn can be quite suspicious of my excuses.

  • Tell her it’s ok.  Just like there are those times when we want to make excuses for why we don’t want to run, there are those days when we need to be held back.  Sometimes, we may be so focused on getting all workouts in with no straying from the routine, that we might try to get out there when we shouldn’t.  We might not realize we should take a step back, that we are overdoing things.  At those times when we won’t give ourselves permission to ease-up, it could be helpful to have someone else give us that permission.
  • Join her.  Maybe, on occasion, you can workout with her.  If you aren’t a runner, maybe you could ride your bike along the way.  Or, you could go for a track or treadmill workout together, each going at your own pace.  Joining her can also be as simple as going to her race and being on the sidelines or at the finish line.
I guess the bottom line is we all need support and sometimes that support can be simple.  Even a simple high-five could go a long way and be just enough.
Who helped you when you were starting out? What can others do for you to make you feel supported?

 

5 Responses to “Supportive Friends and Family Means Not Running Alone”

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  1. Pepper Pepper says:

    Kudos to you and your support team! I think as a beginner one of the toughest parts would be doing the workouts solo. I avidly love running and I still struggle to get out the door alone a lot of the time. Having a support team that nudges you towards making the right decisions is key for success!

  2. Sassafras says:

    I agree that having accountability partners like your mom and your husband is key! One of my running buds just moved away and hasn’t found any running partners in his new city, so we text each other daily, asking “Did you run today?”. So great to have someone kinda nudging you along!

  3. Cinnamon Cinnamon says:

    Great post, Nutmeg! I can imagine it will be nice for any beginners out there to point their friends and family to this if they aren’t getting the support they need!

  4. Nutmeg says:

    Thank you, everyone!

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