This post originally ran on May 25, 2012. Since Boston, we’ve all felt the comfort of our community of runners coming together like it never has before. In honor of all our running sisters and brothers we rerun this post and as always, please share any other ideas you have for giving back to the running community, in general and in light of the bombings.
One of my favorite things about the sport of running is sharing the love of running with others. Sometimes we get so caught up in our training with our eyes on our PR goals that we all forget how much we love the sport and forget how fulfilling it is to share that love. I know it happens to me from time to time. However, when I’m pregnant, like now, I’m not so focused on my own training and it’s a great time to focus on my love of the sport and share that with everyone around me, including my non-running friends and family who must certainly think I’m a lunatic by now! But we can all stand to share the love more. It will make running more enjoyable for ourselves and those around us. Win-Win!
With that in mind here are the 5 ways we can all pay our love for running forward!
1. Cheer. Head out to local races and cheer your little heart out! You can get a run in before the race or even during–run the course backwards and cheer for everyone along your way. I ran along the CLE Marathon course cheering on every runner I saw and it felt AMAZING. It was hot and miserable and even so it seemed to put a smile on many people’s faces. It definitely put a perma-smile on mine!
2. Volunteer. All races always need volunteers. There wouldn’t even be races without them! Contact any race management company, race director, running club or running store and ask about volunteer opportunities. Plus runners make the best race volunteers because you know what other runners want. You know how runners identify the cup they want to grab or how they want to be treated in the finish chute. Donate a little time and make many other runners’ day!
3. Pace. This might just be my favorite way of paying it forward. I love helping friends achieve prs! The best way to do this is to find a friend who wants to run a pace in a race close to your training pace (so a slower friend–remember it’s all relative, folks!) and go for it. I did this back on December. My friend B wanted to break 21:30 for a 5k and I had 12 @ 7:00 on tap. So, my training buddy and I did a few at 7:10 and then I jumped in the 5k and paced B to a 21:06! It was awesome to see B push herself and I was able to guide her through and let her know that she was working hard but not dying! I was so psyched for her–maybe more excited than I’ve ever been about one of my own prs!
4. Advise. Answer friends’ facebook or twitter questions about running. Read blogs and offer advise when asked. Help people you know who are just starting out. Listen to your friends vent about struggling through a rough patch. Share your knowledge, experience and joy.
5. Run with New Friends. I really value all my running friends–the slower ones, the faster ones and everyone in between. When my training and schedule allows it I make sure to run with new people any chance I get. Now that I’m pregnant I have the opportunity to run with my old fast crew on their easy days and then slower friends all the time! When I’m in the throes of serious training I rarely get to run with slower friends so I really relish this time. If you’re coming back from injury or another break or recovering from a big race take the time to run with some slower friends while you can. Also offer up your companionship to faster runners on their easy days. Mix it up and share the love!
How do you share your love of running?