Readers Roundtable: Who Supports You?

We runners need support to be our absolute best, whether it comes from family, friends, teammates or coaches. It takes a village to raise a runner! While there are countless supportive loved ones cheering us on and enabling us to pursue our big goals, not everyone we love gets this whole running thing. Even some people who once were all-in with our running sometimes change as our relationships and lives change. That’s why we want to hear both great tales of support and tales of how other loved one’s lack of support has affected you.

We want to hear from you:

Stories about others’ support and lack of support for your running.

And as always, join us on Twitter every Monday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for #SaltyChat to discuss the day’s Readers Roundtable topic and more!

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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19 comments

  1. Since my schedule does not allow for Salty Chat I’m going to weigh in here 🙂 My running would in no way be possible without my support system. Which is about 1000% stronger now than it’s ever been. Between my hubs, mum back home in NZ tracking my races, coach always a text away, and a physical therapy team always willing to squeeze me in, I know that I am truly blessed to have the support that I do … and they say running is an individual sport, this is just as much for them as it is for me!

  2. I started running as a Lone Ranger. It was something I selfishly kept to myself. After a few years, I opened up a bit more (mostly I had to because I won a local race) and it really helped foster a relationship with my sister. We had such a rocky teenage relation-shit I didn’t think we’d ever be friends.
    Well, she started running and we went to a few races together. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows at the beginning, but over the past two years, were now really close and she’s my biggest support. When I finished my first ultra, the picture of me five minutes after is of me screaming at my phone (we didn’t have service) “I just want to talk to my sister!!”

    I wouldn’t trade this for anything!

      1. Yeah!! It was so awesome to have a built-in coach for my first marathon. And she was 8 months pregnant at the race and ran with me for the last three miles. Everyone was cheering for the pregnant lady, of course, but I was so happy to be running with my sister and having a great race that I didn’t mind her stealing my thunder. We’ve been doing that to each other all our lives, so all I could do was laugh at how appropriate it felt!

  3. I started out as sole runner using the sport to help me through the California bar exam. I moved to northern California, still running by myself until I found myself gathered up by a group of runners, who became my dear friends and running companions. Many years later, my husband and sons cheer me and prod me and encourage me when I don’t believe I can/should continue this sport that I love. In between, of course, many massage therapists, physical therapists, pilates and Gyrotonic instructors, an occasional running coach and supportive women’s running groups (e.g., once a Saltine always a follower, 261 Fearless Ambassador) help me keep my body and mind going!

  4. When I first started running, I was in a relationship with someone who did not support my running. Not that he actively didn’t, but I don’t remember him coming to any of my first 5k or even my first half marathon. After that first relationship, I basically only dated other runners so that part got a lot easier. I actually met my husband at the running store! He’s a marathoner and Ironman, so he gets it.

    But, about 6 months after I started running, I began leading a training group from our local running store (the store owner wrote the training plans; I just herded the cats). Suddenly I had friends who supported what I did! We trained for our first marathons together, and we still run together now — 10 years later. That said, moves and families have made it harder to run together regularly, so after a couple of years of being largely solo, I’m glad I’ve expanded my support network to include Salty Running and the Personal Best Training crew.

    Personal Best Training is my coach’s group, and he is always a quick text or call away if something goes really well, or if something goes really horribly. And I’m fortunate to live close enough that I can run races near his home base a few times a year, which means a guaranteed hug and high five at the finish line. Plus I get the added perk of all the other runners who train with him as another supportive family. I see them at races, chat on our Facebook and Strava groups, and have an email chain with a group of women of similar goals.

    1. A great plug for finding running groups! Built-in cheer squad! It’s hard when a partner does not support us even if it’s not an explicit lack of support. Just feeling like we’re a huge inconvenience or whatever for wanting to get a run in can be pretty stressful and demotivating. Glad your husband is behind you now!

  5. My mom has completed 40+ marathons and ultras (including a 100K race), and is the reason I got into running. My Dad is close behind. My husband and sister have always been my biggest fans as well. I couldn’t do it without them!

  6. My parents are runners. Well, my dad’s been running for as long as I can remember, and my mom got into it when I was a little older. Dad would go out for his long run on Sunday morning, I’d get up and wait for him to come home, then we’d go for a ‘jog’ together. Think a half mile along a canal to the park, and back. So they totally got it when I said I wanted to do a local 10K and later when I started training for half and full marathons.

    My husband runs, but he isn’t A Runner. I’m the running nerd in the family! He’s just as happy to swap a bike ride or elliptical time for a run – to him, cardio is cardio. But he understands and supports my need to run long every weekend and make time for track workouts in the evening – in other words, he supports my hobby, just as I do his.

  7. So that pic ^^ is a photo of my husband and me after my first half. It was before we were married and kids and all that. He coached me and I ran considerably better than I expected! It was great. He was super supportive and was my running mentor. But when we had kids we struggled a bit. He gave up his own running for the most part, but I left my professional job and running helped me deal with feeling stressed and unstimulated by SAHM life. I dug in to running even more. So there were many times I felt like he wasn’t supportive, but looking back I was probably a little over-demanding and over-prioritizing running sometimes. It’s hard to strike a balance, particularly with kids I think.

  8. Three cheers for support systems!
    -My husband is my number one support – with two young kids, I need him as my teammate to fit in the training. He may roll his eyes occasionally or gripe about the too-early-long-run-departures, but he holds down the fort when I’m training, fills my Christmas stocking with GU and drags the kids to races for a 15 second sighting!
    -My mom and her partner – every week during my maternity leaves they watched my baby so I could get in a long run – I trained for two marathons that way – and they’re taking my kids for 5 days while we go to Boston this year.
    -My training buddies- I lucked into an awesome group of women I met through a masters swim group 10 years ago. A decade, several marriages, job changes, 8 kids and injuries between us, we’re all still friends. Even if we’re not always training together – they’re a huge support (in running and in life!)
    -My BRF – of the group above, her and I are the ones we are most in synch with our training and meet almost every Saturday morning for a too-early-long run. It’s my small window of break during the chaos of family life on the weekends and I cherish it
    -The online running community, including this site – I’ve met awesome runners virtually through message boards and instagram who motivate, challenge and encourage me!

    1. When I had my second kid I had the best group of new mom runner friends, which included Dill 🙂 Their support and friendship got me through a rough patch of PPD. Aww. And yeah for Mom hooking you up for Boston! How exciting!!!

  9. I like how Jesse bullet pointed her’s so I am going to copy that:

    1) My biggest fan is my husband. Now, this hasn’t always been the case. I have always been a runner so he knew what he was getting in to when we started dating and eventually got married. But, I did have what I call a “selfish me, me, me” time in my life where I was so focused on training and racing, and training more, but even harder. This really stressed our marriage ( we had four young kids too, yikes!). Long story short, my husband found his own passion, yoga. So we are supportive now of each others passion and we do so much better at communicating what we need/want with either running/racing or yoga.
    2) My running group of friends who I call my running family. There is just something special about your girlfriends (and some boy friends) who are runners but are also some of your BFF’s. We support each other through thick and thin. Through the highs of PR’s and the lows of injuries. But we are also there for one another with personal high’s and low’s. I love these people like they are my own family.
    3) My Mom (I would say my Dad too, he used to be extremely supportive when he was alive, but he passed away almost 12 years ago). My Mom is hilarious though. Most races I do – usually 5k’s- she will say to me “So, how was the marathon Michelle”? LOL! She doesn’t know a ton about racing, she just knows that it is a passion of mine, has been since high school, and she is always 100% supportive of any running adventure or race I get in to.

  10. Hubby is supportive even when he doesn’t fully understand. But he’s a man who has said “whatever will get you back to running” when it comes to the investment of time and effort it takes to recover from injury. So, he’s on my support team. After that, a strong support system in the medical community – props to all of the doctors and PTs out there who “get it” and who do their best to help us do what we love!

  11. I started running rather late in life, so just my husband, I suppose – but I deeply appreciate his early mornings, his volunteering to drive me to races so I don’t have to fret about finding parking, and his ready camera.