You know that saying that goes something along the lines of ‘you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone?’. Well, it has just so happened that all my running buddies seem to have been brought down by injuries at the same and it’s made me realise a few things.
I was at the gym on Friday morning and sparked a conversation with a fellow runner identified by the Kepler Challenge t-shirt he was wearing. We got to talking running, and after asking me what event I was in training for he got to asking what running support squads I had around me. Which got me to thinking, I had none. Not only did I not have any squads, but I also didn’t even really have any buddies to go for a run with. As my new gym-pal pointed out, I have a lot of ground ahead of me to cover and rallying some support was going to be crucial.
The truth is, running can be a bloody lonely sport and there is only so far listening to podcasts can take you (especially when you’re up to date on all your favourite podcasts). Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a solo run is one of the highlights of my day, providing a space to clear the head, or on the contrary to find mental clarity on whatever issue is top of the mind. But heading out for 8 hours a week of solo work can be pretty tough yakka and the mental motivation required to get there is whopper.
Though I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a shy individual, I’ve still got a fairly introverted nature, particularly in group scenarios, and especially when I’m tired. This makes branching out to meet new groups feel daunting and quite frankly I haven’t always known if the reward would be worth the effort. The motivation I keep coming back to is my experience with running groups in the past.
I know that after getting over the first couple of minutes of self-inflicted intimidation, it feels great to be surrounded by welcoming, like-minded individuals who support the cause. In a group, I feel held accountable to turn up, out of fear for letting people down, and I feel pushed to run through fatigue in times where it would otherwise be easy to slip to a walk.
After meeting my new gym-pal, and making this realisation that something needs to change I’ve put some plans into action:
- Invited a friend to join a new running group with me. Baby steps I know – I wasn’t quite ready to face that one alone. We turned up, had an absolute blast, got our face painted and ran in support of raising money for breast cancer. We’ll be returning next week for sure.
- Introduced myself to my new coaching running community, Running Hot Coaching and suggested that if anyone else is based in Christchurch we could run together. This has enabled me to connect with 3 new community members so far and still counting.
- Reached out to a running group in Christchurch named Christchurch Marathon Clinic and have organised to join a group run on Thursday to try out.
- Have joined the Kathmandu & Salomon Trail Running Club on Facebook and will make sure I attend this next Thursday.
Now that this is documented, I’m held accountable, so I will update this once all my plans have been actioned. Let’s hope the picture on the right isn’t me in the meantime… Here’s to making new running friends and stepping outside my comfort zone.