Running 101: How to Build a Support System As a New Runner

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Mar 22

You’ve started to run, you’ve fallen in love with it, but it takes up so much of your time…how do you get your family and friends to support your crazy habit?

It’s time for a new topic in my Running 101 monthly series.  Last month, I talked about how to be motivated to run and train in the winter, and I hope you liked my tips!  This month, let’s focus on the ways you can build a support system for your new activity as you keep progressing as a runner!

I’m linking up with Susie, Debbie, Lora, and Rachel for the Running Coaches Corner and Annmarie, Nicole, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!  I’m also joining Ilka and Angela for the Fitness and Food linkup!

What kind of support system do you have for your running? Find out how to create one! #runchat… Click To Tweet

The more you get interested in running and racing, the more support will be needed for your new hobby! This month's Running 101 gives you tips on how to balance your running with a steady support system! Get more running tips at runwithnoregrets.com!

Building a Support System as a New Runner

Becoming a runner has truly changed my life.  It has consistently challenged me, introduced me to a community of wonderful people, and has made me stronger physically and mentally.  But I could have never done it without having a strong support system in place.

This year, I plan to run a LOT more races than I usually do.  From February to June, if all goes well, I’ll have completed 4 half marathons, 1 10 miler, 2 10K’s, and a Ragnar Relay.  Obviously, running and racing so much takes up a lot of time and energy.  At this point in my running journey, I don’t need to have friends and family there with me at every single race.  But starting out, having the support of your loved ones can be the key to keeping motivated.  Here are some tips on how to build your support system as you venture on this running journey!

Share Your Passion With Your Loved Ones

My whole family knows about my love for running, and it’s great!  They may not understand why I do it, especially since I’ll never win any special finisher medals, but they show respect for my passion and maybe even a little bit of admiration!  While my sister is not as crazy about running as I am, we did the Disney Princess Weekend together and it was unforgettable.  And there’s no better feeling than seeing your loved ones cheer you on during a race that you trained so hard for.

Let your loved ones know what running means to you.  Tell them why you’re doing it and how it makes you feel.  And yes, you should even tell them about the hard times.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to vent to my boyfriend because I had a “bad run” or I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Because a runner takes blood, sweat, and tears and sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it…so a little reassurance once in awhile can make a big difference!  Hopefully, you have that positivity in your life and are surrounded by people who wish you to succeed!

Read Running Blogs

Please know that I’m not just saying this because I am a running blogger!  Before I started Run With No Regrets, I read running blogs to gain motivation after being sidelined for several months with a stress fracture injury.  Reading those blogs really pulled me into the running community and taught me a LOT about running and training.

To this day I still find running blogs to be a huge source of motivation and support.  Don’t you wonder why I always participate in blog linkups?  A good blogger can make you feel like you’re out on the trail with them.  They share their successes and their failures.  They say the things that you may be thinking.  And they can teach you a lot about how to stick with it and balance running with the rest of your life!  I’m grateful to be part of the running blog community, and you don’t have to be a blogger to be included!

If you check out my Bloglovin’ page, you can see that I follow dozens of running bloggers – there are too many great ones to name them all!  You can also check my post featuring 10 great running blogs to follow!

You may also like:  How To Stay Fit in the Running Off-Season

Find a Running Community on Facebook/Social Media

You gotta love social media, right?  I have found that Facebook is a great place to find your running tribe.  If you search for running groups on Facebook, I’m sure that hundreds of options would show up.  There are groups that exist for every type of runner – slow runners, vegan runners, new runners, older runners.  If you are more introverted, connecting with runners online may be an easier experience.

I am a member of quite a few running groups on Facebook, including:

  • City Fit Girls Run Club
  • Wissahickon Wanderers
  • Pennypack Trail Runners
  • Philly Distance Runners
  • Chasing Trail

In these types of groups, people are sharing post-run selfies, showing off their medals, sharing race results, asking for advice on potential injuries, or sharing articles and jokes that only runners would understand.

If you don’t have too many friends who run, this is a great way to find running buddies!  You can get together at a meetup or just stay online and have great conversations about your running experiences.

Find a Running Group Near You

Philly Distance Runners

I know, I know…I talk about this a lot.  While I personally have been in a rut when it comes to meeting with running groups and my Running Club Roundup has been on hiatus for longer than I can remember, I can easily see that for many people, a running club can be a second family.  These are groups that not only run together but have drinks together, celebrate birthdays together, and even have their own Secret Santa exchanges.  If you have access to a running club in your area, check it out and see if they are the right fit for you.  As I’ve mentioned in this post, finding the right running group requires some trial and error!

Running groups are a fantastic way to build camaraderie and to spend time with people who do “get it”.  Plus, there’s a good chance that you’ll find someone who will be training for the same race that you are.  When I run the Love Run Half Marathon this weekend, I’ll be meeting up with the City Fit Girls Team – we have over 30 women participating and CFG has the best cheering squad in Philly!  Again, I can’t overstate how great running clubs can be!

Consider Using a Running Coach

Last but not least, working with a running coach is a fantastic way to build your support system.  Like working with a personal trainer, having a running coach is fantastic because you have someone that you can easily ask for advice.  Over the past few months, I’ve been working with Coach Laura of This Runner’s Recipes and it’s been a great experience.  When I ran the Rock ‘N Roll DC Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago, I was really nervous about the weather and whether I could have a strong race.  Before I could even ask, Laura was giving me tips on how to handle the weather and providing the encouragement that I needed.  It’s great to work with someone who you know really cares about your success and shares those victories with you.  I had the same positive experience working with Coach Kristy for marathon training last year.

Whoever you decide work with, interview your potential coach and see if you two are well-suited for each other.  Try to get a trial session with them and determine whether she provides the kind of support that you need.  Whether you choose an in-person or online coach, you will find an amazing source of motivation and encouragement, and for new runners, it could be the key to you sticking with it!

How did you build your support system as a runner?  Have you ever had challenges with people in your life supporting you?

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