It’s just another girls night in with The Bachelorette on TV, a plate of crackers and cheese and giggles, plenty of giggles. Letting of steam from weeks of too much adulting, when suddenly she throws you a curve ball.
“I want to start running.”
In that moment, you aren’t sure whether to laugh or jump on the couch a la Tom Cruise! Years of talking about your own run love may have finally permeated her “not unless I”m being chased” determination.
But put the brakes on, before you leap in with the 822 ideas you have, the best local races coming up soon and how she’ll need to forget using that snooze button, let’s talk about the best ways to support new runners.
Cultivate the Right Mindset
One of the biggest obstacles we all face is having a goal that sounds really great, but not being really committed to achieving it.
We’re interested in the six pack abs, but not committed to the strict food requirements.
We’re interested in being part of that fun running group, but not committed to the 5AM morning wake up.
We’re interested in feeling better, but quick to find excuses about why it’s too hard to change.
This is when it’s important to remind them, they’re ready, they’re worth it and it’s time to commit! All said with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm because you could soon have a new running buddy.
And the process is very straight forward:
Step 1 – find their why
Step 2- just start
Step 3 – don’t quit
Help Them Block Out the Noise
Super, now they’re ready to run!!
Just 322 blog posts to read, one new diet trend to explore, probably need to clean out the closet and of course they’ll need some kind of fancy watch before they really get started.
Starting any new adventure, we all want information to support our choice and ensure we’re on the right path. Unfortunately the right path is different for us all, which is why there are thousands of diet variations and workouts and our endless search for the “best way” is just an awesome procrastination technique.
Now it’s your job to steer them away from the 800 things they’re going to read.
- Only do sprints and lift heavy weights
- Cut out carbs, eat all the fat
- Run at low heart rate, slow and steady fat burn zone
- Follow macros
- Don’t run at all it’s so bad for you
Skip all the noise, start with just one thing: run.It doesn’t matter how far or how fast, just encourage them to show up because they’ve said they want to! Support new runners with a focus on simplicity.
They’ll find over time that they want to shift their eating to what helps them feel better, but they don’t need to worry about that on day one.
Provide the Right Accountability
You might offer to run with them thinking that’s the perfect way to keep them going, but instead it could be very intimidating. Focus first on helping them develop the skills we all need: consistency.
Last year, a friend of mine began a quest to improve his health after the sudden death of his brother. He could have done this quietly on his out, but he knew the power of social accountability and begin sharing his journey on Facebook.
Not only did it keep him going when he would have stopped, but it pushed him on to greater goals and started a movement in those around him. They felt inspired by his hard work, by his truth of the hard days and his glory in the great days. Beyond social media, a few other ways you can provide accountability.
- Offer to help find a local running group for all abilities
- Set up a weekly walk and talk date, that takes the pressure off, while still helping their goal (walking benefits)
- Help them find online support if that’s better
- Check in with them throughout the week to see how things are going
- Find something you need accountability with so they’ll feel like they’re helping you too
- Show them how you schedule your day to make workouts consistent
AND remember you are not their coach!!!
Be their support system, but unless they ask for tips don’t keep pointing out what they need to do differently. Running is a journey, they’ll come to you when ready.
Encourage the Doable Goals
With a flourish of New Year’s giddiness “run a marathon” is added to the bucket list. I mean every year they see the smiles of runners crossing the NYC marathon finish line on TV and you they’re craziest runner friend can’t stop talking about it…so why not.
When they finally decide to cross it off, they head out for a run and promptly realize 26.2 miles is too damn far for normal humans to run.
Instead of discouraging their marathon dreams, share the hilarious stories of your own follies in running. You know the time you set out for your first double digit run without water or gels and found yourself sitting on the side of the road deliriously dreaming of a juicy turkey burger and sweet potato fries.
Tell them you wouldn’t trade that crazy memory, but you sure have learned to start small and more importantly you’ve learned how rewarding it is to keep achieving new goals! Which leads to our last and most important point….
Celebrate Every Milestone
It’s easy with years of running behind you to forget how exciting that first mile without stopping was or the day you clicked register for your first race and felt a wave of nausea. Celebrate constantly their success, not only will it remind them to do so, but you might just find it improves your own running!
If they’re starting to struggle, it could help them to create a reward system too! Maybe it’s a jar where they collect dollars per mile run or it’s a system of getting new gear for every 20 miles completed. Whatever might give them an extra little boost.
What helped you when first starting out?
How do you encourage your friends goals?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Run Fun: RunToTheFinish
Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinish
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