Why is a support network important?
For most runners our sport tends to be a solo journey towards our big goals. Sometimes this is a preference but it can also be something we’re forced to do. Some runners may even have training partners where they can support each other from time to time. Having that support is something all runners can benefit from with training and racing. But for that ultimate support system, it could be a good idea to create more of a support network. So what’s a support network?
Let’s first start with why having support is important for a runner. Let’s say you’re training for that next big race, there could be scenarios where you’re lacking motivation, feeling tired, or even nervous. By having people on your team, they can help you get past these barriers and run the race you’ve been dreaming about. Also, when you do achieve your goals, it can be a great feeling when celebrating your successes with your support network. So what kind of support do we need? Every person has different needs so the type of support will vary. However, one thing all runners can benefit from is the physical and emotional support for training and racing.
Importance of having a physical support system- Runners go through so much with training and preparing for races in a physical way. You may not have all the experience and knowledge needed to have the success you’re wanting in training and on race day. This is where having a support network can be beneficial. These types of people support your training and health from a physical perspective. If you don’t have these people in your support system and feel they would be useful, then you can reach out to other runners in your support network to find out who they would recommend.
Here are some examples of a physical support system:
• If you’re dealing with an injury you may need the support from a doctor, chiropractor, or PT.
• If you’re a new runner, or an inexperienced runner, you may need the support of a coach.
• If you’re struggling with diet issues, a nutritionist could be the support you need.
Importance of having an emotional support system- With how important our physical needs are as runners, we can’t ever forget about getting our emotional support. The people who fill your emotional support system could really be anyone. Having someone on your side who understands the training and racing, like training partners or local running club members, may be the way to go most of the time, but it’s not always needed. Having a supportive spouse, family member, or friend can be just as beneficial. And for some runners, it can be much more important. Every runner approaches their training and racing differently. The emotional support needs are different from person to person but it’s something that every runner can benefit from.
Here are some examples of a emotional support system:
• Someone who can encourage you when your motivation is lacking. This person could be someone you text or call or someone who travels to races with you. When this person is on your side, nothing can stop you!
• Someone you can talk to when things haven’t been going your way. Someone you can vent to so you can get past those tough situations.
• Having support when actually training and racing. Having someone else with you can increase your enjoyment and create a positive distraction from those tough moments.
When it comes to our training and racing, having a support network can be beneficial on so many levels. It might be a good idea to take the time to figure out what type of support you would benefit the most from. Once you have this figured out you can reach out to your network and find the support you’re needing. One way of creating a strong support network is by being more social in your local running community. My hometown here in Lakeland, FL offers one of the best support networks you can ask for. The local running club has weekly group runs, club events, and hosts many local races throughout the year that most of the local runners do. There are even micro groups that have formed within this club. The support that can be found here is unmatched. On a more personal level for myself, this network is what has allowed me to have the successes I’ve had throughout my running career. It’s why I love this community so much. I have all the physical support I could ask for and the emotional support that I receive on a daily basis when out running is like no other. It has created this atmosphere for me. It’s like there’s this energy, even when no one is around. This is why I love training in Lakeland so much. And this is why I encourage you to create your support network.