If you are quite familiar with terms such as ‘long run’, ‘race day’, ‘hydration’, ‘pace’, ‘PR’, ‘strength training’, ‘rest day’, ‘easy run’, ‘fuel’, ‘wicking’, ‘blisters’, ‘cross training’, ‘stitches’, ‘runner’s knee’, ‘intervals’, ‘sprints’, ‘foam rolling’, ‘compression socks’ and so on but have not discovered first hand the amazingness of being a road warrior aka runner, then may I suggest to you that perhaps you are an [un]official friend of a runner.
It’s a phrase I have coined to cover significant others, siblings, friends, neighbors, and colleagues of those who run as a hobby or competitive sport. This phrase is generally reserved for non- runners. A friend of a runner who is also a runner, is called a runner friend. Yes, there is a difference :).
Maybe you are in this friend of a runner position and you feel you are not playing this role well enough or completely suck at it, or maybe you feel you are doing a good job and wouldn’t mind improving your proficiency. Fret not- I am here to provide you with some helpful tips on how to be the perfect friend of a runner. Trust me, your runner will be very grateful.
I started thinking about this the other day, quite seriously I might add, how much easier running life would be if friends of runners just did some of these, sometimes, simple things. So I thought I would share this with others and benefit the running community at large. Don’t worry, the friends also benefit too — by having happier runners who in turn are happier friends, and the relationship is much stronger, and so communities come together, … and the world becomes a much better place. You’re welcome! 🙂
Without further ado, here are the ways to knock the socks off that runner in your life– in no particular order:
- Avoid scheduling social events late Friday night or otherwise the night before long run days. Your runner has to wake up at an ungodly hour the next day to complete the run.
- Have brunch with your runner. Make sure to schedule it in that sweet spot after the long run but give them a chance to take a shower first. Long runs can get really sweaty.
- Pay for brunch while you’re at it.
- Or prepare the brunch.
- Why stop there? You can prepare other meals too, randomly. Runners need to EAT! Can I get an amen?? And they need to eat really nutritious food, which typically means home made. Plus the personal touch helps :).
- Give your runner a massage. All that running calls for some sore muscles and joints.
- If you’re not the touchy-feely type, you can pay for a professional massage– even 10 minutes goes a long way.
- Make incredibly embarrassing signs for them on race day and display them proudly. Extra points for yelling encouragement at them. If you need ideas for creating signs, Pinterest is full of them.
- BE THERE on race day. Preferably before, during, and after. If you can’t make all 3, any one is fine. I guess.
- Do not ask more than once (ok, twice) how far a mile is or the distance of a marathon. If you really want or need to know, Google is willing and able.
- Know the difference between a half marathon and a full marathon and use the words appropriately. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said “Omobola runs marathons’… Seriously. I’ve done halfs, not a full- yet.
- You might not be a runner or care for running but once in a while, run with them if you can. Hey, they may even slow down for you just for the company :).
- Send your runner funny running memes. Again Pinterest is full of them. I rememebr my delight when I found a Ryan Gosling one– something about “you might only be running a half, but you’ve got my full attention”. Hilarious!
- Or just tag them on facebook or instagram.
- Buy them running gear and [cute] outfits. And not only on their birthday. Sometimes, that’s the motivation they need to get out and run– to show off their new gear to no one in particular.
- Pray for them. For strength, to be injury free, to keep their eye on the prize, for safety. Or just in general. It is good to pray for your friends.
- Make them a smoothie. I hear those are yummy.
- Ask them how training is going if they are preparing for a race. But don’t ask too often– that may induce or increase anxiety. How much is too often, you ask? It varied from person to person so know thy runner, and hope for the best :).
- Ask them about their running goals. Believe it or not, some people are just trying to finish the darn race.
- Another know thy runner tip- It may not be appropriate to ask their race time. Usually they will volunteer this information themselves. Or if you are that much of a
stalkercaring friend, you can look up their race results on the race website.
- Offer to drive them to and/or from the race. After running, the legs may not handle the mundane task of driving too well.
- Take kick-ass start and finish line pics, preferable of them. Not personal selfies.
- Celebrate them, preferably in their presence or to their knowledge. Let them know how proud you are of them.
- Don’t ever tell your runner that they are crazy. Except it is a joke and you are certain they know you are joking. Some people are really sensitive about that– perhaps because most runners are ‘crazy’. lol. I mean, who just runs and runs and keeps running for no good reason????
- Runners have doubts. A lot. So reassure them– but don’t lie or go overboard.
- Listen to them rant when they are injured and can’t run.
- Don’t let them run if they are injured. It is so tempting to keep running– I’ve been there.
- Friends of runners complain that their runners abandon them and don’t hangout with them because they are always running. Here’s an idea– workout with them when they are doing cross training or strength training. You can get face time, quality time, and a good workout in. Win-win-win!
- Offer to pay for a race.
- If the race is for fundraising for an organization, donate and also help fund raise.
- If your runner needs to do a [long] run but doesn’t want to or can’t run alone or carry their hydration, offer to bike alongside them and carry the hydration. A friend did this for me once, when I had to do a 10 mile run while I was out of town and wasn’t familiar with the area.
- Volunteer at your local running club
- Volunteer at races– they always need people at check-in, parking, course marshalls, water stops, etc.
Hopefully these tips are helpful to you in becoming a better friend of a runner. And hopefully your runner appreciates you.
Are there any tips I’ve missed out? Comment below to add to the list!