Encourage Your Fellow Runners…They May Need It More Than You Think

17 Aug

The other night before going to bed I sent out this Tweet:

“You just never know how much someone else could be struggling. Kind words and encouragement go far. #Perspective”

It got reTweeted. A lot. Apparently, there were lots of other people feeling the same way I was.

Often times, I send out Tweets like this as a result of something I have seen, witnessed, encouraged of others, or done for others. This Tweet in particular hit closer to home, as it was something I personally experienced. A friend of mine gave me some encouraging words and I am quite certain she didn’t even know I needed them.

Its time to get real…I have been struggling lately with my running…a lot. I won’t say that I am in denial that my running is coming to an end, but I can feel it tapering off quickly. My runs are getting much more difficult and where before I was limiting myself to no more that two days of running in a row, now I am down to every other day. I am thankful for every single day that I get to run.

The other day before Happy’s Running Club, my friend, Theresa, said the nicest thing to me right before we got started with our run. I do not remember what she said verbatim, but she casually mentioned how good it was to see me out at running group each week and that I seem to be glowing more and more as each week passes.


I needed that. Badly. I needed the encouragement. I needed the extra little push to just keep on showing up. It is getting so much harder these days and it is so easy to find excuses as to why I shouldn’t go run…which REALLY bums me out.

I try really hard to put on the happy face and make it look easy. I assure you…its not. It is getting hard on me physically, and even harder on me mentally and emotionally. I know it sounds selfish and like such a “sacrifice” that seems so easy to make. Those on the outside are probably thinking, “How can she even consider not running a ‘sacrifice’ at all!? This is her CHILD she is talking about!” It should be so easy for me to think, “I am pregnant…its okay to not run, right?” But it isn’t easy. When you associate yourself with something you love so much, it isn’t easy to just put it aside…not even for a few months. Pre-pregnancy, I was running 30-40 mile weeks (if not more) and I loved every single minute of it. I feel so ashamed that I want to put the death grip on that level of training and not let it go.

I get frustrated when I go to my running groups these days. I want to be able to run FAST again. I want to be able to push out a full-on sprint. I want to still be able to talk full long strides and pump my arms as I run. I want to challenge my running buddies to see who can make it to that next stop sign first. I want to run hard…so hard that I can feel it in every muscle in my legs and core. I feel bad saying that I am jealous that they can all do that and I can’t. I feel so left out and I hate it. Sitting on the sidelines is not fun. While I support my running buddies and know that when the time comes (sooner than my ego would like, I am afraid) I will be the best support sign holder/pom-pom waver/cowbell ringer EVER for them at races, I would by lying to myself if I said that I wouldn’t much prefer to me running right along side of them.

My sweet running friends (those in real life and the awesome ones that I have found in the Twitterverse and blogosphere) keep reminding me that “it is only a short while” and that I will “be back in no time.” But right now, a few months on the bench feels like a few years.

Determined to make lemonade out of lemons, however, I am going to keep letting my friend’s kind words ring in my ears. I am going to make the effort to keep on trying and keep on moving…even if that means all I can do at run group is walk. I need it. I need the exercise and though I would like to think of myself as strong enough to not need it, I DO need the support of my running buddies.

And, of course, I plan on paying it forward. If I can’t push the heck out of myself right now, I can be the Master of Peer Pressure and push the ones around me. Making them better will only make me work harder post-baby to catch up with them. And I assure you, I will catch up with them.

How do you feel when someone randomly encourages you? How do you make the effort to support others…especially your fellow runners?

15 Responses to “Encourage Your Fellow Runners…They May Need It More Than You Think”

  1. I loved this post, because i feel the exact same way. I’m 19 weeks along and miss running so badly i can’t stand it. Thank you!

  2. karenjanos at 8:31 AM #

    Don’t you dare feel bad that you want something (like running) for yourself while you’re pregnant. Just becaue you’re an expectant mom does not mean that you cease to be a person that has needs and desires for YOURSELF!

    As a mom there will be tons of times that you “sacrifice” something for your child. It may be time, it may be sleep, it may be a quiet moment to yourself. It will still be ok to want to run and at times to want to run ALL BY YOURSELF. There is nothing wrong with still wanting to be your own person and wanting something solely for yourself. Taking care of yourself will only make you a better mom! You’ll be awesome!

    • katieRUNSthis at 8:47 AM #

      I just feel selfish. And disappointed. I don’t want it to hurt anymore. I want running to be fun…like it used to. And I know that it will again, one day. I am just impatient. I know that as a mother my time of making sacrifices in only beginning. I know that there are LOTS of them ahead of me. Honestly, I’m still getting used to it. I know that may make me sound terrible, but it is just the truth. I was so used to being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it. The change is humbling.

  3. Reading this was like re-living most of my pregnancy. I was ordered to stop running after some bleeding and I was so upset about it. I stopped blogging and totally avoided all things running related. It was the worst feeling having a part of my identity taken away from me. So I’m really relating to your feelings of being sidelined. But based on what I’ve seen you tweet, you are doing awesome. Even if your running becomes walking and then walking becomes waddling 😉 you are still a runner And I’m sure you have shown plenty of women that it is possible to stay active and be safe while pregnant. You should be really proud of that!

    • katieRUNSthis at 8:52 AM #

      Thank you so much for this. I am just having a hard time coming to grips with “just walking”. I know it sounds utterly ridiculous to some, but I love being outside and pushing my body until it screams at me to stop. Just walking makes me feel slow. But, even “slow” is still forward motion. 🙂 I hope that other women see how important it is to stay active (or at least try) during pregnancy. I don’t know what I would have done mentally or emotionally without it. Especially on those crazy hormonal pregnant lady crying days? 🙂 A good workout definitely saved those days.

  4. Katherine at 9:03 AM #

    Sarah’s comment above about having your identity taken away from you is what I think you’re really struggling with. Though I haven’t been sidelined because of a pregnancy, I know what it feels like to have your sport taken away from you. I am so proud of you for staying active and trying your best every day. It’s great for the baby and it’s great for you. I’m sure you’ll be running in no time post-baby, and you will rediscover all the little joys that pregnancy has sort of interfered with. Hang in there, mama!

  5. Lauren at 9:13 AM #

    Well said. I once spent a race trying to encourage other runners. It was one of my favorite races! It gave me something to focus on besides pace or pain, and I could tell some of the other runners really appreciated it!

  6. Kate @ NaturaStride at 9:29 AM #

    Love this!! So true, Katie. Just last night I was out doing a pretty difficult tempo run, when I passed a guy and he shouted to me, “HEY! Great pace!!” I was shocked and so happy for the compliment that the rest of the tempo run was super awesome! Encouragement totally goes a long way. Will definitely have to pay it forward 🙂

  7. Amanda @FancyOatmeal at 9:46 AM #

    I find the support from fellow bloggers and runners to be completely overwhelming! Seriously, there have been times I have read comments on a blog or twitter and I feel like I might tear up. You never know what it took for someone to show up, so don’t take a smile for granted.

    I find it hard to ask for help when I need it, so that random encouragement means TONS to me. I hope to always pay it forward.

  8. I am with you 110% Katie! I miss my faster running and still get frustrated when I have to walk, or don’t even get out the door. But together we will just keep doing what we can and know that soon enough we’ll be pushing our beautiful babies in our jogging strollers. We’re strong, fit women and we’ll get our fitness back!! Right now, even though we’re running less, our bodies are doing magnificent acts by growing babies!! For now, we’ll just get out when we can and either walk or run and know that every little bit of activity will help with our labor!

  9. adreinne osuna at 11:16 AM #

    I am 24 weeks pregnant, and felt the same way about running. But I am actually loving the walking…getting so much of the same benefits and feelings that come with running. you only have 12 weeks left, plus recovery time, than you and the baby can be out running together, and your baby will love it just as much as you! 🙂

  10. Random encouragement is often the best kind!

  11. Karen :0) at 5:41 PM #

    Girl you inspire me so much! Seriously…when my time comes to have a baby, I hope to have as much running success as you’ve had!! :0)

  12. AJ at 8:05 PM #

    I try to be as encouraging and as uplifting as I can to others because I do believe that little things absolutely can make all the difference. I think people often assume that just because you’re a confident and strong person means that you never need praise or reassurance (or don’t need as much). This couldn’t be farther from the truth and is often the opposite.

    In fact, the reason I started my blog (I promise I’m not shamelessly plugging, this really is relevant!) was because I think there are a lot of runners out there who need encouragement and reassurance. My hope is that it grows into a community for those who struggle with calling themselves Real Runners. My hope is that the blog and my presence on Twitter and Facebook will at least help a few folks out there who might need a little push. What’s been really great has been the response of those who have encouraged me. 🙂

    And a side note: I tried to keep running while I was pregnant but I had such a difficult time with fatigue in the first trimester that I stopped after about 7 weeks. Not only that, but the stress of working and being a student on top of being pregnant was too much for my plate. You are very lucky to have been able to run as long as you did – there is no shame in wanting that for yourself and doing it while you were able (there are also benefits for your baby)! There is also no shame in having to sit out for a while as your baby does that last bit of baking. 🙂

    You will be back before you know it.

  13. Concrete Runner at 12:53 PM #

    Oh hun, I feel ya! When I got to my 3rd trimester, running got A LOT harder. I wasn’t necessarily uncomfortable, but my body just couldn’t “go” like it used to. I thought my running during pregnancy was over – and I’m not going to lie, I was depressed. I LOVE my little girl more than anything in the world and I can’t wait for her to arrive, but until then, I want to be selfish and continue doing something I love so much. I NEED it mentally + emotionally more than physically. I am still “running” – but there is a lot more walking than there is running now-a-days. But, it satisfies that “need” that I have for running. But, I do miss being able to run fast and challenge other people. It’s hard for me to see other people running so effortlessly when I am driving by in my car. Just know, you are not alone in your feelings, and I think you have every right to feel the way you do. I always thought I’d be “that girl” – the one who is still running 5-6 miles every day until she gave birth. Now I am happy to do a 2 mile run/walk (mostly walking) every other day. It’s not nearly as much as I want to be doing, but I know it is the best for me + my baby.

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