Runners Need Each Other

So, I have a theory about distance runners and triathletes: we are introverts that have always relied on ourselves and have a hard time accepting help from others. Many of us are very extroverted introverts, but introverts nonetheless. We enjoy solitude and self-reflection. We are introspective and possibly described by others as “deep.” So, it’s no big surprise that we tend to complete the majority of our runs solo. We approach running as we do virtually every other thing in our lives … with discipline, dedication, and great thought. We will certainly go for a social run with another runner or a group of runners and we’ll have a great time, it’s just that we don’t necessarily need that group atmosphere to push us to work on our sport. We’re fine running alone. I must admit; however, getting involved in a connected network of runners has helped me with motivation and inspiration these past couple of years. If you haven’t forced yourself to branch out and run with a group on occasion, or at the very least to forge social media connections with other runners, you are really missing out. Do it. Put yourself out there. Get a group. At some point you are going to need to ask for help and you’re going to want supportive running friends to help you. Trust me. It will happen.

You know how giddy we get when we talk about running? Well, the only thing better than that personal giddiness is sharing it with another giddy runner. How fabulous is it when you find out the person you are talking to is also a runner? It’s simply the best. I become overjoyed! I just want to know everything about their running experience. Do they have a background in running? At what age did they start? Do they race often? How often do they run? Are they training for anything at the moment? Do they cross train? What shoes do they like best? What gadgets are their favorites? Where do they predominately run? Do they trail run? Have they ever completed an overnight relay run? Have they been injured? How do they balance their jobs, families and running? The list of questions goes on and on. I want to know it all. I want to talk about races we have in common. Difficult courses. I want to hear all of their gross running experiences and I’m ready to share mine. The runner bond is like no other. It brings people incredibly close incredibly quickly. It’s quite astonishing how profound the bond between runners is, and I believe this is in large part because we have similar makeups, personalities, and quirks that make us well suited for distance running.

So, are there common personality characteristics that all of us runners posses? Ask yourselves, do you find that you are any of the following?

  • Introverted
  • Adventuresome
  • Brave
  • A leader
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Decisive
  • Determined
  • Tenacious
  • A Planner
  • Confident
  • Obsessive
  • Masochistic
  • Creative
  • Self-aware
  • Competitive

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this right now, you exhibit many, if not all, of the previous characteristics. I know that I do.

Runners tend to enjoy quiet introspection while running where they can see things in a way they don’t ordinarily get to see them when they don’t have time for them. Additionally, the fact that we will set out early in the morning for hours of running demonstrates that we are comfortable with some solitude. Runners love to see new things, period. They are explorers, enjoying the outdoors and appreciating nature. They are risk-taking adventurers that love the feeling of movement. Runners are brave, and they are leaders. Runners are goal-oriented and decisive. When a runner makes up her mind to do something, she goes after it with all of her heart and soul, for she possesses great determination and perseverance. Runners are tenacious, approaching difficulties head on. Runners are planners and they follow through with their commitments. Runners are confident and they rely on themselves to get through tough times. Runners are constantly learning to block out the emotional aspect of pain, and this serves them well in their day-to-day lives. It’s not that we are necessarily masochistic, it’s just that we have learned to soldier through discomfort and not only continue to fight, but keep coming back for more. Runners are also creative and wistful and are probably the most self-aware people on the planet. We spend a lot of time thinking while running, and so we know ourselves pretty darn well. I have met enough runners by now to know that we all pretty much fit this above description, so it is only natural that runners would make great friends to other runners.

Because I am somewhat introverted, it took me awhile to convince myself that running in a group setting and forging friendships with other runners was a good idea. Additionally, because I tend to be very self-conscious and insecure, I was scared to death to run alongside others. What if I looked stupid? What if I ran way too slow? What if my heavy breathing was really annoying? What if I needed to blow a snot rocket out of my nose? What if, what if, what if? Honestly, still to this day, I cannot run a normal run alongside other runners unless it is a race and I have my earbuds in and I am completely detached from the other runners. This is the only way I can normally run. But over the last two years I have invited others to share runs with me and I have attended group social runs. I have forced myself to do this for many reasons. First and foremost, I enjoy a challenge and I know that forcing myself to run with others will ultimately make me a more confident, capable runner. Well, maybe some day. For right now, I’m still a nervous ball of awkwardness every time I run with others. Do my fellow runners think I’m a total spaz? Who knows. Probably not. I’m sure I’m magnifying things. But, I know for sure that there’s just something about sweating and pounding the pavement side by side that allows for intimate conversation and instant camaraderie. It is rather like  a sort of communion, like sharing a meal; breaking bread. The shared participation fosters fellowship.

But there’s a more important reason why I feel it necessary to share runs and have connections with runners; it is because running is hard and it’s nice to have camaraderie with those who know exactly what this means. Sometimes I lack inspiration and motivation and I can draw from my running buddies’ good mojo. Sometimes I’m the one offering the good vibes to my runner friends. Sometimes I’m in need of advice. The bottom line is that runners need other runners. It’s as simple as that. We need each other. We belong to a select club that not many people understand. Running, more than any other sport, allows the intensity of a relationship to come through.

So, if you haven’t already, join your local running club. Take part in group social runs. Make social media connections with other runners. Share your running passion with others.


20 thoughts on “Runners Need Each Other

  1. Yes! Great post! I’m definitely an extroverted introvert. I can express myself well and get along well with people, but I need my reflection time, and chances to be alone and think.
    All those things you mentioned as runner characteristics…I have all of those. I took a personality test once and was labeled (out of 16 possibilities) a hero… I guess that’s what runners like to think of themselves, but what were all capable of, too.
    And I like my solo runs, but being there with and for other runners is an experience I look for as I can.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent post. And I’m pretty sure you’re 100% right on the money about each point. I know for me personally everything you said is true! We don’t have a large running group here. The only really running groups we have are about 30-45 minutes away and I’m not able to make their meet ups. It kinda stinks. Because, I’ve been wanting to enhance my running with friends! Maybe find some fasties to encourage my speed or some relaxed runners to enjoy conversation. I did try to start a group but I guess our town is too small?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading it & for the sweet compliment! That’s too bad the social runs are so far away. I hit a social run that is 20 minutes away … that’s doable. I sometimes meet in town (about 45 min. away) but I can’t do that too often & I don’t like to do that at night. I bet you could get a club together. Keep at it. If I lived near you I’d be in your club!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this and totally agree! I need to find a running group soon as I continue training for my first chevron marathon. It’s helped finding runners on Insta, but it would be great to find a group. Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! You totally get it! Are we friends in Instagram? I hope so! Sometimes it’s hard to tell w/ names/usernames. CHM sisters in the house! I’m @densfarrar on IG. I’ve been talking to other Houston IGers about a group run soon. Let me know if you’re interested.


  4. This is spot on! I haven’t ran with groups, and definitely prefer to go solo until race day, but I have met so many fellow runners through social media and it’s refreshing to see others who are just as determined (and perhaps crazy?) as I am about this activity! Well written, great read! Happy running! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So your first paragraph summed me up perfectly. I was reading it thinking, “Yes. . .yes. . .yes!” I LOVE my solo runs. But, I’ve been contemplating getting more involved in a running group lately. This was helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m only new to enjoying running and you are totally right about my character and that I prefer to run alone to think things through and go at my own pace. I will take this advice as I enter into my first 10km and hopefully meet more inspiring runners 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, I can totally relate to that. Whenever you feel ready, do it. It will help you to maintain the momentum you’ve got going. But always take the time to enjoy your solo runs. I’m certain there isn’t possibly a better way to clear the head. Good luck on your upcoming race!

      Liked by 1 person

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