Strawberries, grapefruit, watermelon—gang’s all here.
Sometimes you can’t wait for a date, and other times it all seems like a lot of effort. There’s the potential for a huge release of feel-good chemicals. But sometimes, the payoff never comes.
We’re not talking about dating another person. We’re talking about making a date to go on a run. Running is actually all about relationships: The relationship you have with yourself, with your runs, and the community (virtual or IRL) that supports your striding toward the finish line. And just like all relationships, how you feel about running can change over time.
“Getting into running for me in the beginning was, How can I stay in shape and keep my body healthy?” says Social Hour Run Club captain Megan Ono. “That relationship has changed over the course of the past five years.” Namely, running has become about helping her work through difficult life moments, celebrate wins, get to know her community—the place where she runs—by foot, and form connections with people in her run club.
Ono, along with Nike Run Club coach Bec Wilcock, Blacklist LA runner Alejandra Castillo, and Students Run LA director of operations Carla Anguiano, recently sat down for a roundtable discussion with Well+Good Podcast host Taylor Camille, sponsored by Nike at the House of Good in Venice, California. Their discussion on the support systems and motivations that keep runners moving forward are the heart of the latest episode of the Well+Good Podcast.
The benefits that community can have on your running
Community support makes running—and anything else—less difficult
The truth is, running is hard. But having other people be a part of your running relationship—whether they’re running alongside you, or are cheering you on during a race or after the fact—can help lighten the load. Ever gone on a long run with a group and felt the miles tick by so much faster than when you’re alone? That support can bleed over from running into the rest of your life.
“[When] it’s getting difficult, it’s getting hard, we’ve got to remind ourselves that we’re not alone,” says Castillo. “There’s people literally on the sidelines, whether it’s at a race or just in our personal endeavors.”
Community keeps you motivated
Ono points out that being part of a run club can create accountability as well as a welcoming, safe space to run. Data backs up the idea that a running community keeps you active and positively involved in the sport. A 2022 study found that having running partners made people more consistent runners who achieved their goals.
Sometimes all it takes is one other person. When Anguiano started running, that was the “sweeper” at the back of her club’s runs who stuck with her through every mile to make sure she didn’t get left behind. “It was great because I got one-on-one time, but it also motivated me to be consistent with my running,” she says.
For Castillo, she was first inspired to start running by her dad, a marathoner. Once she began pounding the pavement, she ended up running into people she knew in the neighborhood, who’d invite her out to run clubs. “Just, I wanted to run with the group one day, and now they’re helping me train for the next marathon,” she says.
Community reminds you to enjoy running
That external validation can help keep the relationship with running, and with yourself, strong. Reminding yourself that running is something you do for you—and having gratitude for each mile you trod—can keep you striding forward in a way that adds to your life. That’s why Wilcock has a “smile every mile” policy, of literally taking a moment to smile at least once during each mile.
“It’s just short and punchy, but I find that it helps when you’re returning to running, especially if you’ve taken a long break, and the relationship is not that good, you need to enjoy it,” Wilcock says. “So smile.”
Listen to the latest episode of The Well+Good Podcast for more tips that will help keep your relationship with running as strong as your strides.