The longer that I run the more I appreciate encouragement from others. It is incredible what encouragement can do for you. It motivates you, energizes you, and causes you to just feel like someone cares.
There are several avenues that can make that happen. When family and friends are at races with their signs and cheering you on during the race, that can be a great lift for you. Phone calls, text messages, emails, websites, also Twitter and Facebook messages within the new "social networking" craze can be very uplifting and fun. What it boils down to is that we all like encouragement. It does not matter what race distance, what event or location, we all like it. Whether we run, ride, or walk, we are all in the same frame of mind when we step up to our training plan for those many weeks or a race that we are competing in. Encouragement gets us going. It's food for the soul.
The other day when I was out running, I ran up behind this man that was walking. I said, "Hi!", to him and as I passed I heard him say, "Everyone is passing me today.". I stopped and turned around and ask him what he meant by that and he said that because he was walking everyone was just going by so fast. No one paid any attention to him, No one said anything to him and no one cared. I reflect back on several Runner's World polls and articles that talk about whether it is "cool" to greet another runner as you pass them. Most polls say that people don't. Personal experience in that area notes that on my runs I greet people as I meet them and many of them just don't respond. What's up with that. Too good? So I would have to agree with this man.
As we walked I asked him how far he was going and that it sure was a great day to be out. He smiled and agreed. He asked me the same distance question and I just responed that I was out for a training run. We talked about how important it was to just be out. Enjoying the nice day and getting some exercise. We finished our conversation because he headed another direction than I did. We said our goodbyes. He turned back and said,"Thanks! Thanks for stopping and talking to me. You have a great day!" I told him to do the same and we just both smiled. He was encouraged. I was encouraged. My stride was a little lighter. The run was more fun that day.
Be an encourager. It makes people feel good! You will feel good too because it will come back to you too!
On a personal note. I had the wonderful opportunity the other day to talk to a group of middle school athletes at a running camp at a town near where I live. I have a great friend that was one of the coaches at this camp and he asked me to say a few words to the group. I kept asking what it was that I should talk about and he said I could talk about anything running related. Well, several things came to mind as I talked to them that day. A few personal experiences were shared. Some nutrition ideas and training ideas also. Most of all I asked them to have fun and to run with a passion and to run with heart. To run with heart and passion is to run with a true undestanding of what it takes day in and day out to be a runner. It was a great experience and my hope is that I gave them something that they can pass on to others someday. Encouragement!
Forward we go! May your roads and trail be happy and safe!