Social media is everywhere! I am slowly coming to terms with this. Today I even bit the bullet and signed up for twitter (@jen_perrault). As I creep facebook and sign up for twitter, I can’t help but notice that an overwhelming amount of my friends are runners. My home page on facebook is usually being blown up by posts about running, lifting or nutrition. This hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I am encouraging all the athletes that I work with to become well rounded, multifaceted individuals but do I need to broaden my horizons? As I look at all my friends who have posted on my wall, every last one I have met through sports and most of them are runners (other than my mom, which makes me feel even more cool, love you mom!). When I think about it, hands down, some of my favourite people are runners.
What is it about running that harnesses this runners bond? Well I had to put some thought to this. When I work with runners on mental performance, one of the first questions I ask is why running? Why put yourself through the gruelling task of repeatedly putting one foot in front of the other through pain and discomfort to only end up right back where you started your run? Why push through all the pain and discomfort that comes along with it, why put on your rain gear and head out in the worst weather when you could be in the comfort of your own home in front of the TV? I get multiple answers to this question. One of them relates to the state that runners enter while running and I have touched upon this in my article on flow (Read: Going with the Flow).
Another common answer relates to the feeling of knowing that you have challenged yourself and pushed your limits. Believe it or not, a lot of people never get to experience this. After all it is the comfort zone, why leave it? Running gets you so far out of your comfort zone that sometimes you can’t even think straight.
Pushing your limits and striving to run a little bit faster or a little bit further is extremely rewarding. I think almost every runner can relate to this. However, when your head is down as you charge up a hill, your legs are screaming at you to stop and you’re trying to figure out if anyone else in your running group is breathing as hard as you, they are! This is what forms that bond. Misery loves company! Knowing that your fellow runners are pushing just as hard as you and that you’re in it together makes those last five minutes of your run a little bit easier. Once your run is over and you’ve finally caught your breath, you realize that you just shared a very unique experience with your running buddy. You pushed so far outside of your comfort zone to a place that you may not have thought you could go.
Unless you’ve been there, it’s a very hard place to explain to someone. Enter your running friends, who you can talk to about this place for hours. The bond that forms through knowing you’ve gone to hell and back in good company is unbreakable. So at the end of the day, it really makes sense that runners share a special bond and that a large amount of my friends are runners. Thank you social media for really throwing it in my face!
About the Author: Jennifer is a student member of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association. She works one on one with athletes of all levels and is pursuing her dream career as a Performance Enhancement Consultant. Despite her 5’2” stature, she is also a closet meathead who can be found on cloud nine eating a steak post PB power clean.