Just like in business, the key to success in running often lies in whom you know. If you have ever moved and subsequently left behind your favorite therapist or local running shop, you are familiar with the importance of identifying key people and places in your community that can greatly contribute to you having a long and healthy relationship to running.
Lots of runners can’t wait to get their hands on the latest magazine or journal, documenting the hottest practices in rehab, training, and nutrition; but very few actually put into practice what they read. Why?
One of the simplest explanations for this lack of application is that people often don’t know where to go, who to talk to, or unfortunately are too lazy to deal with the hassle of being a “new” patient. After much thought and discussion with various runners in my community and online, here is my top 10 People & Places all runners need to know in their community.
Tip: Get to know these people before you desperately need them, and you will likely receive superior treatment!
1. Therapist (Massage, Chiropractic Care, Physical Therapy)
Finding a “therapist” that works for your body is essential to your running longevity. Most professional runners will tell you that their #1 priority following a workout is to get “worked on”, “get adjusted” or do their prescribed exercise regimen in order to aid in their recovery to tackle tomorrow or sometimes their afternoon session. This is a good time to use your already established contact #2 (a seasoned runner in your community).
Tip: Choose a therapist that is certified in Active Release Therapy (ART). This form of muscle manipulation has proven to be highly effective among runners.
Learn from the pros! No runner is too famous to answer a question, and in fact most seasoned runners will tell you it’s refreshing for them to discuss the fundamentals of training. We all share the common goal of increasing enthusiasm for the sport of running. Check out our interview with seasoned runner of London, Ontario CANADA Lanni Marchant!
3. Local Running Shop
This is your “Running Hub”. It likely has all you need: shoes, apparel, rehab products (i.e. the stick), nutritional supplements, and most importantly information regarding upcoming running events. If you are new to a community, one visit to your local running shop and you will likely walk out with business cards or contact information for the aforementioned “people to know”.
4. Running Club/Team
Joining a local running club in your area or securing a life-long running buddy can be key to ensuring a sustainable running life. Teammates hold you accountable, and if chosen wisely make running much more enjoyable. Research shows that friendships develop faster and become stronger when parties work through adversity to achieve a common goal. Knock out your long run and secure a life long friend along the way!
Having a “coach” can mean various things depending on where you’re at in your running career and what your goals are. While you may not need someone to write your weekly plan and meet you at the track to take splits, everyone can benefit from a sounding board—someone who is willing to discuss training philosophies and help you establish a race schedule for the year. Ask someone at your local running shop or a seasoned runner in your community for a list of potential coaches.
6. Local Yoga Studio
Be sure to choose a studio that supports students practicing various forms of exercise. Better yet, ask around and find a yoga instructor in your community who runs. Go to his/her class and introduce yourself, be sure to tell them you are a runner and would appreciate any hints on which poses stretch or strengthen muscles that are highly recruited while running.
Food is your fuel and therefore plays a significant role in your ability to perform at a high level. Learn what to eat, when to eat it, and how it contributes to your performance. If you’re looking for a way to get an edge on your competition, this is it!
8. Nail Salon
Don’t wait till you’re “toenailless” to discover your local nail salon. Personal experience suggests they WILL turn you away. While it makes for a good story, let me tell you there is NO happy ending. Simple rule: Treat your feet every 6-8 weeks and they will treat you! Blisters, bunions, or ingrown toenails should never be the reason for a bad race!
9. Nearby Track & Trails
Be familiar with the area in which you live. Designate soft trails for easy runs, and scope out the best track for your tough interval sessions. Be clear on when the track is available, and brush up on your track etiquette. Likewise, be aware of when the sun rises and sets and avoid running in the dark. If you must, stay on the roads and deck yourself out in reflective gear. Carrying pepper spray is a wise idea if you live in a high-crime zone or mountain lion region!
10. Sports Psychologist
Your relationship with running is just like any other relationship and requires respect, nurturing and ongoing development. Likewise, you will undoubtedly experience some rocky terrain over the years, so be prepared and get to know a sports psychologist near you before “dirt” hits the fan. To overcome adversity such as a poor performance, or lack of motivation, consult a therapist who offers an unbiased opinion and more importantly an ear to listen.