It’s been great working at CARA and finding out all the wonderful things we do as an organization. I have learned a lot about outreach and all the ways we are in touch with the running community. There are many differences in working with runners in this world versus the competitiveness from my old coaching world, but one thing remains the same. Runners who run together stay together.
Every weekend I go to different training sites to meet people, answer questions, or just see how groups are doing. I try to run with as many different people as I can and the one thing that is constant everywhere is that the groups running together are such good friends and running partners and supporters of each other. So many factors play a role here. We have a common goal, we are there for each other during some tough moments (while running and outside of running), and we spend a lot of time together so conversations are constantly flowing and people really get to know each other.
I actually have a friend that I run with, and we call each other running soulmates. We don’t run together every day, but there is not a day that goes by without us reaching out to one another to talk about our running or to check in with the other. This is absolutely crucial to any success I have in running. She holds me accountable. Other people might have a personal coach who can do this for them. Either way, you have this partner (or group of people) who have a similar goal or in the least, know what your goals are. Marathon training is long. Not just the running; yes the running is very long, but the weeks put into the training can be overwhelming. We do an 18 week plan, which is over 4 months of your life, or to put another way, a third of your year. That is a lot of time spent with a group of people. It is fun to witness and even better to be a part of it. CARA has had people get married from situations like this. Best friends are made and a lot of times, a social circle is formed (or beer circle, whatever you want to call it).
Our running partners are just as invested in our training as they are in their own training. Your successes are their successes. We know how important it is to have those people to get you through an 18 mile run. Those same people probably get you through some serious times in your life, as well as lend a listening ear or a helping hand. This is why we are such an interesting group of people. Others think we are “crazy” for running a marathon and “waking up so early on weekends,” but it really is so much more than that. For us, it is a lifestyle, not just training.