Friends Who Run Together Succeed Together

Group Running Is The Key To Success

“Sweet baby Jesus, I’m so thankful for her” -Shalane Flanagan

Ever since running track in high school, I stepped away from group training. I put in countless solo miles and pushed my self to my limits…or what I thought was my limits. I trained for my first marathon solo. I ran with just my music to keep me entertained and occupied. I even managed to somehow qualify for Boston while training solo. I continued along this path of lonely miles through 3 marathons, and countless half marathons. Training by myself had it’s benefits, such as disconnecting from me the world (my job, my clients, my to-do lists, etc.), giving my mind the freedom to think (or not think), not having to compete against anyone, and best of all, my run was my own. However, the more solo miles I put in, the more and more I dreaded going for a run. It started getting almost impossible to motivate myself to put on my running clothes and push myself through another round of mile repeats or Yasso 800’s. There was one week last winter that I put in over 80 miles in one week while training for Boston…solo. That was by far the most challenging week of my life, physically and mentally. The Boston Marathon came and went and after not getting the time I was hoping for and trained for, I took some time off from running. I spent about 2 months trying to motivate myself to put on my running shoes again. I just couldn’t. I lacked motivation and drive. That is, until I got more and more involved with group running. Groups provided more than I could ever provide to myself while running solo. Running with people gave me motivation, support, accountability. As a group, you train together, you dream together, you push each other through grueling workouts. If your lacking energy, the group will provide that. You share pain and exhilaration. You share the highs and lows of running and racing. In an individual sport, you become a selfless team. You not only want a personal best for yourself but you want a personal best for everyone you train with. Jake and I started group race training for these reasons. We love the feeling we get from the energy of everyone we run with. We enjoy the smiles and high fives and friendly competition. While we were in week 2 of our Half Marathon Training Program, Jake and I were watching the Olympic Marathon Trials and it was so astonishing to see the support and motivation that each of the runners provided to each other before, during, and after the race. Although they were all there to qualify and reserve their spot on the Olympic Marathon Team, they supported one another. The best example of this was Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan working together to make the Olympic team. Flanagan began to fatigue around mile 23 and Cragg was reluctant to break away from her. During the last few miles, Cragg stuck by her teammate’s side and coaxed her to keep pushing. It was one of the most inspiring and life changing moments that I’ve ever witnessed. Flanagan could not have done it without Cragg’s support and motivation those last few miles. After the race, Flanagan said the following about Cragg: “She’s the epitome of what a friend is. There was a point where I through, ‘I’m dying. I can’t do this,’ and she talked me through it. Sweet baby Jesus, I’m so thankful for her.” That’s what group running does…it makes you feel extremely grateful and thankful for one another. I love seeing other people excel as much as having my own moments. Some people want to be remembered for how many races they won, how much prize money they received, how many Boston Marathons they can qualify for in their lifetime. Me…I want to be remembered for how many people I helped become a better runner, a better friend, a better person. Sweet baby Jesus, I’m so thankful for my run friends.

-XOXO, Coach Erika