I want everyone around me to run! But, of course, not everyone in my life is a runner, or wants to run for that matter. So, how do I contain myself? Frankly, not very well, which makes me a great authority on giving advice on how to keep from turning off everyone around you to running.
1. When you come home from a run, don’t rush around the house and knock on your teenagers’ doors to tell them your mile pace, how you felt when you started, how you felt when you finished, how you ran by their friends’ houses and waved, what color socks you are wearing, and, well, you get the idea. Just run your training runs, record your data on your computer, smile and be done with it. No one wants a daily play by play. If you must, tweet your runs to #running. They will appreciate it.
2. Don’t repeatedly ask everyone in your house if they want to run with you. They KNOW that you would be thrilled if they ran with you, so if all of a sudden, they have the desire to run, of course, they will turn to you as a running partner/coach. No need to constantly ask.
3. If you run more than one race a year, and your children are twelve or older, don’t force your family to come cheer you on! Plan your races for yourself and make plans with your running friends. Occasionally, your family will WANT to come, unless you force it upon them. Then they will never want to come. Don’t add stress to yourself on race day. Your family will appreciate that and when you come walking in the door, they will genuinely ask how you did.
4. Don’t walk around work telling everyone about your workouts, unless they ask. Most people will perceive you as being boastful when you tell them that after work you ran 10 miles because you are training for a marathon and you plan to run 20 miles on Sunday. Yeah. And they will be thinking how they barely had enough energy to make it to their kids’ soccer practice to sit in a lawn chair and watch after a long day at work. Just say you went for a run. If they want details, they will ask. Strive to inspire others, not to make them feel bad.
5. When you go to a party, don’t force running into the conversation. If it comes up, great, share your passion. But, don’t use marathon training as a conversation opener. Most people won’t be able to contribute, so it’s not a great way to invite a conversation. It would be very one-sided and you will come off as boastful. Like at work.
I hope these tips are useful. The thing is, as marathon runners, we tend to become obsessive with our passion. And we are an intense group, talking about our paces, our clothing, our aches and pains, our gels, and goos and ice baths, even our nipples and other personal areas. It’s overwhelming.
So, if your goal is to inspire others to take up running, then introduce them in doses. Encourage 5K training. Share some of your triumphs. Introduce them to a running team. Let them take it from there. After all, if you had known everything that you know now, wouldn’t it have overwhelmed you? If you had known that a shower stings from all of the chafing after a long run, and that you have to sit in an ice bath for 20 minutes in order to be able to walk the next day, and that your car seats will become saturated with your own sweat during your drive home, and that you will be ten paces behind your family the rest of the day after a hill workout….well, it sounds worse than it is.
Don’t force yourself on others. Your lifestyle speaks for itself.