The spring racing season is almost upon us! For the next couple of months, runners will be going after their spring goals. Maybe it’s their first race of a specific distance. Maybe it’s a PR. Maybe it’s to pace someone else. No matter what, there is a lot of fun to be had!
But what about those who aren’t running, but are going to the race to encourage their runner instead? We as runners LOVE the spectators, especially our friends and family members. I’ve been fortunate to have some great encouragement along the course and it has helped my races tremendously! Here are some tips to encourage your runner during a race!
Bring items your runner may need. Sure, we runners have our running belts or pockets in our shorts/skirts. However, sometimes things happen and we need backup! Carry a bag or backpack that includes socks, fuel, water, bandaids, kleenex, sandals and any other items your runner may need before, during or after the race. (Note: Some race courses may NOT allow bags or backpacks, especially near the start/finish. Read your race information!)
Plan where you will be along the course. Depending on the course, you may be able to spot your runner numerous times! Look at the course map the day prior and let your runner know where you will be – especially at the finish. If it is a larger race, this will help you find each other fairly quickly. And if you can find a place to surprise your runner on the course (especially a longer race), it may be fun as well!
Snap some photos. We as runners can be a little self-absorbant – we LOVE great photos of ourselves during a race! If you can, snap some photos of your runner as you see them in different locations. You may just get that one shot of an emotional point of the race, something the runner will cherish forever.
Keep things positive. There are moments during a race that can almost knock us on the ground. Hitting the wall, a nagging pain, feeling tired – the list can go on and on. When you see your runner along the course (or talk to them on the phone) – stay positive! Remind them of a great mantra and let them know you are proud. It’s an easy thing to do that will keep your runner going!
Cheer loudly for everyone! Of course you are there to cheer on your runner, but don’t forget about everyone else! Encourage all of the runners on the course by cheering, holding a funny sign or ringing a cowbell. It may just be the little boost those runners need at that point in the race!
No matter how you encourage your runner, know that they are EXTREMELY thankful. We runners know that it isn’t easy for you to get up early along with us, just to be our pack mule, cheerleader and photographer! You are the encouragement we love and need as we chase our running goals!
What other tips do you have to encourage your runner on the race course?
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