Amber Goguen, health-conscious writer and published poet, asks us how we interact with other runners and implores us to show some love (or at least acknowledgement)!
“A warm smile is the universal language for kindness” – William Arthur Ward
This we know to be true – every challenge we face in life, whether detrimental or momentary, can carry less of a burden with the support of another person. If it is simply a friend purchasing you a cup of java when money is tight, or a stranger letting you go ahead of them in the grocery checkout queue, kindness unifies us and reminds us that we are not alone in life.
We have justified through previous articles that running can be a challenge for most (If someone tells you the opposite, they probably have a lying problem and they must not be trusted). Many challenges can encompass the runner’s world, such as achieving goals (running for an hour straight, or running that extra half mile), acquiring health related goals (losing that extra four pounds, or overcoming asthma) and overcoming physical barriers (experiencing sore joints and feet).
Support systems for runners are typically in the form of joining a running team or group. The question is, as most groups meet only on a weekly basis, where is your support during solo runs? From experience, a lonely run is the kind of run that requires a substantial amount of support. When I meet up with my running group on Wednesdays, it consists of all smiles, gentle panting, and a “can do” attitude that reigns for the hour. When I run by myself, the urge to quit when things get sweaty or when muscles start burning is 100 times stronger. What can we do to build a support system when no one is there to support you?
The remedy: An act of kindness from another runner experiencing the same obstacles that you face. With gorgeous summer days such as this, encountering other runners on your jogging path is probably a frequent occurrence. Just to be clear: we are not suggesting that you offer sweaty, panty hugs to every runner you encounter, while having a heart to heart about how much courage it took you to get off the couch today. Keep the physical manifestation to yourself and give off the best universal message of kindness possible: a smile. Who doesn’t love being smiled at? You can easily make a stranger’s day simply by shining your pearly whites and curving your lips upward – how simple, right?
Your challenge this week during your run is to smile and acknowledge other runners you encounter. Add a slight wave or a high-five to it, if you’re feeling brave enough. I can guarantee that your mood will increase just by showing kindness to someone else in your shoes (quite literally - everyone has my Nike Free Runs these days). Enjoy spreading kindness!