Your heart is pounding. The sweat is dripping down your back. You breathing quickens and the lactic acid begins to build in your legs. You can feel your body working and you begin to enter that flow state.
This is an especially challenging run and the last thing you’re focused on are other people around you. You’re aware of your body, your breath, and making it through that next mile…maybe just the next step. Then you see another runner approaching from the distance. You feel you don’t have the energy to muster up a ‘hello’. But as you pass, you exchange a nod, a smile, and manage to a small ‘good morning’.
Immediately you’re reinvigorated….reenergized.
Have you ever experienced a moment like this?
A small interaction that leaves you feeling fulfilled, motivated, and part of a larger running community as a whole. I live for moments like these when I’m running and only recently have discovered how powerful they can truly be.
Overall, I am a solitary runner. I like running alone, keeping to myself, and having some time to just spend with my thoughts. I keep my head down (unless I am going by a fellow runner!), my eyes forward, and mostly use it as a time to do some hard thinking. I like this type of activity in a world where we’re always connected, always chatting, and always surrounded by others. It’s my me time. A time of solitude.
I do break away from my ‘me time’ in one way while I run, however. I always make sure to greet fellow runners. This simple gesture takes me out of my head for a moment and reminds me that as runners we’re never truly alone. We’re technically on out there on our own and purely driven by internal motivation and will…but in the grander scheme, we’re part of a larger global community of runners that can relate to us in more ways than we know.
When you partake in a small exchange with a fellow runner, you immediately feel connected. You both know what the other is experiencing right at that moment and you feel less alone in your own attempts to reach your training goals.
I wasn’t always this way, unfortunately. For many years, I really kept to myself while out pounding the pavement. Sure, I would acknowledge another runner if they said something to me. But for the most part I never initiated an interaction on my own.
Luckily, my mindset has shifted over the years and I’ve discovered how powerful a small ‘hello’ or wave between runners can actually be.
As much as, I’d like to say I am highly self-motivated, there are definitely runs where I struggle and feel like quitting from the moment I start. It’s runs like these where interacting with other runners is especially helpful. Sometimes an initial hello leads to words of encouragement, like ‘great pace’ or ‘keep it up’. These sentiments might seem small and insignificant, but to me that provide just enough external drive to give me confidence in my abilities to finish out my run. Hearing kind words, or even just being acknowledged, by a fellow runner fills me with immediate elation. It’s like having your own personal cheering squad or being part of a secret club that can totally relate to the battle you’re fighting.
Even on the days where I am feeling good, energized, and strong on my runs, greeting other runners does something amazing for me. Say I see a runner who seems to be struggling, breathing heavy, battling the heat (or cold), or in some sort of physical agony, a small smile or ‘hello’ can change their whole demeanor.
Suddenly their expression shifts. They perk up. They feel like someone has acknowledged and appreciates the healthful decision they’ve made for themselves to get out there and be active. Knowing that you’ve positively affected them in some way then affects how the rest of your run goes…or at least for me it does.
Humans thrive on communication and interaction. In some way, we’re all apart of a global community and acknowledging one another, even in small ways, on a daily basis can feed our need for human connection. It’s nice to feel noticed, it’s nice to be acknowledged, and frankly, it’s nice to be reminded that there are friendly people in the world.
So next time you’re out on a run, doesn’t matter if it feels like the best of your life or the worst, take a moment away from your thoughts to say hello to your fellow runners. A nod, a smile, and a warm ‘good morning’ will uplift you in way you’d never imagine. Even if it’s not reciprocated, knowing you’re radiating positivity and friendliness will fill you with joy for the rest of your miles. Maybe even for the rest of the day! 🙂
Do you connect with fellow runners (or other exercisers) during your workouts?
Do you like working out with others or on your own?
Have you ever had a positive change in mood just from a small interaction with a stranger?
If you’re ever out in Buffalo and see me running, SAY HI! I’ll always respond with a smile, a nod, or a hello right back atcha! 🙂Stay connected:Instagram: HealthyHelperFacebook: Healthy HelperTwitter: @Healthy_HelperPinterest: Healthy_HelperTikTok: KailaProulxBloglovin’: Healthy HelperShop with me on Amazon. Favorite products, fun finds, and more!