Tips For Supporting A Friend Training for a Marathon

There’s a lot of information about how to train for a marathon or long distance race, but only 0.5% of the US population will actually run a marathon. For many of us, we’ll know one of those running warriors. Support systems can make all the difference. Use these six tips to support the marathoner in your life and be a part of their success!

Check in on them and celebrate little victories

Mosts people will train for months for a marathon or half marathon. Once the initial excitement of signing up wears off, things can get tough and lonely fast. Check in with texts like “how far is your long run this week” or “I ran a few miles on the treadmill today and thought of you!” Races themselves include a lot of acknowledgement but training rarely does.

A lot of marathoners will celebrate a successful training run by posting their milage on Facebook, Instagram, or a running app like Strava. Simply liking their post is a simple way to say “wow – good job!”

Offer them rides to/from the race

With more and more people signing up for races, many are becoming extremely popular, boasting tens of thousands of runners sometimes! Some races offer shuttles or ride sharing discounts but sometimes there’s nothing better than a reliable ride dropping you off near the start line. Offer to drop your friend off before the race or pick them up after and take that worry off their plate.

Understand their schedule

Running long distances takes a lot of time and requires a lot of sleep. Many runners work their long run in on weekend mornings when they have free time. Going out or hanging out past 8pm might not be ideal. Be flexible with plans and don’t be offended if they decline or decide they’re not up for it. Some runners decide to adjust their diets during training as well. Offer to cook a meal with them or see a movie rather than go to a brewery if that’s more their speed.

Random texts of encouragement

Don’t you love when someone texts you out of the blue to say something nice? (Or don’t you wish it would happen more!) A simple text, especially after a long run or in the weeks leading up to the big race will put a smile on their face and remind them that people care, especially on those lonely miles.

Cheer them on in person!

This is the most obvious way to support a marathoner. Just show up. Many major races now offer apps to track your friends on the course. Post up at a cheering station, along a quiet road, or at the finish and just yell when they run by! Up your game and make a sign for them. You might even start cheering for other runners! Tip: some runners put their names on their bibs so you can encourage them by name!

Ask them what they need from you

If your marathoner friend is a good friend, this is a must. You’ll never know what they need unless you just ask. “Do you need more support? How can I help? Mind if I run a few miles with you?”

Every runner has a different mindset and journey in their marathon training. By supporting them the best you can, you get to be a part of it. And maybe you just might catch the race bug too!