Maybe you’ve fallen out of training and need some help getting back in the groove. Or maybe there’s a really cool race coming up that you don’t want to do alone. No matter your reason, you’ll probably find yourself longing for a racing buddy at some point or another. Unfortunately, many of our loved ones – friends, family, significant others – just haven’t caught the race bug yet.
Luckily, it can be contagious. But it’ll take some work! Here are our tips to convince your friends to run (or bike or swim!) with you – and become race junkies in the process.
What’s In it for Them?
Finding a real, personal benefit for your friend is going to be a lot more convincing than asking “pretty please” over and over. You know your loved one best, so ask yourself: what motivates them? What have they been wanting?
Maybe they don’t see you enough. Training together can be a great time to catch up! Or maybe they’ve been talking about how they hate the gym but need to get in shape. They could be driven by “bucket list” experiences or the excuse for a shopping spree (cute workout clothes, anyone?). Find out what they would get out of it and hone in on it.
What’s Holding Them Back?
Find out and help them fix it! Chances are, their excuses are the same ones you’ve told yourself: you don’t have time, the right shoes, the money to register… Usually, these are just a cover-up for the real reason: they don’t know where to begin! Help them develop a training plan and remember how you felt when you first started; share your story and remind them how every athlete once started where they are today.
Go at Their Pace
This will help with the last point. If you want to train together, you’re going to have to be flexible. Don’t expect them to be able to jump right into your schedule. Plan in advance to find times that work for the both of you. If you’re ahead in your training, plan some workouts without them so you can continue to increase your pace and/or distance, and make the days you train together your “easy” days.
If they’re completely new to running (or exercising in general), they might need to start as walkers. That’s okay! This will help them warm up to the idea of running as they learn that each mile isn’t as long as it sounds.
Bribe and Bet
This is where it gets fun! If you have to sweeten the deal for a particularly obstinate friend (and you probably will), offer to pay for their race entry or a day at the spa if they finish the race. Appeal to their competitive side and bet on who can stick to their training plan or finish first. Or agree to do something they want to do in exchange, even if it means going to that underwater basket weaving class they’ve always talked about.
And find a race that’s actually fun! Do they like to dance? Drink beer? Eat good food or wear ridiculous costumes? There’s a race for just about anything they might be interested in; you might even be able to make a weekend trip out of it!
Hold Each Other Accountable
This will help you, too! Find ways to serve as each other’s motivational coaches. Text each other inspirational quotes and photos (or sarcastic jabs, if that’s more your style); send a photo when you finish a workout to show off and guilt-trip them; make a chart to track each other’s progress with stickers or checkmarks… because no matter how old you are, you don’t want someone to have more gold stars than you.
Introduce Them to Athlinks
You don’t have to convince them alone! Even if they haven’t completed a race yet, help them create a profile on Athlinks.com and follow some friends who are active in endurance events. As an Athlinks member, they’ll be able to view their friends’ race results and photos, receive notifications for friends’ new activity, and even discover events they might like. Being informed and connected is informative and powerful!
Just Keep Talking
There’s no one-size-fits-all trick to convince your friends to race with you. If they’re still not sold from the tips above, that’s okay. You can stop asking them directly, but still make your pitch: casually talk about how much you enjoy running and why; send them articles about the benefits and photos of people having fun on race day. Ask them their opinion on the awesome new gear you bought.
They’ll probably see right through it. But by putting it out there enough, you just might convince them to convince themselves one day.
Give a Pat on the Back
If you have convinced your friend to run with you – even if it’s only once – say thank you! Recognize the effort they put into simply getting out the door and applaud them for it. A simple “good job” can go a long way, especially for the new runner who didn’t think they could do it. Show that you’re proud of them and appreciate them; it’ll keep those good feelings going and encourage them to keep the habit!
Did you successfully convince your friends to race with you or were you a friend that was convinced? What did the trick? Let us know in the comments below!