Endurance athletics is mostly a solitary sport and that is both its greatest and worst attribute.
Success rises and falls on the efforts and training of a single person…YOU! There is no team effort. There is no having a bad day but still winning. You are either ready to perform or you do not. There is only your face staring back in the mirror of self reflection. This is good and bad. I believe a certain type of person is attracted to this type of sport. I would guess most endurance athletes, both pro and amateur, have loner or reclusive tendencies. I know I do. I love being on the trail or road alone. I love only hearing the sound of my breathing and feeling my heart rate pounding in my ears. This also makes “putting ourselves out there” difficult too. Most of us would likely be very negative about our performances if asked. But that doesn’t make for great content on our social media channels. We engage online reluctantly, but we do it because it provides an easy social outlet.
Don’t get me wrong I am not anti-social. I am in a very healthy relationship with my girlfriend of four (4) years. I have a handful of very close friends which is my core group. I have a wider circle of casual acquaintances which are further subdivided into groups such as run club, parkrun and social organizations like Rotary. But my core group can be counted on one hand. I enjoy the weekly diversions and sense of competition provided by the group runs. I enjoy the occasional training runs with my close friends. I enjoy the creative release and expression social media provides me. But….well you know.
The other problem with endurance athletics is there is no simple training regimen. We all have different bodies, different strides, different foot falls, different digestions issues, etc. We have to worry about our nutrition which is fuel for our runs. We have to mix up our training with short runs, long runs, slow runs, fast runs, and sometimes fast-slow-fast runs. We worry about doing too much of one run and not enough of another. We worry about the proper order of training runs. We worry about target training like elevation, heart rate, cadence, and VO2 Max. We constantly critique our form. Work and rework our nutrition. Don’t forget about strength training. You cannot neglect your trunk strength. Then there is stretching, yoga, foam rolling, compression recovery, active recovery, ice baths…Shit I’m not doing enough to be successful!! Sorry about that where was I, yes we read a lot! We consume information voraciously about other people’s success, training methods, new gear, nutrition, hydration and race strategies. After all of this, we are still never happy with a performance. There is always a reason why we didn’t have a better time or log more miles which requires more of the above.
Cue the BibRave Pro Ambassador Program.
I am officially six (6) months into my first year as a BibRave Pro. This has been the most fun I have had as an endurance athlete. Being a BibRave Pro means learning about new products that help you succeed or help you look good while doing so. It means running new races and interacting with new race directors across the country. It means a community of support from other endurance athletes. It means a community that celebrates your successes and provides support in your failures. This support helps bring us into the online media more comfortably. In six months I have participated in four race campaigns and four product campaigns. It means mentorship in branding and marketing. You learn about effective social media influencing. There is a dedicated support staff that actually cares about you as a Pros. Through their guidance engaging via all social channels becomes fun and creatively fulfilling as you watch your audience grow. Most of all we are all having fun! You want to interact with the community of Pros. Their dedication and drive is infectious. They push you to be better at your craft. The community of Pros provides a safe place to express yourself, to grow and learn.
Although it is virtual, being a BibRave Pro is a real connection to a real community of athletes. My core group has grown as a result. We can all use more of that.