This morning while weight training I noticed a strong runner cranking out a fast pace on the treadmill. I noticed her out in the hallway after the workout and complimented her on the pace she was hammering. “Are you training for something?”
“Chicago Marathon this fall,” she smiled.
We walked out of the fitness center together and I mentioned that my fiancee is struggling with an injury to the piriformis muscle. “That’s a tough one,” she replied.
Then I mentioned the massage therapist who works on both Sue and I.
“I’ve been looking for a good massage therapist,” she replied. “I just moved here six months ago and I want to find someone who works on athletes,” she told me.
So I stopped and we exchanged cell numbers. Later that morning I sent a text to share the contact information for the massage therapist.
It makes me feel good to share a reference like that. Our massage therapist is an Ironman athlete and USTA Certified Triathlon Coach. She knows how to work on athletes and could be a great resource for a dedicated athlete like Kim.
Over the years I’ve referred many athletes to known contacts. That includes a pedorthist I use for orthotics, the bike shops where I buy equipment and get mechanical work done, and running shops where one can trust the advice of the people fitting shoes or conducting a treadmill analysis to check form.
I also appreciate good advice when it is given to me. People typically love to share good experiences and will warn you about the bad ones if you ask. It’s all part of the endurance athlete network.
So it helps to be friendly and talk to people at the club or group workouts. Had I not blabbed a compliment to the runner named Kim at this morning’s workout, the conversation would not have begun at all. You don’t have to be obnoxious about it. Just say something nice, or ask about their workout. Most people are more than willing to share or talk about their training. And when you’re in a group or club, your network can ‘go exponential.’
You can find a good coach that way, or a training partner. And you might even find a life partner of some kind. I’ve known more than a few athletes who met the person they love by smiling and asking for a little bit of advice, or dishing out a small compliment.
There are all kinds of advantages to networking. It can happen anywhere. At the coffee shop when you notice a person in an Ironman cap. At the grocery store or the athletic club. Just make it a part of your endurance athlete life to say hello. And grow your world.