By: Jessie Zapotechne, adidas Runners Captain, NYC
Over the past year, we’ve all been through a tremendous amount of change in how we work, live, and take care of ourselves. We have spent a lot more time in isolated experiences and less time around many of our friends, family, and colleagues. It’s shown us how important community is for our physical and mental wellbeing. Having a community means having things like; support, accountability, motivation, good advice, and a sense of universality (not being alone)! When it comes to sports, community is critical to helping you reach health and fitness goals. Teams can push you to work harder, run faster, and unlock motivation that you never knew you had. If you’re not already part of a running or training community, the tips below will help you build one!
What is a Community, Really?
As a coach, community builder, and general people person, I’ve spent a lot of time getting creative about holding and building spaces for people to come together. I believe that a community is a group of like-minded people coming together with shared core values, who give and get energy from the group, and are actively working towards individual and collective goals. A community can be just a few people or many people. And if the community you are looking for doesn’t exist, you can build it!
Tips to Build Your Own Community
Here’s how you can find, be a part of and even build your own community to create space for you and others to be your best selves.
Tip 1: Establish Your Values
Identify and establish your core values. What kind of community do you want to give and get energy from? What are your values when it comes to relationships, social issues, and life in general? What are some of your wellness goals or interests? For example, I’m a woman who loves nature, cares about the environment, and is interested in uplifting and empowering other diverse women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community to get into running. Knowing these values helps me identify what kind of community I am looking for to join, build and share space.
Tip 2: Decide How You Want to Communicate
Identify what platform(s) you want to use to find or build your community. My advice is to keep it simple so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. For example: Choose one digital social platform such as Instagram and one fitness app such as the adidas Running or adidas Training app. You can create all your messaging on the digital social platform and then use the fitness tracking app to keep track of your group’s progress.
Tip 3: Commit to a Schedule
Create boundaries for how much time you want to spend on the digital platform and how much time you want to dedicate to your fitness goals in real life. For example, you could commit to spending three hours one day per week to check in with your group, doing a virtual or IRL (in real life) workout session, and creating a post about it.
Tip 4: Be Consistent
Make sure that you keep your communication and time spent on fitness goals regular and consistent. Small steps consistently add up to something big over time. For example: With your group, plan that you will run together (or on facetime) two miles once per week on a consistent day at a consistent time. On your own, plan to run/walk two miles two other days during the week.
Tip 5: Don’t Forget to Celebrate!
Share your progress of showing up by following or creating a hashtag for your group that you can use to share photos/videos of your wellness journey together. You never know who you may be inspiring along the way! For example, I use the hashtag #girlsrunnyc for my running collective. We share parts of our journey using the same hashtag, and you can find them on Instagram. If you’re using the adidas Running or Training app, you can use the sharing feature to easily post your workouts in your group or on your social media profiles!
Creating or joining a community can be the difference-maker when it comes to holding yourself accountable to your wellness and fitness goals, being inspired or motivated by others, and developing what can result in long-lasting friendships with like-minded people. We can go further together. Be well and keep moving forward!
About Jessie Zapo:
Jessica Zapotechne aka Jessie Zapo, is an art therapist, wellness professional, and running coach based in New York City. She is the founder and coach of Girls Run NYC, a Women’s running collective. Girls Run NYC is focused on empowering women through community and sport, using running as a tool to connect a diverse group of Women across NYC and share the love and light of running to others using a digital platform. Jessie is USATF and RRCA certified and is the Performance Running Coach and Captain for adidas Runners NYC. She enjoys ultramarathoning, going on adventures, and taking inspiration from nature as well as the big city. Find her on Instagram at @jessiezapo.