What makes Black Girls RUN! run? Our Black Girls RUN! Ambassadors. With more than 190 ambassadors across the country, these women are responsible for bringing BGR! awesomeness to cities across the country! Not only that, they inspire women in their community to hit the pavement and rep BGR! every dang day! Want to know more about the ambassadors in your city? Welcome to our new “Meet Your Ambassadors” series! Each week we will feature ambassadors from our groups to help you learn a little more about who they are and why they are passionate about the work they do!
How do you motivate the members on the page to get started?
Marshelle: I am regularly doing checks, asking where the newly added members are, how are they doing as it pertains to why they joined Black Girls RUN!, and what we can do to help. I suggested to a member (who was negative at times) to begin posting a weekly Motivational Monday post with a graphic to get us going. We would then add our activity for the day—group or individual. It was difficult getting everyone to embrace the idea of not creating their own post with several photos, but most have gotten the hang of it. Now on Mondays, we can look in one place and get all the motivation we need to get active.
Elizabeth: Keep an open dialogue and celebrate small successes as well as big ones. I offer to help newbies with breathing and form.
Roberta: Consistently post my runs, announce "walkers are welcome" for my official runs and use any form of motivational "talk" (pictures, stories, quotes, etc.).
Candice: I use a monthly reminder of goals/vision board updates. It helps to encourage new members and remind existing and active members.
Marshelle: Don’t neglect the warm-up. It is the difference between a long, healthy, active life of running and one that could be shortened by injuries. For those who need to lose weight before progressing to the challenge of running, I encourage them to walk for a month and then begin walk/run intervals, beginning with brief run sequences and cooling down completely before running again. This will allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment as the trim down for healthier running. (I used this method to lose 40 of the 69 lbs I’ve lost).
Elizabeth: Compete with yourself while practicing and compete with others in a race.
Roberta: Stay consistent; have a goal and write it down; be patient with yourself and your body; do not compare yourself to other runners; if possible, find a partner to help with accountability; have fun and celebrate your walks/runs
Candice: Use your own intuition of your body and do what works for you. It is sometimes intimidating when you first start to see ladies that have been doing it for months or years and think, "Why bother, I can't do that!" I would like to share that 98% of those fast, active ladies once had that same concerns about their ability. Grab an accountability partner and get started TODAY!
How you encourage advanced runners to get to the next level?
Marshelle: I remind them that we who are behind are proud of them and we are cheering from the rear. When they are training at night, I track some on Road iD breadcrumbs, and sometimes, I drive out and make sure they are ok, bringing water and sports drinks. I also encourage them to cross train for added strength and endurance. I invite them to water aerobics to increase their cardiovascular endurance. I have done a brick (run, bike) while one distance runner was training so she wouldn’t be alone. Finally, I have joined some advanced runners for at least 4 of their many miles on a few occasions.
Elizabeth: I strongly recommend speed training and taking the lead at runs.
Roberta: Stay focused; make sure your goal is realistic; what is their fear? (if any); try to find others that accomplished what they are trying to accomplish and get advice/tips; make sure their confidence is in check, mentally and physically
Candice: I push advanced runners in friendly competition. I have challenged them to go harder and go faster. With that we have gotten PR's in longer and shorter distances. Even in practice runs, I say lets go for an 10 minute mile, a 9 minute mile, 8 minute mile. etc. (We have also been talking about getting a specific time and date for speed training or for longer runs - ultra distances).
How did you feel the moment you left your first BGR! run?
Marshelle: Accomplished! It was my first time running the entire 3 miles!
Elizabeth: I felt encouraged within the group although I enjoyed running solo. I told anyone that was willing to listen about BGR!.
Roberta: I felt really good. Although there were only 3 BGR! ladies at this race, they made me feel welcome and truly part of something special.
Candice: Excited. My first BGR! run (practice or formal race) was the Glow Run last November. It was amazing to see so many women of color excited and engaged in fitness. After we went to Fridays and just had the best time in friendship and fellowship. I left that run feeling encouraged and motivated. As I celebrated my one year BRG anniversary this weekend, I look back and attributed my success in running this year to the welcome I felt that day and the way I felt after the run.
What do you say to ladies right before a big race?
Marshelle: I remind them to “Run Their Race”, finish strong, smile for the camera and have fun! I also remind them that “No Woman is Left Behind” and BGR! will be waiting at the finish line.
Elizabeth: Breathe, you got this, see you at the finish line.
Roberta: "We got this!" "Run smart and have fun
Candice: I say a prayer for their limbs and their mind. The mind is most often less willing than the legs. I also say its not the end of the world if you have to take a walk break just don't do a "lovers stroll" and see you at the FINISH line.