Have you ever had a conversation with a member who takes part in outdoor running events? You may ask “Why would you actually pay to run that far?” My assumption is most answers will not mention much of running at all. Instead, you’ll hear stories about who’s waiting at the finish line, a personal life event that sparked a desire to do something worthwhile, and the joy in getting together with friends for training each week.
Although it’s declined slightly in the past few years, running race participation has grown by over 50 percent in the past decade according to International Institute for Race Medicine’s (IIRM) State of Running Report for 2019.
Some additional facts from the report state runners have never been older. Primary reasons for participating include betterment of health as well as social connection.
Regardless of the stats, as a health club professional you may let outdoor events pass you by due to the assumption they don’t apply to your business goals. The reality is distance races in particular serve as a primary space for average adults to achieve above average goals years past participating in organized sports. In addition, the organizations who host them do a great job promoting community health and have well established local influence.
Here are a few ideas on how to start connecting your fitness business to outdoor running events thoughtfully.
Become a spectator at a local distance race this season and bring some team members with you.
You can experience the palpable feeling as members of your community tackle a mighty challenge. It will provide a much greater understanding of what your members are working towards in their daily workout pursuits. There is zero marketing or partnership agenda – just have a great time cheering. If you’d like to take it up a notch, runners love a creative sign with a clever saying.
Aim to make a professional connection with a local race organization.
Typically, these organizations are nonprofit and reach their audiences through email to ensure full race capacity is reached. Aside from broadcasting “the deadline is approaching, please sign up,” there is a need for useful content.
Since most of these races are aimed at a local audience, this is a perfect space to communicate the services you have to offer. And not only for runners but also general fitness achievement. If your marketing budget allows, inquire about sponsorship opportunities that come with marketing perks as well as appearance opportunities at the race expo. As a bonus, plug in one of your team members to feature educational resources using the topics outlined below.
Position your team as resources for your outdoor running members in these two areas.
- For recreational runners, improvement is made drastically when training plans are fulfilled. Act as space to hold them accountable.
- Offer a moderately-priced consultation for a “race season evaluation” with your staff.
- Within this session, include a table with weekly tasks and elements to aid in running enjoyment over the season.
- A client can select one option a week and the trainer can get a verbal commitment about strength training and cross training commitment at least once per week.
- Specific race goals should be shared in this space.
Safeguard from Injury and Discomfort
- Regular strength training and flexibility is important if you want to be able to run comfortably for a long time. Your marketing positioning can reflect these benefits and lean more heavily to racing events during the typical season when they occur (March – October).
- Provide some training to your team about the balance in muscle groups important to strengthen for runners along with ideas about efficient exercises.
Your ability to position yourself well among outdoor runners will serve up your fitness business as a go-to for this eager community.
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