This was my first time organizing a Weekday Warrior event. I was nervous but super excited to see how everything would come together. I started recruiting runners in May (three months ahead) and it took a couple of reminders to get most of the participants to commit. I really enjoyed this part as it was a fantastic excuse to get in touch with former and current colleagues and bosses, old high school friends, exes, team mates, and family members.
Pro tip - you can easily double the number of participants by asking everyone to bring along their friends and partners. Sometimes, you can use your friend’s partners to buy in first and they will do the work for you ;)
One of the most heart warming reconnections was with my former boss who I had not seen in over six months (she was doing a trip around the world with her family). She joined us with her 12 year old daughter who also worked as an inspiration for many people in the group. I also got her a Weekday Warrior t-shirt to persuade her to commit to the entire week.
There was definitely something magical about the first run and I had a blast catching-up with many old and new friends!
During the week I saw all those people that I feel that I never make enough time for. It’s a dream for those who so often find themselves struggling to make time for all those connections they care about while wanting to connect with new people as well. In addition, I had a blast introducing people from very different groups with each other and seeing new, often surprising connections forming during and after the event. How often have you introduced your mom to your boss? It’s risky, I know…
But I won't lie, it was a heavy week to organize everything and do the challenge at the same time. In addition, my achilles ruptured six months prior to the event and I had no idea how it would feel during the week. But it felt amazing, I ran majority of the week and I hopped on a bike to support the craziest in their final kilometres as well. I was surprised to see my ability to run increasing throughout the week. Overall, we ran a very comfortable and steady pace to which my feet just got used to. The intention was never to run fast, but nonetheless I was surprised to see how my healing fastened by our comfortable rhythm. Lastly, the energy that I got from the people showing up and supporting the cause exceeded any tiredness that week.
Each run can look very different from the number of runners to even the routes we chose but that’s okay! It allowed me to connect with various people throughout the week. Each runner made the week special with their participation.
Some absolute highlights from the week
A super 12 year old! - My former boss’s daughter exceeded her own goals each time she participated and gave a big boost of energy to the rest of the runners. Funnily enough, she told us we were too slow. That too gave us extra motivation.
Inspiring people outside the group - My mom shared that one of her clients had started running again for the first time in years after hearing about our Weekday Warrior event. Apparently, she had so much FOMO that she just had to go running more or less immediately. . My goal is to get her to join us next time!
A supportive cashier - After spotting our t-shirts a cashier wished us the best of luck for the remainder of the ‘battle’. This was a truly fun way to connect and share the challenge more broadly with people outside our immediate group.
Reunion with a friend from down under - We had a participant all the way from Australia joining our group as my old high school friend was visiting Finland. We had not seen each other in four years!
Building FOMO - Taking group pictures from each of the runs created some positive FOMO and helped us recruit more runners along the week.
Some practical tips to make your and the participants life easier
- Plan a simple running route with several exit points, which is also easy to access by both public transport and cars.
- Share a few words about the concept before your start.
- Prepare enough time to introduce everyone. For example, sharing even a small fun fact about each individual can make it easier for the participants to connect during the run.
- Warm up together before the run. Sprained ankles and muscle strains don’t belong in this party. Also, looking a bit silly together while warming-up in a surprisingly busy public place can be another great way to connect and share a laugh . ;)
- If you have a wide variety of runners with different fitness levels , you can ask for their goal for the run and explain that there are several “exit points” along the way. What worked during this challenge was to tell everyone that we’re going to take it super easy for the first couple kilometers and then continue with a faster phase after point x. This can feel like a lot of extra work but setting the expectations at the very beginning makes a huge difference.
I will be organizing another running week in November which is one of the months with the fewest amount of sunlight in Finland. I will join forces with a new friend that I made during the August run to make it a bit easier to arrange everything during an otherwise busy period. Plus, I’m super excited to see the group growing! If you are interested in organizing your own event and have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck warriors!