About the author:

Geraldine Farache

Geraldine Farache

Geraldine has experience creating digital and print content across a variety of sectors. She specializes in writing, developing and editing content and copy and has a strong passion for fitness.

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Are You Running Towards the Next Big Thing?

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Humans have been endurance running for around 2 million years, so it's safe to say that running is part of what makes us who we are. This week's blog looks at how businesses can cater for this untapped demographic.

With the London Marathon taking place this week, we thought it was a good opportunity to get you thinking about the extent to which you cater to running enthusiasts in your fitness business and why now is the time to race towards this fitness demographic. 

Over the past two years, the fitness world has seen a newfound passion for the sport of running. As people everywhere attempt to stay healthy and active, many have taken up running to enjoy both the physical and mental rewards it offers. With 4 in 10 people considering themselves as runners, of whom 30% run at least once per week (Recreational Running Consumer Research Study: Nielsen Sports 2021), recreational running continues to gather speed. 

Now that you know recreational running is on the incline, understanding your target audience is the next step. Those aged 25-34 are most likely to be passionate about running, with it becoming an intrinsic part of who they are as people. Unlike other participation sports, recreational running has a near equal gender participation split amongst all running categories. Whatever the demographic, business owners should understand what motivates this group and how to provide the best customer experience. While the biggest factors for running are health reasons, the ability to go at your own pace and not needing much equipment, others run to appreciate the outdoors or to get some much needed ‘me-time’. The great thing about running is that it can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. For a plethora of reasons, it’s safe to say that recreational running is so much more than a way to just burn calories. Here are a few ways you can integrate running into your business. 

 

Organize your own virtual race:

Evolving at incredible speed, the Virtual Race is taking the running community by storm. These races can be run at any location, at any pace, both inside on a treadmill or outside, either alone or with others. As some of your members may find it difficult to physically attend your business because of work or social commitments, virtual races are an awesome way to engage members anytime, anywhere. As well as providing running devotees with traditional virtual distances, such as 5K, 10K, Half Marathons and Marathons, businesses can establish “Virtual Challenges” to motivate and inspire increased participation. Throughout the course of the race, keep abreast with racers’ successes and milestones by sending emails or checking in via SMS. Creating Facebook groups or other social media groups is a great way to encourage a sense of community and belonging amongst members. Supporting and celebrating with your members shows you really care. What greater retention tool is there?! 

 

Start your own running club:

The world-renowned Adidas Runners Group believe that “runners are only as strong as the community around them”. They have built a global network of runners who are united by a common goal: to achieve individual growth and success through the support, guidance and motivation of the collective. This notion of togetherness is something that can be inculcated in all businesses of any shape or size. Use your Arbox platform to review your class schedule and work out when a running group could be set up. Ascertain who would lead this group and use your Arbox marketing tools to give this project some legs! For those who want to run but lack the confidence or know-how, a running group may be just what they need.  

 

Teach your members how to run:

Although running is a great way to stay active, many runners are faced with injury at some point. Although sudden injuries like a torn muscle or sprained ankle can happen, a study conducted by PubMed Central found that more than 80% of running injuries are caused by repetitive stress. Whether Runner’s Knee (patellofemoral syndrome) or Achilles Tendinitis, clocking up the kilometres means that runners are prone to injuries in the knees, legs and feet. As a business that cares about its members, you should be thinking about how to protect your clients. Not only will fewer injuries mean greater retention figures, but providing an exceptional level of support shows that you’re offering a service, unlike any competitor. It’s all very well just “going for a run” but as with all skills, people need to learn how to do something, which in this case, is learning the correct running technique. Consider employing a qualified running coach to teach correct techniques and educate members. This initiative could see your business becoming the ‘Go-To’ place for aspiring runners. Providing this service can attract new members who are keen to improve their technique and train specifically to achieve their running goals. A worthy investment to forge a niche for your business within the industry. 

 

Provide appropriate merchandise:

Have you truly explored the potential of your Arbox in-app shop? You may be supplying some fantastic merchandise but here lies an opportunity to open up to a different market – the runner. Consider stocking a range of running shoes, clothes and accessories so your new-found and reengaged members can look and feel the part. Keep up with the industry trends and be able to provide well-informed advice to those wishing to kit themselves out. 

What are you waiting for? Ready, set, GO!   

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