Trust in Community: How Two AR Members Boosted their Running Motivation with Accountability Groups

Your running shoes have been staring at you for days. You just can’t bring yourself to lace them up and head out for a run. Why are some people able to make running a regular part of their routine while others struggle with it? There are a million factors that affect your motivation level, but there are also some strategies to make it easier to stay committed to your goals. adidas Runners (AR) accountability groups have been established around the world for exactly this purpose.

Nabila Sam, AR Kuala Lumpur Captain and mentor, and Alia, one of her mentees, shared their experiences in the regional accountability group during a 4-week training plan with one common goal: for every member to run their best 30 minutes in an AR adidas Running challenge.

What are Accountability Groups?

adidas Runners accountability groups are designed to bring together local running communities and create a sense of belonging by pursuing a common goal while supporting participants on their journey to build healthy habits. By training together, members hold each other accountable for the commitments they’ve made to their health and fitness.

Accountability groups have a mentor who acts as both a coach – encouraging runners to push themselves – and a buddy or cheerleader – offering emotional support when group members, or mentees, face challenges and setbacks.

4 Weeks of Commitment to One Goal

Read Nabila and Alia’s diary entries on the ups and downs of their 4-week training program:

Week 1: Nerves and New Experiences


I was a bit nervous at the start of the week because this is my first time leading a training plan virtually. I noticed an influx of new followers which boosted my motivation to lead the group to do their best 30-minute run. Let’s do this! Trust your motivation!

It was frustrating to not be able to gauge whether people were fully onboarded with the plan, but I powered through it. Doing things virtually has always been a weakness of mine. I was surprised to see that I actually enjoyed the whole process knowing that it benefited the community.


Ran 4.9km during the time trial and was very satisfied with the distance since I haven’t done a time trial for quite some time. Not going to lie, it was hard running alone, but before the time trial, Nabila was an amazing coach, providing guidance for me. This really helped me to stay motivated and focused. 

Accountability is the key to success in any area, especially in running. Having an accountable mentor has definitely helped me to boost my confidence to achieve my goal. 

Week 2: Lessons and Accomplishments


The group ran their one-mile challenge and did great! 

We incorporated speed, strength, and mobility workouts this week and they are progressing well so far. Looking at their amazing results and motivation made me more motivated to continue leading this group.

I was unable to post some lean/ mobility workouts as guidance for my accountability group. I had to direct those who asked about it to some lean mobility workout videos that I found online. I felt like I let the team down. They were very understanding, which made me realize the importance of the elements of respect and understanding within a community. This experience has helped me be a better mentor.


I successfully ran 7:35 mins in the 1-mile time trial. I strongly believe that the speedwork session and strength training in the training plan definitely helped me build my confidence to run. It feels great when I complete each day’s plan and this proves that with hard work I can reach my goal. 

Week 3: Frustration and Anticipation


Conducted my first live session ever on the AR Global page for the Trust your Recovery session co-hosted by Coach Youska. What an achievement!

Current challenge? It’s the start of our fasting month for us Muslims. Fasting until race day is tough. However, we took it in stride and adapted our routines around it by adjusting our training time and the intensity of the workouts. We learned a valuable lesson through this journey: when in a difficult situation, with motivation and the willingness to learn and strive, we are able to adapt to achieve our ultimate goal!


Week 3 was a little bit rough for me – especially the speedwork session. I was motivated at the beginning of the week to push myself to the limit and see the progress that I have made these past weeks.  

I struggled to complete the speedwork session because I was running too fast at the beginning, which caused me a little discomfort in my leg. I followed the guides from Coach Youska and Nabila regarding recovery and my leg felt much better. 

I learned not to start too fast during speedwork or else I might suffer later. 

Week 4: Accountability and Success


We’ve finally reached judgment week. Everyone was ready to run their best 30-minute run! Last-minute tips were shared on nutrition, rest, and recovery as well as racing strategies. 

So we ran. We ran our best 30minutes run. And we soared to the finishing line! 

Results poured in. Everyone was satisfied with what they’ve achieved. I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the weekend, looking at all the amazing achievements, knowing that I played a part (however small it may be) in making that happen. I’m one happy, content, and proud captain. 


I managed to run 5.4km in 30 minutes which was beyond my expectation.

Through the 4 weeks of training, I saw what I can accomplish when I combine hard work and desire with the right training program. As my mentor, Nabila held me accountable and gently pushed me when I needed it. This inspired me to stay on track and focus on a goal that I am so proud to have achieved. 

Top 3 Benefits of Accountability Groups

Studies show that working out in groups (in person or virtual) has benefits that extend far beyond just your physical health. Regular group exercise stimulates your mind, increases your enjoyment, provides support when you are struggling, and builds a sense of community and belonging. (1

1. Guidance from a Mentor

Many people run into roadblocks before they even get out the door. How should they get started? Where, when, how far should they run? Research indicates that fitness groups led by mentors see greater improvement and retention rates. (2)

2. Community Support

Running alone has its benefits for some, but enjoying the support of a strong, encouraging running community is what keeps many runners focused and committed. Mentee Alia told us how running was a lonely sport for her until she joined AR Kuala Lumpur in 2018. With the support of the group, she now feels inspired to chase her running goals and knows that they always have her back. 

Did you know?

A 2017 study published in the natural science journal Nature Communications showed that exercise is socially contagious. Whether your running community is virtual or not, belonging to a group in which people share their achievements and inspire each other has a direct impact on physical activity levels.

Accountability group mentors create a sense of belonging. Nabila takes the time to get to know her mentees. “I want to really understand their goals, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.” Knowing this, she can facilitate discussions among the members to create a safe environment where they feel comfortable sharing their goals and fears.  

3. Butterfly Effect: Running Motivation 

How does an accountability group keep you motivated? Each mentor has a different strategy. Nabila believes in the power of positivity and the butterfly effect. By instilling her mentees with positive energy, their motivation will increase, and they will hopefully spread it to others. 

AR Captain Nabila

Like many of us, Alia is back to running alone during the pandemic but stays motivated through the virtual running community. She connects with friends around the world in the adidas Running app. Group members also shoulder some responsibility for keeping up the running motivation for the group. Alia’s approach – especially in the virtual community – is encouraging others to join an adidas Running challenge or to create their own. 

Mentors need to keep themselves motivated, too, in order to pass that energy to the group. How does Nabila do it? She is driven by goals; achieving those goals fires her up so she can then share that enthusiasm with her accountability group.


If you’re ready to stop staring at those running shoes and start putting them to good use, join a local adidas Runners community or the global AR community today! The global adidas Runners community offers incredible benefits to all runners of all levels, no matter where you are. Boost your running motivation with weekly virtual runs and sign up for our adidas Running challenge in the app. You’ll find an amazing running community of like-minded people who struggle with the same challenges, inspire each other, and share the joy of achieving goals. Get helpful tips to develop healthy habits as well as guidance to keep you focused. 

Find an adidas Runners community near you!

Be part of a group that will support, inspire, and guide you toward achieving your goals. Search for an adidas Runners community in your area and join the global community as well!


Emily Lemon As a Communications Specialist writing for a global community, Emily strives to communicate across cultures. She completed her BA in English Literature at Wheaton College, Massachusetts, which provided the foundation for her journey through a career with languages. After several years of working in the outdoor sporting goods industry, both in retail and as sea kayaking instructor in the US, she expanded her horizons by moving Austria, where she learned German. Total immersion into the German language rekindled her love of the written word and inspired her to complete her MA in Translation from the University of the West of England. Her passion for sports and her love of writing came together in a perfect marriage at adidas Runtastic. View all posts by Emily Lemon