I love running alone, and for so many reasons.
When I’m out there all on my own, I’ve complete control over my speed, tempo, training plan, starting time, schedule, etc.
With all that being said, I’d also be a complete fool to deny that there’s a lot to be gained from running with another human being.
I’d go as far as to claim that group training is one of the best ways to help improve training performance and consistency.
You know the old saying “Two heads are better than one?” Well, that works very well for running, too.
Yet anyone who has tried it knows that not all running partners are created equal. A running buddy who complains nonstop never goes the extra mile, or doesn’t even bother to show up won’t help you reach your running goals.
To get the most out of the buddy system—as it’s called in the running world, you’d need to find the right person for the job. Otherwise, it’s a recipe for disaster.
That’s where today’s article comes in handy. Keep the following guidelines in mind when choosing your running partner.
The Benefits Of Running Partners
If you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together. This is an old African adage I’ve found to be true in virtually all aspects of life. Running is no exception.
To explore your running potential, peer up with other runners. A running buddy is more than just a friend. They’re one of the most valuable tools to have in your training arsenal.
If you’re still on the fence about sharing the road with others, here are a few reasons to consider.
When you commit to running with another person, you’re less likely to forgo it and slack off because you know that someone else is counting on you to show up and do your best. It might be easier to hold off a planned run with yourself, but it’s hard to blow your running buddy who is counting on you to show up.
According a Kansas State University research, subjects push harder when exercising with a partner they perceive—rightly, or wrongly, regardless— to be a little fitter than they’re.
Pairing up with a faster runner will force you to get out of your comfort zone, which in turn, helps make you a faster runner too.
There is safety in numbers. That’s why if safety is an issue, you need a running buddy. Chances are you can defend yourself against an assault or a wild animal when you got someone with you. A training buddy can also help if you fall or got injured, God forbid.
Asking your family members, as in your spouse or siblings, to join you for a run will bring you closer and provide the chance to bond well.
Make Runs More Fun
Here’s something no one will argue with: the right training buddy can make your sessions more fun.
The more fun your runs are, the more likely you’re going to stay better committed to your training over the long-term.
This ought to be the main reason to run with another human being.
Pounding the pavement can be lonely, so just having that social contact—being able to laugh, support and push—will make your training more enjoyable and efficient.
How To Choose The Right Running Partner
In a perfect world, finding the right running partner should be easy peasy. After all, running is a super popular sport with millions of people engaging in it regularly.
However, finding the most suitable running partner can be quite tricky—especially someone who shares your personal running goals and vision.
But don’t worry about that. Today I got you covered.
Here are a few tips to help you —and be—an awesome running partner.
Before you start asking your friends and gym buddies to join you for a run, know yourself and running profile first.
To do that, answer the following questions as honestly as possible.
- What’s your typical pace?
- What’s your 5K pace ? 10 K pace? Etc
- Where do you prefer to run?
- Are you competitive?
- Do you usually run short or long distances?
- Are you a well-rounded runner?
- Do you like to talk while you run?
- Do you need to listen to music even with another runner? (I do)
- Do you revel running in extreme weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or the extreme heat?
- Do you prefer running on pavement or trails?
- What’s your take on unsolicited advice?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help set you on the right path.
Have Multiple Partners
Committing to an exclusive running buddy is fantastic until they get injured, go away on vacation, or simply get too busy at work, and you’re suddenly on your own again.
That’s why having a few running mates—even joining up a group—is a good idea.
In the world of running, you’re allowed to cheat on each other — no need to be loyal to solely one running partner. It’s an open relationship.
It can also get boring to always run with the same person, which mighthurt your motivation to run.
Variety is the spice of life, after all.
For all these reasons (and so more), have more than one partners for all your running needs as long as they share your visions and are driven as you are to stick to consistent training.
Just as it’s vital to know your running profile and have a few training buddies, it’s also important for your running partner to be at a comparable level to you. An effective running buddy is not only a runner, but also someone who trains at the same intensity as you.
It’s unpractical, and quite counterproductive, to run with someone who is light years ahead or behind you. The risk is that you’ll end up either pushing yourself too much or too little. You want neither. If you run fast and your partner dawdles, someone will have to change speeds.
For instance, if you’re just a few weeks in a running program while your potential running partner is preparing for their first marathon,someone will have to change speeds. That’s not ideal.
Before you make any long-term commitment or plans, make sure to discuss each other’s fitness levels and what both of you hope to achieve.
Look for a training partner whose running ability and fitness level is in the same stratosphere as your own. Be ready to ask—and answer—directions questions about running abilities, training plans, as well as short- and long-term goals.
The previous list of questions can help you determine the suitability of a given candidate.
And don’t overcommit from the get-go. Do at least a couple of easy trial runs before you schedule more workouts together. You’ll discover pretty soon if the other person is reliable and positive (assuming that you’re already such a person), or they’re not the case.
Do Not Compete
This is a mistake I made so many times, especially when I partner up with someone who loves to push the pace.
Do not confuse your running partner for a competitor. If you turn the buddy system into ‘whois the fastest’ competition, you’re setting up yourself for failure. And you don’t want that.
When you try to outpace your partner, you lose sight of training goals and vision, and you deviate from what’s ideal for you. Doing so will sabotage your performance training experience.
Don’t let your ego dictate the pace. It’s not the goal here. Pushing a little bit each other is okay, but outright competition with a clear winner or loser is no good.
Instead, use the time together to help each other through plateaus and work on achieving gradual goals. The only person you should be competing with is yourself.
Remember to listen to your body and stay within your fitness limitations—running too hard too much is counterproductive and can result in injury or accidents. You don’t want that.
Finding a Running Partner
Now that you know the principles of the buddy system let’s look at some of the best ways to find a running buddy.
Here are my best recommendations :
Start with your circle
Ask with your family, friends, co-workers, and gym buddies to join you for a run.
Hit the local running club.
Visit the Road Runners Club of America and check their lists of clubs. They’re all over the country. It’s the ideal resource for finding one in your backyard. Once you join the club, find runners who match your pace.
Check your local running specialty store
In most places, local running specialty stores, along with clubs, are the backbone of the local running community. These often organize group runs, post ads from runners looking for running partners, or do both.
Sniff around at your gym
Some fitness facilities have running clubs or running partner sign-ups. Take advantage of them. You can also ask at the front desk to post a note or add to a bulletin board seeking for a partner.
This is an awesome free resource that can help match up with other runners, no matter where in the world you currently are.
Simply start a conversation with a runner you often see at the park.
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I can’t begin to count the many runs I’d have skipped on without my training partner, especially on chilly mornings when I’d rather stay tucked in the comfort of the sheets than go out for a long run.
What about you? Do you have any running partners?
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below
In the meantime thank you for reading my post.
Keep Running Strong