Sometimes it’s gets boring doing the same old run over and over again with your iPod as your only training companion. While music can be a great asset and motivator to your workouts, have you through about running with a partner, friend, or even a group?
Running with a group is sometimes the easiest since most cities have at least one local running group, often affiliated with a running store or health club. If you have never run with a group, you should give it a try. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests, stay motivated and learn new things about running from the veterans, as well as helping out the newbies if you aren’t one. Unless a running group is very small, there are usually several groups of runners from the speedsters, to the average runner, and even the slow back-of-the-packers. t’s not too difficult to find your place and run at a comfortable pace.
Training partners are a different story. Sometimes it can be challenging to find someone who runs that you get along with, has a similar schedule, and is running a similar distance and pace as you. If you are lucky enough to have a running partner there are a few things to keep in mind. Don’t let differences in running intimidate you from running together. Most of these can be handled with simple work arounds. Here are a few examples:
What if I’m too slow?
If you are running with a partner who is faster than you, it can be intimidating at first, but this can be a great pairing. You need to plan out your runs or run ahead of time and make sure to communicate with each other so there are no missed expectations. Your faster friend may be willing to run a slower day just to run in your company. This pairing can also benefit your performance since it will likely push you to run at a faster pace than you normally would.
What if I’m too fast?
Is your training partner slowing you down? Wrecking you plans to qualify for the Boston Marathon? You can learn a lot from a slower running companion. Training at a fast pace every day can wear you out. Even the best runners need a slower day. Look at your schedule and maybe you can work in one day a week that is a slow run you can spend in the company of your partner.
What if I can’t run that far?
Maybe you have a potential partner who never runs less than 6 miles and you have maxed out at 3. First of all, if you can run 3, then you can probably run 4 without too much effort. Perhaps your friend would be willing to run 4 or 5 miles with you for a few weeks so that you can work your way up to 6 and run together? If not, you can always put in a little extra training and in just a few weeks be ready to run with your partner, if even only on their “low mileage” days.
What if I run farther than my potential training partner?
Just like everyone needs slow running days and should not run fast all the time, we all need lower mileage days as well. Your body needs variety and running 10 miles every day is not the best way to do that. See if you can work out a day to run slow and work that into your partners training schedule so you can enjoy each others company at least one day per week.
Whether you have friends who run or not, running does not have to be a solitary sport. Sure there are some days when you are going to want to run solo and be alone with your thoughts. Otherwise, if you don’t have a running partner already, here are some ways to get started:
- On Craigslist, you can search or post under activity partners;
- Check with you local running stores to see if they have a group;
- If your church is big enough, they may also have a running group;
- Belong to a health club? They often have groups to run with;
- Meet people to run with by signing up for and running a local trail race;
- Active club search;
- Running network club;
And finally, if you have no other options, you can start your own running club
Remember: No excuses! Get out there and run together!