Radhika Meganathan explores the benefits and ways of training with another runner.
Running is often thought to be a solitary activity that many miss the possibility of running as a couple. The benefits of running with a buddy are many:
- You are accountable. Or in plain words, you are less inclined to slack off! Because you know someone else is now counting on you showing up and doing your best.
- It is more fun! In the absence of a trainer, running with a buddy alleviates boredom and may pass the time better with some conversation.
- In case your training schedule requires you to run outside day light hours or in less-populated areas, it is safer to run with a buddy.
- It can be more economical if you train together, as you can split the expenses of a personal trainer, if you decide to have the same one.
- If you are training with a relative, like a sibling or spouse, training together as running partners will bring you closer and give you regular opportunity to bond well.
Like all successful relationships, training in tandem requires proper communication, care and compromise. If you have found the right running buddy, here are ways you can go about doing it:
- Make sure you both have ‘The Talk’. If you show up with the latest hits of Enya plugged into your earlobes and your running partner that day was in desperate need for some motivating conversation, both of you may be in for some disappointment and frustration. When you are going to spend a couple of hours together every day, or at least every other day, it is best to discuss about your likes, dislikes and running quirks well ahead of time.
- Be ready to make compromises. For example, if you do like to listen to music when running, then you might want to rethink your plan of running with a buddy! But if you really like running with a partner and prefer its pros over it cons, then something’s got to give. It is necessary to make adjustments in your expectations and schedule without resentment, in order to fit your new training schedule in your life; chances are the other person also is doing the same, for the pleasure of having you as their training partner.
- Do not compete! It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking your running buddy for a competitor, but our advice is to not make your partnership a “Who’s the best” competition. Healthy rivalry is okay, but not outright disrespect. You both are running buddies, so don’t sprint ahead and leave your partner behind, unless you are doing a tempo run, where it’s okay to run faster in the tempo portion.
- Be more understanding. Just as in any relationship, you need to sometimes give more than the other person. Do not be scared of training with someone who is less fit or less accomplished than you. Sometimes your training buddy might have some personal or professional issue that has made them slip one more sessions. Talk to them, instead of getting angry or losing hope in them. This is exactly when they may need your faith and belief in them. And when it’s their turn, they will repay the same help, in spades.
- Be there for them outside training. Keep track of your buddy’s important milestones and cheer for them on important running-related events like a trial run, separate fitness goal or even the actual race day. As their running partner, you are uniquely qualified in knowing what their pluses and minuses are, so it may be a great boost for your running partner if you show up on their special day.
Running buddies do so much more than improving running performance. They keep your spirits high even when you want to give up. Acknowledge it, respect it and keep running.