When my alarm went off on Wednesday morning, I did not want to get up to run. I went to bed too late and was still sore from a workout earlier in the week. And it was 5:15.
But I got up (after hitting snooze once), threw on my shorts and t-shirt and laced up my running shoes. I was meeting my running buddy, Laura for a run that morning. We ran our usual 5 mile loop and while it was not the greatest run, it was better than I expected when that first alarm went off and I was glad I did it.
A good running partner makes running more fun, more consistent, more challenging, more successful or perhaps just more likely to happen at 5:45am. Finding the right person is not always easy however. It’s helpful to share similar locations, schedules, paces and training goals.
I’ve been pretty lucky to have several pretty consistent running partners who have each played different roles in my running life:
- The Neighbor – Laura lives about 3 blocks away and likes to run in the mornings. We each run about 3-4 minutes to our meeting spot and usually run together about twice a week. Knowing someone else is also getting out of bed around 5:30 those days keeps me from hitting snooze (more than once).
- The Cross Trainer – Shekinah and I were not only running buddies, but swimming buddies, gym buddies, yoga buddies and volleyball teammates. We liked to do all the same stuff, so why not do it together? She holds the record for the most shared workouts; until she left Boston, we worked out 3-5 days a week together for about 3 years.
- The Goal Sharer – Brenna and I had the same time goals for the 2011 Boston Marathon. We ran most of our tempo runs and long runs together, and when we did not run together, we talked about our other workouts during the week. Our runs were fun and friendly, but competitive. We never allowed to other to get to far ahead before picking up the pace.
- The Coach – Jason runs a pace about 1-2 minutes per mile faster than I do. While we would show up to the same training runs, we didn’t spend many miles actually running together. We did, however, spend many hours talking about training runs, how to mentally prepare for the next race or race schedules. Jason even gave up his spot in the 2nd coral to pace me in the 2011 Boston Marathon (where unfortunately, I cramped up and was unable to reach my goal. That’s a story for another day.).
- The Entertainer - Dale and I did many of our long runs together for the 2013 Boston Marathon until he was sidelined with a broken leg. Dale will run any race, under any conditions. The more ridiculous the challenge the more likely he will agree to it, and always with a smile. He has the capacity to tell his stories for 20 miles or more, and since we would only see each other once a week, he usually had plenty of material.
I have been really fortunate to find several great people with whom I have shared many miles over the years. Each of the partners I have run with played different roles and helped me enjoy running in different ways and I hope I have done the same for them. While running may be thought or more as an individual activity, I do not discount the value of teaming up to participate in this sport.
If you have a running group or run club where others can join and meet their next running partner, email me at RunAlongBoston@gmail.com.
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