I used to abhor the thought of running with someone else. I said I didn’t understand the value, but really I was just afraid of someone being better than me. I didn’t want to slow anyone down or look like I didn’t know what I was doing. One day I had a conversation with myself and told scared Erin to get over herself and that running is not a complicated sport of precise movements. You just run.
Last year, a coworker and I signed up for a half marathon and since our schedules were similar we decided to train together. Soon after we started our training I discovered how amazing it is to run with someone else. I still like my solo runs which I use as a form of meditation, but I’m still kicking myself for waiting so long to bring someone else into my running bubble.
- Partners make a great accountability tool
It is very easy to wake up to a 6:30 am alarm and decide to turn it off. Having set a date and time to go running helps me get out of bed and show up to my commitments. Even if it isn’t first thing in the morning, having made any commitment to show up and run with a partner makes it harder to back out.
- Your performance can improve
Since I end up rambling while I run with someone else, I spend less time combating the mental part of running. The mental is always the first part of running to tell me that I can’t keep going, I need to take a break, I’m going to die, etc. Being able to interact with someone else means that I’m not alone with my sneaky brain who wants to tell me to stop before my body does. I honestly stop paying attention and just run. This means that I am less likely to give up.
Running with someone who is your pace or better can also improve your performance. I have faster mile times when running with someone else than solo. Having someone else there helps me push myself to not give up and to keep up if I feel myself slowing down.
- Partners are great for conversation
I have learned that I like to take my long runs with someone else. My shorter runs are fine solo and have a nice meditative feel to them. Once I start going longer distances, I can start getting bored and then start fixating on how much longer I have to go. That, in turn, leads my brain to start telling me to stop or wrap it up earlier.
When running with a partner, the time flies by because we are talking about whatever comes to mind. One of the fastest ways to get to know someone is to run with them. All there is to do is talk. I can tell you from experience that those hour plus runs fill up with all sorts of random conversation and you can learn a lot about someone else.
- It is safer
This seems like a no brainer. I used to do a lot of running on a trail that stretched across Virginia. A lot of it was busy and near population, but some parts cut through the woods where there were not a lot of people around. There were a couple of times when I didn’t pay enough attention to the time and ended up running back in the dark. Another person can help if someone gets injured or attacked by zombies (although I don’t know how much help they can offer unless they have a shotgun. Zombies are vicious).
- Partners are great motivators
Closely tied to accountability and improving performance, a running partner is someone who helps support you in your goals and will help you believe in yourself. Both of you are working to improve your health by doing this activity, so of course your partner will be there to keep pushing you when you want to give up. They can also call you on your BS when you make excuses. A running partner is like your own little cheerleader, so listen to them!
Thanks to anyone I have had the pleasure of running with; you make my life better!!