There’s nothing quite like putting your running shoes on and stepping out onto the road for your run, listening to the sound of your feet hitting the pavement while your mind turns from busy thoughts to focusing on your run.
While running solo has its perks, running with a buddy can make it easier. They can provide the necessary feedback and tools that help to improve your form, breathing, or even out your tempo runs.
Let’s have a look at the benefits of having a running buddy.
Reasons to have a running partner
A running buddy can help make the miles pass more quickly and reduce the perceived amount of exertion. Having someone to talk to can distract you from any pain you may be experiencing. And it can help you to moderate your breathing and speed.
If you have a good relationship with your running partner, it’s a chance to talk about problems you have with a work project or hobby. This could lead to you finding creative solutions problems that you may not have considered.
Your running buddy may even introduce you to new running routes or workouts. A change of scenery could help to switch up the muscle groups that are being used and help to increase speed and gain muscle.
We’ve all had one of those mornings: the alarm goes off at 6 am, and it’s a cold, dark winter’s morning. The thought of staying in bed for another hour is definitely more appealing than running.
A running partner will help motivate you to get out of bed, put your running shoes on, and head out the door.
Running buddies will also encourage you on days where you may be struggling through a run. This encouragement will help to keep you going until you finish.
If you happen to train with a seasoned runner, you’ll be able to adopt some of their techniques and abilities so that your overall running performance increases.
You may even find yourself pushing through limits you thought you had because your running buddy encouraged you along the way.
When you run by yourself, you may find it difficult to slow down. This might sound like a good problem to have, but learning to pace yourself is important so you don’t fatigue too quickly. Most runners don’t run slowly enough on easy and recovery days, which makes the harder workouts less effective.
Running with a friend can help you honor the recovery pace. This will also work if you want to push the pace on a tempo run. There, pairing yourself with a faster runner will help you to push past your comfort zone. A good rule of thumb is to “train down” on easy days – that is, run with a slower partner, and “train up” with a faster partner on track and tempo days.
Running with a partner makes setting a goal for the run easier, and you can both decide to have a varied pace run, an easy run, or a fast-paced run.
By having a running partner, it makes it easier to schedule runs at different paces that can help both of you to improve your performance.
It takes a lot of self-discipline when you’re training for a marathon or a specific running event, especially when it comes to diet and training schedules.
Not all of us can stick to it 100% of the time, and the smell of a cheeseburger could prove to be too much of a temptation.
Having a running buddy can help keep you focused on your goals even when your body is protesting! They’ll help you get up when it feels like it’s too early in the morning to be training or when you’re just feeling lazy.
If you’re accountable to your running partner, then you’ll be able to push through those fleeting moments of weakness, because you’re in it together.
While we can motivate ourselves most days, it’s better to know that you have someone who’s waiting on you who also has a desire to see you achieve your personal best.
One of the best things about having a running partner is that you can analyze each other’s runs. This helps you to fine-tune your running form, or they may teach you a better way to breathe while you’re on a run that could greatly improve your performance.
You can also learn from the mistakes they make or have made. Or you could adopt different running techniques they use when running different routes.
Another benefit of having a running partner is that you get to bounce ideas off of each other when it comes to exercise routines, running routes, and even dietary tricks.
For example, if you’re training for a marathon and you haven’t been able to improve your lactate threshold, your running partner may be able to provide a piece of information that changes the way you run forever.
While we know that unexpected events can happen on a run, it’s nice to know that if you have a running buddy, they can help you or call for help.
If you have any health problems that you’re worried could affect your run, then a running buddy is a very good idea.
You can tell them what your health conditions are and what would need to be done should something happen. This will allow you to run with peace of mind, as well as deepen the level of trust between the two of you.
And if you run in sketchy areas, at night, or in places where you don’t feel safe, running with someone else adds an extra layer of security to your runs. Single runners might be or feel like an easy target – your running partner will make your safety that much stronger.
Reasons for NOT having a running partner
Some runners prefer to run by themselves, while they listen to their favorite music or destress after a day in the office. This allows them to have time to themselves that they may not be able to get when they’re at home or in the office.
Other runners just want to focus on themselves when running, on their own breathing technique, or their own running form without having to listen to chatter or advice that may not feel natural to their running style.
You may prefer to run early in the mornings before you go to work, whereas your running partner may prefer to run in the evenings.
This clash in time isn’t a deal-breaker, but you may not want to compromise all the time, and trying to find a mutually beneficial training time may just not work.
There may even be running exercises that you prefer to do that your buddy dislikes, or you may want to incorporate cross-training when your running buddy may only want to run.
By not having a running partner, you can remain committed to the type of running or cross-training styles that you feel are important to your training regime.
Specific Running Goals
If you’re training for a specific running event, you may be better off just focusing on your running form, endurance, pace, and the way you like to run. Running solo may allow you to focus on achieving specific running goals, or on limitations or advantages that you feel you need to work on.
If your goals and your running buddy’s goals are different, then they won’t be aligned and you may not get the best out of your training for your own performance. You may want to focus on running a certain mileage per week, or you may want to work on speed or even train for race time. Your running partner may want to focus on different things, and it may be better to train separately for a while.
But remember: having a running buddy doesn’t mean 100% of your runs will be with them. Maybe you have one friend for Sunday long runs, and a different friend for Thursday tempo work. A group run on Wednesday, and the rest of the time you have to yourself.
Things to consider before finding a running partner
While there are benefits to both training solo and running with a partner, there are a few things to take into consideration before taking on a running buddy.
The first thing you need to consider is: are their running goals aligned to yours? If they’re training for the same marathon as you and have similar running goals they want to achieve, then great!
Now you need to consider where you’ll be meeting for these runs, and how far you’d be willing to travel to meet them. If you’re running after work and you both work in the same area, that would remove the need for travel if you only plan to run during the week and follow your own training plans on the weekend.
You’d both need to agree on what days and times you’re free to train together. Look at each other’s training routines and routes, as this will help you both decide on what you’ll be focusing on when you run together.
Take a look at your training plans. If you’re both going to be running three times a week for 45 minutes at an easy pace, or for 60 minutes at a varied pace, your plans line up nicely. It will also help you both decide if you want to focus on distance running or running for time.
The next thing to take into consideration is where you’ll be running. Track? Trail? Road? Share your favorite routes with each other, and expand your running world.
How to find a running partner
Finding a running partner needn’t be a daunting task. Thankfully, there are many ways to meet a running buddy who will likely have similar running goals to yours.
Let’s take a look at where you could find a runny buddy.
Running clubs are a great way to meet runners with similar goals and who can run at the same pace as you. To find a running club in your area, you could have a look for advertisements that the running club may have posted at the local running store.
You could also check the Road Runners Club of America, or find clubs that have an online presence in your area. Running clubs are all over social media, and if you don’t know, just ask.
Some running clubs are serious enough that they normally meet up seven days a week for group runs. Sometimes they’ll meet at different spots, or even have running events listed on their website that you could participate in.
Other clubs are more socially oriented and meet up only once or twice per week.
By running with like-minded runners, you could find a potential running buddy that could help you take your running to the next level.
Gyms, CrossFit gyms, and running tracks are also a great way to find a potential running partner.
If you’re taking part in CrossFit, chances are running will come up in conversation in between doing WODs. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know someone before you start running together.
If you’ve stopped by your local gym, you can ask the receptionist at the main desk if they know of any running clubs or someone who’s looking for a running buddy.
Gyms normally have bulletin boards, where you could leave a note for potential running buddies. This will let like-minded runners who could just be training at a different time reach out to you and form a relationship.
Friends and Family
While it’s easier to start running with a family member, you may have to encourage them just a tad to join you. The good news is that you already have a relationship with them, and you would also be supporting them in their fitness goals.
If you’re new to running, then running with a family member or spouse can help to motivate you and you can hold each other accountable. You’ll also be able to celebrate each other’s successes while spending quality time together.
Don’t worry about which state you’re located in, as there are a number of apps you can have a look at that will help you meet a possible running buddy. Have a look at the following apps:
You can also search websites like Meetup.com, which will inform you of running events in your area that you can join.
Social media is also a good way to find either potential running partners or running clubs. You can have a look on Instagram or search Facebook Groups for like-minded runners.