Freezing temperatures, 35 MPH winds, 105 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 miles and speed work. Running is hard work and when Mother Nature or your training schedule is against you, having a running partner can be the difference between rolling over in bed or rolling out of bed.
A running partner can be very difficult to find. Running partners is usually what happens. Ability and goals determine what is on your training schedule and everyone’s ability and goals are different. It can be challenging to find someone who matches up with you and can be your sole running partner.
This critical motivation may have to be more of a patchwork of individuals. Someone who can run long and slow with on the weekends and someone else who likes to do speed work or hill training (this can get even more complicated if you compete in triathlons).
The most important aspect of your running partner is personality. If the two of you don’t mix well, it really doesn’t matter what the run for the day is, it will suck.
As far as running partners go, I can take them or leave them. I’ve run on my own for years and still enjoy running alone. However, over the last month Spongebunny and J$ have been coming out to run with me in the mornings. I’ve known these two men for years and we have worked out any personality conflicts between us. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in running and other aspects of life (there are some in depth conversations that occur when you are stuck in a van with five other people deprived of sleep for 36 hours).
Spongebunny is very kind hearted. He never complains regardless of how difficult the run is. He is willing to work hard and learn to improve his running and meet his goals. Spongebunny runs about a ten-minute mile on average and is working on his first marathon. His superpowers are consistency and reliable as a runner.
J$ is generous and quick-witted. He puts his relationships with people before everything else. There is little that gets him down and his sense of humor can always brighten my day. J$’s superpowers are running hills and ripping through flat miles faster than anyone else on my team.
The two of them provide balance to my running. Spongebunny is slower than I am so on easy days it is good to run with him. But he is also a great speed work partner because he won’t complain and doesn’t give up. J$ is great to run hill work with because he will push me harder on those hills than I would do them alone. He is also an excellent partner for speed work because he offers a challenge.
Balance is key when picking a running partner(s). If one of you is far ahead of the others, you may have to train alone when working on that particular skill. I run farther than any of the people I run with, so I end up running at least a portion of my long runs alone and then meet up with them for the last ten to fifteen miles.
Running is hard, sharing the difficult times with friends will benefit both of you.