Last week I ran with someone pretty new to running. This got me thinking – running was not something that came to me naturally and it took a year or two for it to really stick. And the key? The running buddy, in my case, Mary.
Mary and I met on the first day of my club’s beginner’s course, five years ago now. I remember arriving on that first day. I didn’t know anyone and the conversation in my head went a little like this
‘Oh dear god, what am I doing here?’
‘This is going to be awful.’
As we went through a series of warm-up drills, our instructor told us we need to chat as we run.
‘Shit, this means talking to someone.’
Now, even for those that know me, it comes as a bit of a surprise that I’m an introvert. Yep, I can talk to people I don’t know in a work context or in a supermarket and not collapse into a nervous heap. But talk to someone in a social context? That’s when I panic.
So off we headed for that very first mile. We started chatting. We kept chatting. The mile was over and we went our separate ways until the next week. We chatted for every run for 8 weeks and a friendship was born.
For months we would meet in the evening and on weekends – through summer, autumn, and cold and grim winter nights. Had it not been for Mary, I would have skipped many of those cold runs in the dark. We sometimes moaned and groaned but more often laughed at ourselves and the world.
We’re similarly paced though have different goals – for me, marathons and my first foray into the world of ultras in July, hers, to keep running. I’m happy to run alone but I also love it when I have some great company on route. We’re joining forces and doing the Ealing Half in September – it’s going to be great!
So here it is – 5 reasons why running buddies are the best
It’s too cold, it’s dark, it’s raining, it’s been a long day. There are always reasons to not run. Meeting up with someone means getting out the door.
Running with someone can help with pacing – sometimes this will mean pushing a little harder or taking it nice and slow depending on the aim of the run.
Runs are over faster and can get you out of your headspace. It’s hard to run and chat and laugh while being miserable at the same time!
- New training routes
It’s more fun exploring a little and getting lost running with someone else and it can keep training fresh. It also means I can run in places I wouldn’t run solo, particularly at night.
- Friendship and support
If you get the right running buddy, you’re set. It’s a safe space to laugh and bitch and moan and set the world to rights.
Do you run with buddies? What’s your story?
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