I feel like people can’t talk enough about the value of running buddies. The past couple weekends, I have had the pleasure of being accompanied by seasoned runners during this training cycle’s long runs. One of them was a D1 college runner and the other has a bajillion races – okay, probably 6 or 7 marathons, a dozen 1/2 marathons and numerous other distances – under her belt. It was so interesting to hear each other’s preferences, from the pre-race food to how and when we stop for the water stations, to the longest run we prefer during marathon training.
My favorite thing about other runners is how competitive we are but how much we want each other to be successful. There are always high-fives going around and lots of smiles after the run is over, even on the coldest day or the slowest run of the year. My past three long runs (10, 10 & 8 miles) were the easiest and quickest I have done thanks to people who believe in me.
These are, personally, my top five reasons for running with a pal when it’s anything above 6 miles:
1. I’m competitive. If you’re not going to stop, neither will I. Near the end of my fastest 10-mile training run EVER, my pal kicked it in high gear, and I didn’t even think my legs were going to get my feet off the ground anymore. Her words of encouragement got me through that incredibly hard 60 seconds of running and I couldn’t be more thankful! I had no idea I was that close to my goal.
2. In addition to being competitive, I never want to hold someone else back if I know I’m just being lazy. If my body truly can’t go, that’s one thing, but if I’m just tired, having a running buddy makes me say, “Push through, because they gave up these two hours of their day to get a good run in WITH YOU.”
3. Pushing other people, when I’m the one having a good day and watching them get faster and more mentally tough is equally, if not more, fulfilling than feeling yourself become a better and faster runner.
4. The IronMan 70.3 does NOT allow headphones on the course. Every time I go out with a friend for a long workout, the headphones stay behind, helping me prepare for that dreadful, music-less 13.1 (plus 56 miles of biking) in August. It’s some of the best conversation, the occasional TMI conversation, but you know your deepest running thoughts are in good hands with them.
5. Don’t you get bored of the route you ALWAYS run in your neighborhood? My running buddies and I like to try new routes and we get that added safety in numbers. The new scenery helps our run go by so much faster. I don’t look at the next street and tell myself, “Oh gosh, there’s still X miles to go before we’re done.”
As I’ve mentioned before, there are some runs that are purely for my peace of mind, stress relief or I just NEED alone time. There are runs where the goal is speed work, and it’s hard to do it with someone who isn’t shooting for the exact same goal time or distance. It’s good to run alone for those reasons. It’s good to even just enjoy being alone sometimes, but nothing beats the feeling you get when you have others pushing you and you’re motivating them right back. On race day, they’re the ones who will know your goal, when you’re mental strength is failing and how to get you through it, and they’ll be there after it’s over, smiles, cheers, hugs & high-fives ready, regardless if it’s a PR or it just wasn’t your day.
On another super-duper positive note, I am optimistic (and also, my iPhone weather app tells me so!) that we are done with negative temperatures for the season! And, with daylight savings next weekend, I will be running outside more often! THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!
I hope you have had a stellar weekend.
Did I forget any FANTASTIC reason to run with a pal?