Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Benefits of a Good Running Partner

I have been running for the past few years (not as many as others but long enough) and in that time I have logged hundreds of hours running throughout the streets, trails, paths etc. with me, myself, and I.   And as good of company as I may be (hah!), I never really thought of obtaining a running companion other than my trustee Garmin and iPod shuffle.   Why it never occurred to me that running is not a one person sport is really beyond me especially because I love to be social.  But recently (as I mentioned in my last post), I have realized how it might be good to find a running buddy.  I thought it would be nice to have someone to chat with, what I didn't realize is how many other benefits I could get out of finding a good running partner.

The problem however is that it is not always easy to find a good running partner.  In many ways, I was lucky, after I had had my revelation I ran into an old friend at the gym and asked him if he would like to go for a run or two with me to which he happily agreed (which was truly my luck). Unfortunately, he was going to be out of town for a while so in the meantime, I looked elsewhere.  I ran with a bunch of different people and had a great time chatting with friends and getting out there but ultimately our paces did not sync up (which is not meant to be mean because i love these people we just dont necessarily run at the same pace).   I told myself that I did not care and that i was there to be social, which I totally am and will still run with these people (if they will have me) because they are amazing, but changing my pace actually led to a minor knee flare up, I think, who knows really....

Lucky for me, my friend returned a few weeks ago and I have found the perfect running partner.
So here are my thoughts on great running partners/tips to finding good ones:

Steph's Top 5 On Running Partners 
1) They run at the same time of day as you - my friend is also an early riser. He likes to run early just like me.  Our schedules sync up pretty well, it does not hurt that he lives around the block.
2) He is faster than me (or if you are looking find someone at the same pace as you).  For me this is great! It pushes me to go faster and keep up and get faster, something I really want to do.  But I hesitate to put this in here because on the other side it is not so great for him. We try to work it so his easier days he runs with me and he is pretty laid back about it. But if you can, finding someone at your pace is ideal....much easier said than done though
3) He pushes and encourages me.  There is nothing better than having someone by your side helping you through a tough hill. Whereas I might give up or give it a half attempt on my own, with someone else I push it.
4) I have someone to share running with me.  It is great to make running not a solo sport!  I have someone to chat about running with and all the intricacies plus i have someone to train with and do races with
5) Finally, and most importantly, we have fun together.  We chat about all sorts of stuff as we run (if I am not out of breath, then he chats) and the miles melt away....this is the most important to me these days. ultimately, if we were not at the same pace, if you are with great friends having fun, that is the best!

So I guess, my one other bit of advice is know what you are looking for in a running buddy. Do you want to chat with a friend and have a light run or be challenged?  Be truthful to yourself and know what you want.

Do any of you have great running buddies that get you through, or would you rather go it alone? 

In other news, Passover is finally over!!! If you are a Jewish runner, passover, a time of NO CARBS is not so easy.  But this year, I think was my best year yet. Made it through like a champ (does not mean that I was not counting down the minutes till the end of Passover last night).  Aaron, my husband, and I celebrated the end by going out to our favorite thai restaurant in Waltham.  We love this place, we pretty much funded the place in college (we went there for everything from graduation to engagement) and they know us well. But we have not been there in a year and when we went they were so happy to see us and said how did you know to come on our last night (they are closing because the owners are retiring).  So we were officially the last customers! How fitting but how sad, end of an era to me.  Our favorite waiter assured us that their other business which the younger brother will continue to run, Tom Can Cook, is exactly the same.  So we will be checking it out! In the meantime, i just cooked lots more carbs for dinner tonight.  I am making up on lost time!

Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather!

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