By Carol Frazey
On Finding, Being, and Maintaining a Runner Partnership
Running alone can be exactly what we need sometimes, but it can also be lonely. There’s nothing like finding a compatible running buddy–or ten.
Whether you wish to find a running group or one consistent running partner, here are some tips to help you find the perfect match.
How to find a running partner
- Show up: Join running group meetups. You can find these through your local walking/running groups through your local running store. (For example, if you live near Bellingham, WA, Fairhaven Runners & Walkers has a free Tuesday evening All Paces Run.)
- Ask people to join you for a run: This is a lot like asking for a date. The person may say yes or no, but keep asking others until you find the right person or people.
- Time: When meeting your running partner or group, show up on time.
What to avoid
- Half Stepping: Half stepping is when one runner always stays one step in front of the other person no matter what the speed. If there is room on the trail, it is always best to stay in stride together.
- Bringing your ego along: When running with others, it is best to leave your ego at home. It is fine to do your best during a race, track workout, or tempo workout, but wanting to “win” a social, leisurely run will not help in fostering relationships. Ask yourself, “Do I want to win today’s run or have friends?”.
What to do
- Let the person with the slowest pace set the pace: If running with one partner, keep the pace of the person with the slower pace.
- When running in groups: Usually when running in a group, there is a large variety of paces. Here are a few ways to get a great workout in while connecting with others.
- Everyone run his/her own pace, and stop at different points to regroup
- Faster runners periodically turn around and run back to the slower paced group
- Meet at a certain location and agree to run everyone’s own pace for a certain amount of time and then turn around and meet back at the same location at the agreed upon time.
Finally, being a good listener, asking questions, being flexible, finding humor, and being yourself are the best tools for building a lasting running partnership.
*Disclaimer: While Carol only has a minor in psychology, she has been married to her sometimes running partner Paul for 28.5 years, has been running with Sharon Stone for 21 years, and has met up weekly with her running group for the past 14 years. While she loves to tout advice, she does not claim to be an expert in the field of relationships.