Most experienced runners tend to enjoy training and running races on their own. It’s a time for self reflection and personal downtime, completely in their own zone. However, most runners enjoy running with a partner. Here are 10 characteristics you should look for in a running partner.
- Reliability – a good running partner always shows up on time and ready to run. They adhere to the schedule, regardless of rain, wind, sun, or snow.
- Accountability – on top of showing up on time, they also hold you accountable for your solo training runs and ensure if you miss a day of training that you are making up for it, either on your own or through cross training.
- Comparable pace – The most difficult part of finding the right running partner is finding someone who runs at the same pace as you. Long slow distance runs are a much difference pace that a tempo run, so ensuring you can run at various speeds through each training day can be extremely hard. You may find that one partner is strong on shorter runs and the other partner is better on longer runs; as long as there isn’t a huge gap, if you are committed, you’ll naturally fall into the same page after a number of runs together.
- Encouragement – Training for a race is a huge commitment of time and energy. It can take some people more than six months to prepare to run their first marathon. Positive reinforcement is incredibly important. It can help your running partner get through tough runs, especially during the peak of training and exhausted.
- Pushing each other – When you’re incredibly exhausted or don’t think you can make it to the next walk break, your running partner should help push you to your limits to keep going, no matter how tired, thirsty or hungry you are.
- Respect silence – sometimes when you’re training you just need someone there will you, as silent motivator. You don’t want to talk about your work week or personal life issues, but at the end of the run, enjoy a high five and exchange a “nice job today” comment. It’s always more comforting to run with someone, especially on the 29 or 32km training days, even if it’s in silence and you’re listening to your own music.
- Know each others needs – a running partner should be able to get to know you well enough that they can see the signs that you are getting dehydrated, low on energy, when you need some moral support, or to help calm your nerves on the days leading up to race day. They’ll be there to help support you when you need it.
- Respects your training – Sometimes work or life gets in the way of training. But when it does, your partner will understand and let you off the hook; however, there is an expectation that you will come back and help them get back into the training grove, assuming they aren’t gone for more than a few days. It can be hard to catch up if you leave your training for more than two weeks.
- Helps you through an injury – it’s the job of a good running partner to help you understand your running injuries and recognize when it’s ok for you to push through the pain, or when it’s time to stop and call it a day. Running injuries are never easy to deal with. Sometimes your partner will make you sit out on a training run if you need just one more day to recover.