One of the things I love about running is that it can be a solitary or group sport. You can put on those shoes and go out for a run by yourself or you can run with a group or partner. While I enjoy my solo runs, I love my runs with a running partner, especially the long runs. It’s amazing how well you get to know someone after running side by side for 2+ hours. You bond. You become “frunners”. Some of my best friends started out as running partners. On that note, here are some tips on how to be a good running partner.
1. Bring enough for the rest of the class. I’m talking about incidentals here. Pack an extra Gu, Gatorade, Kleenex or bar. I’m not saying you have to be a supplier for your running partner. But, it’s nice to know that you’ll have an extra for me on those mornings when I cannot get my crap together and I forgot all my fuel. And I will reciprocate the favor one day. You got my back, I got yours.
2. Don’t give me me the silent treatment. Every runner has their own preference of how they like to run. I’m a chatty runner and I prefer my partner to engage. I don’t mind running in silence occasionally. If you need that inner dialog to get through to the end, I understand. But most days I prefer engagement. If you need to run with music that’s fine, just put in one ear and leave the other one open to halfway listen to me commiserate about my pre-schooler wrecking the house. And I truly want to hear all about your day, goals, life in general. The more you chat me up, the faster the miles tick by. Conversation takes my mind off the pain. I don’t want to run side by side with someone who has totally checked out. I might as well be running by myself. And after 20 miles, there are very few places that the conversation hasn’t gone. Nothing is TMI at that point.
3. Kick my ass. Seriously. Kick away. I love a running partner who pushes me. I need one who tells me to “Suck it up buttercup!” when I start whining that I’m tired. Just a tiny bit of encouragement and tough love goes a long way…10 long miles even. I love running with someone slightly faster than me. I love being pushed to my limits. And I will push you on those days when you’re just not feeling it. We’ll get through those tough runs together.
4. Embrace the silliness. After 15 miles of sweaty, continuous motion I tend to get a bit slap happy. And giggly. And silly. Just go with it. Embrace it and feed it. So what if I want to sing “Push It” or the Armor Hot Dog song? It’s getting me through the long run. It’s making me laugh. If we were meant to click, you know all the words that I muddle through and you sing them just as loudly and off key.
5. Farts? What farts? You know I did that. I know I did that. This goes for all bodily functions. If you’re a new running partner let’s just ignore it and pretend it was a frog in the ditch. If you are a dear frunner, you call me out on it…loudly. And then we laugh together. And fart some more. And run.