We runners tend to obsess over details. Shoes, clothing, socks, watches, fuel, routes. Everything is carefully researched, tested, analyzed, then either kept or discarded.
But what about one of the most important decisions of all—your running partner? You spend a good chunk of your week with these fellow crazies, but do you enjoy their company? Honestly? Are they helping you improve as a runner, or do you spend the miles wanting to push them into a ditch?
There’s no Match.com for running partners. You have to go old-school to find your buddy—lace up your shoes, log some miles, then evaluate your chemistry.
And if the run sucked? Ditch their ass! Seriously. Running is supposed to be fun, and if your group or partner is dragging you down, call it quits. Life’s too short for annoying runs. I’ve sped up, slowed down, even hidden in a bush pretending to pee to get away from people I dislike running with. True story.
Choosing a running partner or group is a very serious task. Find someone who can:
Keep a constant stream of chatter for hours on end…
…but can also be perfectly comfortable in silence
Scrape you off “The Wall” when you inevitably hit one, and you can do the same for them
Tell you to “Suck it up, Buttercup” when you’re being whiny
See you at your best and share in your feelings of accomplishment without wanting to beat your PR
See you at your worst and not be scared away
Endure miles and miles together without choking each other with a Gu packet or quesadilla
Tolerate your smells and sounds and squishy shoes and snot and love you anyway
Push the pace until you get angry, then accept a thank you for making you stronger
Drag you out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn because you don’t want to leave them hanging
Take a million selfies/running shots with you and not get too annoyed
Ask you to carry animal bones without hesitation
The beauty of running is that the road or trail strips away all demographics—age, occupation, income level, political beliefs—and leaves just a shared passion for the sport.
You can’t explain why you mesh with some runners, and others you don’t. It’s just running chemistry. But once you find that one partner or group that makes every mile magical, that makes you laugh when you want to sit down and puke, hold onto them for dear life. They’re good people.
Do you have a running partner or group that you adore? What makes them so special?