Running in Twos

February 13, 2012

“The couple that runs together, stays together”

-One of the very “best” men I know

The majority of my runs are alone. I relish the time to myself and the opportunity to ponder just about anything. Sink into a steady pace and let the mind wander. On the other hand, some of my most fun running memories are from when I was on a team or with an organized group. Then there are other times when we have a running buddy. You head out with just one person who has you feeling good about your run and about yourself. Different than a hoard of runners crossing a busy street like an approaching cavalry, hearing the synced breathing and footfall as part of a running duet is its own unique experience.

So with Valentine’s Day in mind, this is a good occasion to think about partnering up for a run. If this is something you do already, then take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate it. Whatever the reason or whomever the person, running with someone else can boost your mood and benefit your training. You may find someone a little faster who pushes you to go harder than your normal comfort zone. You may be the kind of person who likes to keep quiet while running and would benefit from a companion who does all the talking.

Finding a running partner is not an easy task. The task of finding common schedules so that you both are running at your preferred time can be difficult. You need to find somebody with whom you are comfortable sweating. It should be someone with whom you could enjoy both a totally random, rambling conversation or total silence. It needs to be someone who will join you laughing when you slip on a rock crossing a stream and end up in a rather compromising split position… and then double check to make sure you are not hurt.

Sometimes you never know if you will gel with someone as a running buddy, so go ahead, just try it. It might be a college buddy you have been running with for years, or a new neighbor who mentioned he likes to run. Maybe you feel more comfortable running with the opposite sex, or only with your own gender. Your perfect running partner may also be your partner in life. Though not as often as either of us would like, I relish the times my wife and I run together. Plus, even when we are not running together, it is great to have someone who knows you as a runner and can relate.

Two years ago, I had the pleasure to watch my mom and dad cross the finish line of the NYC Marathon holding hands. The term “super cute” was repeated throughout that day. Since the beginning of their empty nesting years, running has been a constant shared activity. What is so impressive is not just the high volume mileage, but the fact that they always run together. When one of them is too sick or sore to go for a run, I invariably hear about how guilty the other felt running alone.

The story of you and your running partner does not have to be romantic. It could be a story of inspiration, or just two random people who happen to put one foot in front of the other in exactly the same way. Regardless, having someone to share a run with can increase your enjoyment of the sport and have someone with a similar interest as a sounding board. Finally, if it is not working out for you, be sure to let your partner down easy. May I recommend the age old excuse, “it’s not your pace, it’s mine.”

There are plenty of active ideas for Valentine’s Day and wiser men who have relayed some spot-on advice for the day. My goal is to encourage you to think about sharing a run with someone else. For their benefit just as much as your own. You never know what might come of it all- a personal best, a new friendship, or some moments to remember. If you do decide to share your Valentine’s Day run with someone else, might I recommend keeping a rose in your pocket. Or at least a chocolate flavored gel pack to mark the occasion.

If you have any heart-warming, heart-wrenching, funny, or otherwise share-worthy stories about a running buddy, please share them in the comments section!

Thanks to my M-I-L who suggested the idea behind this post.

"You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." - Winnie the Pooh



  1. Aw, I love this post! I run alone. I love to run alone. But, while training for last years Chicago Marathon I started running with a friend. I miss my running partner. Life got in the way. She was faster than me. I had to let myself out of the running relationship. We both hated it. We laughed a lot on our runs. We may not have been training properly. But, we didn’t care. We got good core workouts.

    We have been talking about “getting back together”. To run. Well, in fact. I have a date for Valentine’s Day night. My running partner asked me to meet her out. We won’t run. But, we certainly will laugh. Ah, but, we shall run again. Soon.

    And, your parents? Come on………… ❤

    • Thanks for the kind words. The running buddies are always such a great resource for both friendship and running. Love it!

  2. Thanks for taking my idea; I love seeing you and Lucy run but one of the moments when I knew you’d be the best son and husband was when you ran with Joanna so Lucy could make a good time in that race; now, I hope this spring or some time soon I’ll get to run with all of you and your folks, happy VDay, love BB/MIL

  3. It’s difficult to have a running buddy on the treadmill. My wife and I tried it and we both almost got killed, but we are adventurous.

  4. I have tried many times to run with someone, but either they want to go slower or they want to gossip. Two things I don’t do. I hate talking while running, because I feel I have to save the little oxygen I have left. Plus running is my ME time, I tune out, put some ROCK or PUNK tunes on my Ipod and away I go. I also tried to run with a running club last year and again, they were major talkers and thought I was rude for not wanting to talk to them and listen to my music. So I pretty much stick to being by myself and I LOVE it.

    • I certainly know the feeling. Like I said, most of my runs are done on my own too. And group runs DEFINITELY have a unique feel. You never know though, somewhere out there could be a running buddy who also loves to listen to some quick beats and runs at exactly your pace. Or not! Glad the post got you thinking about it though, just wanted to spark some good conversation and hear some fun running buddy tales.

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