It's been said, by myself and others, that there are no friends like runner friends.
Heck, we all know the ins and outs of running. If there's anything we don't yet know, the odds are greater-than-great one of our runner friends can enlighten us.
Have you ever taken the time to list the many ways we benefit from running with these awesome friends? I'm not talking about our online running friends (who are invaluable in their own right), but our in-person running comrades.
Let me cite a few (or several) ways these particular peeps are beneficial to runners...
First of all, there's the companionship. While many of us are self-sufficient about lacing up and hitting the road (or track or trail) on our own, having a live human being to chat and laugh with makes for a fun run. It's true, the miles go much faster when you're conversing with others.
|The same goes for walking...more fun with someone else!
Having a running buddy can keep you accountable. This is especially beneficial if one (or both) have a big race on the roster. Showing up (and not procrastinating) those long, long runs is much easier to do when someone else is showing up with you.
|16 miles, anyone?
Running with a buddy can (and probably) will enhance your breathing technique. Many of us will not be chatting non-stop during an actual race. But talking with a friend, while running, will train you to take deeper breaths and exhale more evenly. I know, it sounds like a lot of unnecessary work. But, let's compare it to speed-training: most sprints are run at a much faster pace than our true race pace. Running those short bursts (at a fast pace) makes the slower race pace (over a longer distance) feel easier. The same goes for breathing.
Another perk of running with a friend is the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. Not only can it be a challenge to talk as you're running, but running someone else's pace can be tough! When Barb and I first started running together, I was a tad bit faster. Trying to find a comfortable pace for both us took a little trial and error, and it forced me to run a little bit slower, and her a little faster. Well, a lot has changed...she's now a lot faster than me, and I'm the one bringing up the rear (amongst the two of us) on race day LOL. But, that's all good. Our natural paces are close enough that (usually) neither of us struggle (much) on any of our runs.
Finally, let's not forget the safety issue. Depending on where you live, it may not always be safe to run alone. Also, we all have different levels of comfort in regards to time of day (or night), location, or state of fitness (if you're coming back from injury, for example). Having someone along for the run can give you (and your loved ones) peace of mind.
So, those are a few reasons why I think it's nice to have a few in-person runner friends on stand-by. Myself, I prefer to do some runs alone, and my longer runs with a friend (usually Barb, but sometimes the hubby will join me for a few miles). That said, I've done many long runs (hello, 20-milers!) all on my own, so I know it's not impossible to entertain myself, for long periods, if need be.
What do you think? Do you run most of your miles solo, with friends, or a combination?