Hello! Today I’m sitting all alone inside writing about being with friends outside :). After 10 (!!) years of running with people, I thought I’d offer some tips on how to be a good running buddy. Add your advice in the comments section!
- Confirm pace and mileage ahead of time. Sadly, I think it’s pretty much impossible to be running buddies with people who are more than 1-2 minutes slower per mile in pace. It simply won’t work to have one person awkwardly running slow and another person struggling to keep up — both of you will feel guilty for making the other one uncomfortable. So, be honest about your pace beforehand so that you know you’ll run well together. Having different route distances in mind is less of a problem; you just need to confirm your mileage ahead of time so that one person doesn’t get stranded miles and miles away from home.
- Pick a well-lit, public halfway point. This is especially true for early morning or night runners! Pick a safe meetup point so that if one person is running late (pun totally intended), the other person doesn’t feel scared and lonely standing in a dark alley or something. Pro tip if you can find a place to meet that is open, heated, and has bathrooms. Starbucks (where I used to meet my friends Leah and Miriam for runs in DC) are one of my favorite meeting points because they fit all three of those characteristics PLUS they usually give you free water
- Show up with a route in mind. If you run together regularly and like to change up your routes, don’t be a route moocher and make the other person always responsible for coming up with something. Try alternating route duties so that both of you get the pleasure of being surprised by a new route as well as the fun of designing a new one!
- Be okay with slowing down or stopping. Even though you’ve ideally agreed on a pace ahead of time, you’ve got to be flexible with it. As any runner knows, some days are just slower than others and there’s nothing you can really do about it. If your running buddy is having a bad run day, don’t be a jerk and leave them in the dust (unless that rule is in your unwritten running buddy contract, which it might be if you’re in serious training mode or something). Similarly, if your running buddy’s shoe comes untied or they need a bathroom break, be okay with pausing. And if your running buddy makes you stop for selfies, also be ready for that 😉
- Don’t turn it into a race. Ugh. If there’s one thing I can’t stand about running with people, it’s when running buddies become running enemies! Running buddies are there to make running happier — not more stressful. Although I’m a fan of friends who like to “push the pace,” I’m not a fan of buddies who get overly competitive on a normal weekday jog. Remember that the point of having a running buddy is to support each other, not beat each other. Save that for race day
What are your best running buddy tips?