Running with friends is the best way to start or improve your running.
New year, new you. Here’s how.
Friends hold us accountable (and not just with our dating lives).
Whether we said we want to start a new workout routine – run before work every morning – or we are training for a race and tell ourselves we will do our tempo runs this time, asking a friend to join you will make it harder to bag that run.
If I’m not motivated to run, I’ll often enlist a friend or latch on to a group. It reminds me of why I like running – it’s fun when you’re not looking at your watch the whole time or worried about your Strava stats. We’ll stop for photos, double over laughing, and point out oddities along the road or trail.
Time flies when you’re having fun.
Nothing makes a long run sail by like a good conversation with a running friend. Think that workout sounds daunting? Call a pal – it’ll be done in no time, and it won’t feel as hard as you thought. The fastest (non-racing) 10 miles I ever ran was with a group of strong runners I know. Part of that was self-preservation – I didn’t want to look weak in the presence of others so I pushed harder to keep pace – but mostly, it was the comradery of the group pulling me along when the going got tough.
Beginners and veterans alike benefit from sharing their run with friends. I used to hate speed workouts until I joined a local track club. Now, I look forward to the weekly workouts that I share with my comrades. We suffer together, we triumph together, and we learn together – they know a heck of a lot about running.
Two brains are better than one.
Running with friends creates conversations. Yes, we spend a lot of time talking about running, but we also talk about life, work, etc. If you choose your friends right, they can help you work through any dilemma in your life, and that’s a win-win. I find that solutions come easier to me when I’m working out than they do when I’m staring right at them. I’m always in a good mood after a run with a friend, even if the run didn’t go as planned.
If you’re new to running, or your routine is feeling stale – find a friend. Don’t stress about being the same pace – just set a goal to have fun, take photos, and enjoy the experience. Road Runners Club of America and USATF are great places to find local running clubs. A Google search may also shine a light on running groups in your area. Everyone is the “new guy” at some point – so jump into a group and see how it feels.