When I decided to get serious about my running, and had the crazy idea to run on scholarship during graduate school, my running partners (3 of them)helped me believe I could make it happen. I ran with them nearly every day for two years. We all came from different backgrounds, we were different ages and genders, and even at different stages in life. But, they completely changed the trajectory of my life and my running. I don't say that to be dramatic. It's totally true. We saw nearly 600 sunrises together, we all got faster, and now they are some of my closest friends. If you find the right running partner(s), your running can take off like never before. It did for me. Below are 4 easy steps to making that happen.
1. Know your level, your goals, and your schedule (define your running). Be honest with yourself about where you are in your running journey and what times of the day you need to run. I often see people running way too fast on easy runs because they feel bad for asking the other person to slow down. Then, on hard days, they can't go as fast as they'd like because their body is not recovered. That used to be me, but I realized if I want to get faster, I need to find people that are closer to my easy day pace of 8-9 minute miles rather than 7-8 minute miles. So, how did I find people? Below are two crucial resources that helped me find quality training partners.
2. Get on social media (instagram, strava, etc). I was heading to Atlanta for a work trip, and in the planning process, realized I'd need to run while there. I knew no one in Atlanta! I follow @runningwithcadence on Instagram, and knew she lived somewhere in Georgia (lol long shot I know), so decided to reach out to her to see if she could give me a name of a park that would be safe for running and testing an Elliptigo I was planning to buy off Craigslist. Not only did she give me some great parks, she said she'd join me on my run and Craigslist adventure if I wanted!
3.Plug into the local community Local running stores and clubs have a finger on the pulse of who's running what and what's coming up, and best of all, this info is normally free! Do a simple google search of running clubs and stores in your city, and either check out their websites or give them a call.
4. Be flexible This isn't so much a step as it is a gentle reminder. Treat your running buds like you would any other relationship you want to develop and grow. Just normal interpersonal communication type stuff! You know, discuss expectations of the run beforehand, be on time, offer to meet at their place if you can, and sounds obvious, but maybe don't wear ear buds. Oh! And bring beer for after the run! Everyone loves a good post-run beer ;)
To recap, here are 4 ways to find a running buddy:
- Know your level
- Get on social media
- Plug into your local community
- Be flexible
Tell me! How did you find your running partners?!