On the Pros and Cons of a Training Partner

Jersey Shore Sunrise. photo by Hugh

I said “Good Morning” as I ran past my running partner early this morning on the boardwalk.  He replied in kind and we were on our way.  No, I am not faster than him and didn’t pass him on our training run.  We passed each other going in opposite directions on our individual runs.

Guess he felt like going for a solo run this morning.  Guess I did, too.  Sometimes it happens that way, and that’s fine.

You see, Bret and I enjoy running together.  He is a more avid runner than I am, running about 5 days a week.  I run 2-3 days a week on average.  He prides himself on his 6:30 per mile pace.  I am usually in the 8s, although lately I’ve been stepping it up a bit.  I hope that I push him to run harder, but, truth is, he’s a stronger runner and thus he’s the one usually pushing me to run harder.  On a typical 5—miler, I’ll hang with him for a little over half until I’ll have to tell him to go on ahead of me.  I hate holding people back.

We’re both early morning runners.  When we run, we meet on the boardwalk at 5:30 sharp and we’re done before the sun comes up.  To me, and to him I think, there’s no better feeling in the world than finishing a hard run before the sun comes up.  But that’s another topic for another day.

Bret and I don’t have a set running schedule because we’re not training for a marathon or anything right now – just a couple 5-mile races here and there.  Rather, one of us will text the other the night before with something as simple as, “Boards, 530?”  This system works out pretty well.  You know you have to get up early and get up to the starting location on time because someone else is counting on you.  And you do not want to make someone wait in the cold on the boardwalk at 5:30 in the morning!  A major sin if you ask me!  If you’re a runner or athlete who isn’t familiar with training partners, Health and Fitness Coach Amelia Burton wrote The Power of a Training Buddy a couple weeks ago.  Check it out.

But sometimes when you get that text the night before, you don’t want to roll out of bed and go for a hard run in the cold.  It may be your off day, it may be a swimming or biking day (I’m a triathlete), or a weight session in the gym.  So you don’t respond to the text or respond with your reason / excuse.

Such was the case last night when I texted Bret – no response.  Fine, no worries at all, I’ll just go for a nice 4-miler by myself.  Seems like he had the same idea, as I saw his car at the starting location when I got there.  I wasn’t mad in the least.  Sometimes you just want to go for a solo run or just a nice easy run to get the soreness out.  Sure enough, we passed each other about a mile and a half later, said our “Good Mornings,” and were on our way.  No hard feelings, no grudges, just a mutual understanding that we were both out there for fun and enjoying our own company.

What has been your experience with running buddies?

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