How Running With a Partner Can Make You a Better Runner

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If you are an avid runner you have perhaps contemplated finding a running buddy. There are so many reasons why having a running partner can not only be inspiring and motivating, it can make you a better runner. Are you surprised? Don’t be. Statistically speaking no matter what type of exercise you are engaging in, most people find that having an accountability partner is helpful.

Advantages to a Running Partner

There are many reasons why having a running partner can be helpful.

Time Flies – When you are logging miles together time often goes faster. This can be a result of conversation or just because running alongside someone is strangely therapeutic.

Safety – Running with a partner is safer than running alone. First, you have someone with you if you encounter any type of danger. In addition to that, people are less likely to attack or approach multiple people running than one person running alone.

Accountability – You are less likely to skip a workout if someone is counting on you to show up.

Pace Setting – Sometimes a partner can work as an excellent pace setter. I have friends who invite different friends or groups depending on what the goal is of the workout.

Social – A running partner can be an excellent social outlet. Especially if you are craving that interaction with someone who understands your obsession with running.

Motivation – A partner can keep you motivated to keep moving and to challenge yourself.

Joining a Group

Why stop at one running buddy when you can consider joining a group? A good place to start is your local running store. These places are a wealth of running information and experiences. Typically you can stop into a running store and get a ton of good information. What kind, you ask?

joining running group
strava.com

Your local running store can clue you in to the best places to run. This is particularly awesome if you are new to a community and looking for new and safe routes. Stores also often have group runs that are organized by the business. Since running stores are usually owned by avid runners, they are a wealth of knowledge. If you are tired of running alone you may be able to find the perfect group through the store near you.

Social media is an excellent way to meet other runners. This is how I met the ladies of She Runs This Town near my home in Wisconsin. I had been a runner for years, but I typically ran with a few friends or alone. And then it happened one day: I stumbled upon a local SRTT group. My friend and I dropped in for a run and the rest is history.

The below photograph was taken at a Saturday run in Marinette, WI. The group chooses a theme for every Saturday, which provides a bit of fun and added motivation for those in the group. May I present Lime Green Day. It probably sounds silly but when you throw in a tutu day, a color theme or a patriotic run people who you have never seen at a run before suddenly show up. Why? Because it sounds too fun to miss.

running group
SRTT Marinette, WI

And guess what happens at these runs? You guessed it. Some women realize they match paces with someone else and they meet up outside of the Saturday group runs. Instant running buddies.

I also belong to a national online running group. It probably sounds crazy to say that the friends in my phone motivate me but they do. The Sub:30 Club: Main Group, which can be found on Facebook and Instagram, is filled with people just as crazy about running as I am. This is helpful to me because I can find running tips, races in any part of the country, advice on any fitness related topic, and support.

Performance

Having a running partner can help improve your running performance for a multitude of reasons. First, if you have someone counting on you, you are less likely to skip a day. Mileage often equals improvement.

Second, having a running buddy can help you improve. If you’re planning ahead you will show up to the track day when the fast girls are there. It may seem disheartening at first, but chasing down a faster runner helps you to improve.

My local group has a Never Skip a Monday weekly run and post. Some women show up every week to run together. Others, just post their weekly “never skip a Monday” post to remind others that it is a great way to start the week. This accountability and group motivation keeps everyone honest and moving forward.

Setting New Personal Milestones

Our weekly group has a pack of runners who set the pace for the lead group. Sure, if you eek further behind the pack it can be disheartening if you choose to look at it that way. On the other hand, you can choose to see it as motivation.

Michelle Wagner
Michelle Wagner

One woman in our group, Michelle Wagner, stayed away from the group for a long time because she thought she was too slow. Eventually, she took a risk and just showed up. Early into the summer, she would head off at her own pace. As the summer progressed she made it a goal to keep the pack in sight.

As the summer went on she grew faster and more confident. Last weekend Michelle set a 5K PR. The very next day she ran her furthest run ever: 10 miles. Michelle is very vocal that being part of the group has helped her to grow as a runner. Not only did she become faster but she also has become confident.

How Do I Find a Running Partner?

There are multiple ways to find a running partner:

Join a Running Group – A local running group is a fantastic way to find a running partner!

Find a Group Online – A group online is a good place to find a running buddy. Once I found a post that read, “Looking for someone to run in Peshtigo at 5:00 p.m.” We texted a bit, found a place we both felt safe to meet and ended up running together. We even went to a race together!

Go to Local Races – Local races are a great place to meet people. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find someone to run with.

Volunteer to Coach – Believe it or not, becoming a volunteer coach is a good place to find running partners. Chasing down people half your age is very motivating and you are likely to find someone faster than you! Plus, there may be other coaches or volunteers.

If you’re looking to improve your running a buddy is an excellent way to do so. Branch out, meet some new people and find yourself newly motivated!