You’ve always dreamt of running the “the one”. You know, the one perfect running partner to train with, at the exact same pace, likes the same things, knows just when you need a pep talks and wants to run the exact same races you do? Sounds to good to be true, huh? Then one day, it happens. It like love at first run…you run the same pace, you have so much to talk about, and even like the same music! This is too good to be true! Have you finally met “the running one”? Now running alone- it just doesn’t feel the same, you miss your partner- your solemate. Fast forward 18 weeks, and your at the start line of your first marathon with your “solemate”. Then they say the words you never wanted to hear, “You know, if you want to go ahead or if I want to go ahead during the race- that’s cool, right?”. You respond with a meek, “um, okay- that’s fine”. Although, you have no intention of leaving you dear partner that you’ve trained with for weeks and weeks, blood, sweet, and tears- stories you’ve shared with no one else?! Then, it happens at mile 20 when you hit the dreaded wall…your partner wants to go ahead. You had envisioned crossing the finish line holding hands together in running bliss. Now, you’ll be passing that line alone. You’re devastated. Maybe this could have been prevented by having a pre-race partner talk? I think so- every running pair should have them.
Things to take into consideration when finding the perfect running partner or as I like to call them “solemate” and “solesister”:
- Know what pace each other likes to run so your not running with an 8min/miler when you are a 10min/miler
- Have a conversation before race day about if they want to stick together or go their own pace. Here are a couple ways to race with a training partner:
- Some training buddies have a “no partner left behind” rule. Meaning they will not leave their training partner no matter what- bathroom stops, injuries, water stops, you name it. I’ve seen this in action and it’s an amazing display of compassion and community. I personally like to use this if I’m running with a partner. My theory is a friendship is more valuable than a time in a marathon or race. HOWEVER, I respect all approaches to running with partners and competitive racing. We all do marathons for different reasons.
- Another approach is to start together and end together. Meaning, you start with your partner, offer a good luck move along at your own pace and wait for each other at the finish line. This is a good technique is you are both wanting to go at your own pacing, focusing on an individual PR , and/or competitively racing.
- Another option is to simply go to the race and do your own thing, separately.
- Have a place to meet after the race, just by chance you do get split up.
Those are my tips based on my personal experience running with a partner! I ran for 15 years by myself and found it very enjoyable to run with a buddy, but still enjoy my solitude. There can be a very nice balance of both~