7 Traits of a Good Running Partner

Running Partner TraitsRun­ners gen­er­ally fall into two cat­e­gories: those who pre­fer run­ning solo, and those who want a part­ner pound­ing the pave­ment along­side them. Find­ing a com­pat­i­ble run­ning part­ner can be as hard as find­ing a spouse; not just any­one in span­dex and com­pres­sion socks will do. Sick of run­ning solo? Develop these traits to become a more respect­ful and attrac­tive run­ning partner.

When you’re ready to run, you’re ready to run. Stand­ing around wait­ing on your part­ner to show up only gets you antsy and, even­tu­ally, annoyed, which starts the run off on the wrong foot. Do your part­ner the cour­tesy of either being early, on time, or text them the go-ahead to warm up with­out you.

Be Sup­port­ive – Not Com­pet­i­tive
Like in most part­ner rela­tion­ships (friend­ships, dat­ing, mar­riage, par­ent­hood, etc.) the ben­e­fits to hav­ing a run­ning part­ner include hav­ing a depend­able source of sup­port, encour­age­ment, and inspi­ra­tion. Com­pe­ti­tion between run­ning part­ners (or any part­ners, really) usu­ally leads to a break-up. Save the com­pet­i­tive atti­tude for race days, or be darn cer­tain that your run­ning part­ner is also com­pet­i­tive and look­ing for that sort of relationship. 

Com­pa­ra­ble Pace
The best of run­ning part­ners are gen­er­ally very sim­i­lar in pace. This keeps it fun for both part­ners, rather than risk­ing one feel­ing held back or one feel­ing ‘not good enough’.

Com­fort­able Talking…and in Silence
On those long run days, it sure is nice to have some­one around who you feel com­fort­able talk­ing with about damn near any­thing, as the spec­trum of run­ners’ con­ver­sa­tions tends to be impres­sively wide (think: running-related sto­ries, to rela­tion­ship issues, to poop­ing. Any­thing goes while on a run, and the sub­jects could cover all of the above within five min­utes. Some­times the con­ver­sa­tions are harder to keep up with than the run­ning pace.) How­ever, on the harder days when you’re really push­ing it, you’re prob­a­bly breath­ing too hard to talk, and you are likely not in the mood to be a very atten­tive lis­tener. All you want is a body suf­fer­ing equally next to you. 

Not only is it help­ful when your run­ning part­ner is able to dis­tract you with funny sto­ries, but it’s impor­tant that you can both take the some­times unex­pected nuances of run­ning together in stride (no pun intended). Let’s face it; run­ners have good days and bad days; they sweat and stink; they get sick or hurt; they some­times have to walk; and they some­times pee their pants (or worse!). It’s all just part of the gig. A solid run­ning part­ner will sim­ply laugh about it all right along­side you as you both keep running. 

Run­ning part­ners should only be com­mit­ted to the sport, but they must be com­mit­ted to one another. Run­ning dates should not be bro­ken fre­quently or with­out good reason.

In the end, your run­ning part­ner should also be some­one you con­sider a friend. You’re going to be log­ging plenty of time and miles with this per­son, so why choose any­one you wouldn’t want to spend time with while not sweating?

When search­ing for your ideal run­ning part­ner, be sure to keep in mind that some­one out there is also search­ing for his or hers, which could be you so exem­plify these ideal. It takes prac­tice, just like running!