Runners 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.
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!