Seven 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 runoff 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 of 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; 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!