I began running as a high school freshman and am still running now, married and in my late 20’s. In other words, I’ve been running my entire dating life. I’ve witnessed all the various on-the-run pick-up attempts and first dates and to put it shortly, runners stand out as being silly, ridiculous, and awkward. Please allow me to elaborate on some of my observances over the years. Hopefully a female perspective on flirting on the run can be used as good advice to a young buck out there chasing his dream runner.
Perhaps it’s easier to begin with what not to do. Guys — you can’t easily get away with simply complimenting a female runner’s outfit, considering that running clothes are often skintight. Giving a thumbs up to a girl’s compression tights may come across as more creepy than complimentary. If you compliment her hair, she’s going to laugh at you because it’s most likely just in a sweaty ponytail. That really only leaves the shoes as fair game, but no girl’s heart has ever been won over by, “Cool Brooks. You tie a mean double bow.”
Faster runners may get the novel idea that speed will show what a great mate you are. (Because, you know, we’re still in the Stone Age). Unfortunately, speeding past a cute girl multiple times will likely earn an eye roll before a number. On the bright side, you’ll get a good in calorie burn from all that extra effort.
It’s cool to ask a girl on a running date, but there are a few rules for success. First, she has to actually like running. Some women run solely for exercise and loath it as much as the average person; asking this type of runner on a running date may scare her into thinking she’ll have to keep running if she likes you. Second, you absolutely must not try to race her; if you beat her she’ll be pissed, and if you let her win she’ll be resentful. Definitely offer to share your water on the run and after. I also highly recommend buying her a coffee or beer (depending on the time of day) after the run. She just worked pretty hard on a first date, after all.
If you are not normally a runner, do not pretend to be one just to impress her. As soon as it becomes apparent that you’re a poser – and it will become apparent – she will leave you in her dust. Who wants to date a liar? At least admit you’re not already a runner but want to give it a try. Still, keep in mind that runners aren’t animals; they don’t only mate with their own kind. It’s okay to be who you are and still date a runner. Hell, I married a professional chef and rock climber, about as far from a runner as you can get. (Granted, he’s a runner now.)
If you’re slow, you may try to win her over with self-depreciating humor. It’s kind of like that guy in college every girl knows who isn’t cute, but he’s so funny and sweet that you end up falling for him. Hell, many girls end up marrying him.
All in all, the takeaway message is that if you want to flirt with a runner, tag along on a slower recovery day and offer to buy her a drink afterward. And for goodness sake, make sure your workout shorts are longer than hers.