I have a friend, Jane, that I use to run with a couple times a week. Although she is a much faster runner than me, it was a good way to train while enjoying lively conversation. Our schedules don’t mesh very well these days and we don’t see much of each other. It had been a long time since we enjoyed a run together. I wanted some company so I texted her on Saturday to join me for my weekly long run. We met up the next day and slid right back into our old running routine. It was great to have my running buddy back and catch up. I really miss running with Jane.
Having a running buddy is a good idea for a number of reasons. First, it is a safety issue. I was running alone last September when I fell and broke my arm. Although I looked pretty beat up after my fall, several people passed by me and didn’t ask if I needed any help. I was fortunate someone finally stopped and helped me out until a friend came to take me to the hospital.
Since my mishap, I have heard many stories about people who were out biking or running alone and had an accident. In one case, a biker fell and was lying semi-conscious on the ground bleeding. Several runners and bikers passed the person without offering assistance. I am disturbed that no one helped someone in obvious need of first aid. We all learned the buddy system in grade school and it works, especially for activities like running or biking.
Second, there is accountability. Let’s face it. There are some mornings where rolling out of bed to go for a run is the last thing I want to do, especially those cold winter mornings where a warm bed is much more appealing. With the summer heat it is better for me and my TM to run before the sun gets high in the sky. When it is really hot out, I have to get up by 4:30 AM to start running early. Getting up that early in the morning is difficult. I am a runner, not a farmer. I find when I have agreed to meet someone at a certain time to run, I have more incentive to get dressed and head out to meet them. In the end, I am always glad that I got out to run with my friends. I can always take a nap later in the day.
Finally, there are training benefits. My running coach recently told me to talk or sing out loud while I ran. She explained that this helps develop lung capacity and breath control. Although I probably looked like a crazy woman, I tried it. It took me most of my run to find a song that I could easily sing while I ran.
When I run with someone, we are talking – about our families, books we have read, movies we saw, or upcoming races. We don’t look crazy; we are just doing normal stuff. Sunday I was chatting up a storm with Jane. It was fun to see her plus I got a workout on my breathing.
I am back to training for the Berlin Marathon (hey, wasn’t I doing that this time last year??). Although my training schedule is not in synch with that of my running friends, I will try to run with some of my friends during weekends, even if it is just for part of my run. A little bit of company is better than going it alone plus it is safer and I don’t have to look like a crazy woman talking to myself.
Find someone to join you on your next run. You will be doing both of you a favor.