My personal opinion is no. Not everyone needs a running buddy. In fact, I think most runners do so on there own. I’ve always been a bit of a solo runner myself. I enjoy running on my own so I don’t have to keep someone else’s pace and either have to run faster (ouch) or slower (not usually the case.) However, I’ve been finding that having a running buddy for encouragement is actually quite nice. I enjoy running with friends every once and a while; and in fact, starting this weekend I’ll be running once a week with some pals. (For anyone in Calgary, we’ll be running Sundays at 10 am – email me if interested.)
If you’re like me and finding it difficult to get motivated, it’s always nice to have a friend who is eager to kick your butt into gear. It’s great support to have other people going through the same things you are – for my gal pals out there who have kids – wasn’t it nice to make friends at the same stage of pregnancy you were in? I was really lucky to make some good pals during that time in my life – very grateful for it and the same goes for running. If you’re working towards a major milestone, it’s nice to have someone there to hold your hand; bounce ideas off of and seek advice from.
Say you wake up on a Sunday morning (the day of group run) and you don’t want to go – perhaps you had too many wobbly pops the night before or there was a sweet Keeping up with the Kardashians marathon on until 3 a.m. – whatever the case may be, if you’re supposed to meet your pals you’ll feel more compelled to run. I don’t know about you folks out there, but I can’t stand it when people commit to something and don’t follow through. Therefore, I do my darndest to make sure I don’t commit that sin. I don’t want to be THAT jerk! Sure, life happens and you can’t make certain things, but don’t make a habit of backing out last minute – it’s ultra annoying!
It’s also good to have a running buddy for at least one day a week to keep yourself in “check” if you’re training. I know myself that there were times I wouldn’t push as hard as I could, but then I’d have to run with other people. I’d realize the embarrassment of my out-of-shapeness was blindingly obvious and that I needed to be more consistent. (I’m not 18 anymore, after all!)
For me, the bonus of running with a friend is having some time to catch-up on what’s new with one another. And for the most part, the catch-up usually happens in the first 10 minutes, otherwise I can’t talk and run at the same time (I know, really hard to believe.) Another bonus is that studies have shown running with someone can actually make you smarter. Say what?! Apparently, while chit-chatting + running, you may stimulate more areas of the brain. Who doesn’t want to be smarter?
And whether you want a running buddy or not, there are times when it’s ideal. Eg: running with someone at night or in hot weather to keep an eye on each other.
I love my Sunday runs, so I’ll keep ’em. Let me know what you like to do – running with a pal every day or once a week? Or never!