12 weeks to a half: running buddies [week 7]

as we head down the training home-stretch, i want to share with you my absolute go-to tips for training for a half-marathon. or anything for that matter!  this solo gym girl, who likes to train to the beat of her own ipod, is usually not one to sweat and be social. that’s why team in training was such a stretch for me. a bunch of really happy people meeting up every saturday morning to run and do chants and stuff? oy. not my style. but a funny thing happened. not only have i come to love my running group holding me accountable every saturday at 7am, but i’ve come to cherish my running buddies.

finding a running buddy though is kinda like dating. you don’t want to go to a 5-course dinner on the first date. oh, no you want to do coffee, very little commitment.  so schedule a quick 3-mile jaunt to test the waters.  here are 5 things to look for when taking the running buddy plunge:

take it slow – or not.
don’t jump into a running relationship without knowing if you’re on the same pace page.  you don’t want to pair an 8:30 runner with an 11-minute miler. it’s no fun for the faster one because, duuuude could you speed up? and no bueno for the turtle who just wants to slow their roll and run a relaxed pace. and what’s your stride like? nothing is more annoying than to be out of sync or have mr. heavy foot pounding pavement.

talk it out.
you don’t want the running date that you can’t strike up a conversation with, where it’s like pulling teeth to have a convo. but you also don’t want chatty cathy talking your ear off as you’re gasping for air up the hill. there are times you’ll want to do more of the talking to distract your struggling running buddy if they’re having a rough day, and likewise they will do the same for you. but you want a good balance when you’re spending sometimes hours on end together.

tune in or out.
some people run with an ipod. some don’t.  not me.  but i know my running buddy used to. but as we started logging more miles together i think we came to value our conversation and sometimes silence. if you’re the non-ipodder and you’re okay with silence (which i am), let your buddy know it’s okay if they plug in. often times they won’t! and if you’re the ipod-addict, ask if they mind if you plug in (and they usually won’t).  as in any relationship, communication is key.

commitment phobe.
a great way to get off to a bad start in this running rendezvous is to have someone that can never commit to a time, is always cancelling, or has a new injury every week that keeps them from keeping their commitment to you. of course things happen, but week to week, you want to have someone that values your time (and training plan) as much as you value theirs.

character counts.
nothing reveals someone’s true character more than a long run. but lucky for you, you can probably get a good idea even on a short run.  you’ll know soon enough whether you’ve got a whiner on your hands if your run sounds something like this: “it’s hot…do you think it’s hot? my ankle hurts. i’m tired…are you tired? my ankle doesn’t hurt but now my head hurts. can we just do 3 instead of 4?” nope, a whiner is not what you want as your striding companion. are they someone who gives up or powers through? are they selfish with their running goals or takes yours into consideration too? do they motivate you or are you always motivating them?

lucky for me, i’ve got like the best running buddies ever! they hold me accountable and hopefully i do the same for them. and because this is a lifting lover’s training plan, of course i’ve put in place an accountability plan for all areas of my fitness. matter of fact, every single day of the week i’ve got someone counting on me to be there. try missing a workout now!

monday: steady-state, low-key,  cardio gym date with my girlfriend
tuesday: orangetheory class where my boyfriend happens to be the trainer so i can’t skip out of this one (and wouldn’t want to)
wednesday: sunrise run with anne, my dear running partner who is training for the full marathon for team fitbook in san francisco!
thursday: spin with my friend julz, again the instructor so no easy way to weasel out even if i’m dead tired after work
friday: pilates at the crack o’ dawn with my girl erica ziel
saturday: either run with team in training or my muchacho carlos who is training for the chicago marathon
sunday: off day!

the beauty of this is that these aren’t just a week-by-week, if it happens it happens, kinda thing. like these are recurring appointments on my calendar that happen every single week. of course sometimes we have to reschedule or roll with life’s punches, but scheduling my workouts each sunday is simple!  all i have to do is squeeze in 2-3 lifting sessions with my trainer boyfriend and boom, scheduled.

what’s your accountability plan? don’t have one, here’s your to do list from yours truly:

  1. text 3 friends right now and get standing dates on the calendar for either a gym workout or a class you both love. get those locked in!
  2. text 2-3 fellow running friends and invite them to go for a run this weekend – see who shows up, talk about your goals, and see if you can get a few runs on the calendar.
  3. book your goal -meaning if you don’t already have a 5k, half, or marathon on the calendar, do it now. i’m already looking at what comes after SF!  having a clear goal is half the battle to being your best.

comment below once you’ve done those and share your accountability + running buddy dating plan!


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