YOU have to have a workout buddy. Period.
There are two types of workout buddies. Within that venn diagram are running buddies, of which there are also two.
I’ll describe the first kind of running buddy.
Kelsey is my running buddy. We’ve been running together for awhile now whenever our schedules match up. Kelsey also runs with a few other friends all of whom train for marathons. They run a lot.
This kind of running buddy is on the same page as you. Of course you work hard, but it’s not outside of your limits to say the following kinds of things to your running buddy:
Hey, only wanna run 5 miles today? That sounds great, I’m beat.
Hey, mind if we…skip the run today? Thank god you said that.
Hey, mind if we take it kind of easy on our run? Sure.
Hey, can we walk a bit? Totally.
With this kind of running buddy, you talk while you run, you have fun while working out. These running buddies make sure you get out and get moving, and that’s important.
BUT, to not just stay fit, but to get better, you need a running buddy who is better than you.
This second kind of running buddy is NOT on the same page as you.
Sure, you might start your run off together, being all like, “we’re so bad ass, we’re running. Everyone else is totally not running right now.” You might even high-five a few times, but soon, no. Soon, you do not look like a zero calorie beer commercial, you look like shit, and your running buddy is about two blocks ahead of you. What’s worse, you might catch up to your running buddy at a red light, and your running buddy might be waiting…for the light to turn green. As soon as you catch up, (you might even have time to come to a complete stop) you think you’ll have a chance to talk to your running buddy. You might. You might have the following conversation:
Your running buddy: Which way?
The light turns green and you have no break like the one your buddy took. No, what will happen is your running buddy will turn back around and say, “lengthen your stride!” Translation: “run faster.” You both know this. But, you take the literal interpretation and say, in your mind, “If I do that, I could injure myself by changing my stride up too much.” And, if you hadn’t already, you really begin to question the reasons your running buddy could possibly have to want to kill you.
Or, on the off chance you’re doing sprint workouts, and you’re running the length of a block as fast as you can, heaving and wanting to die, you’re running buddy will say, “now SPRINT!” and blow past you (even though your running buddy gave you a head start) and yes, you will whine, “I am sprinting!”
“What’s in it for the running buddy?” My running buddy asked me while we were “running,” meaning I was shouting at him from about 20 yards up the road what could possibly be in it for the other running buddy, to which he replied, “I can’t hear you.”
What’s in it for the stronger running buddy?
Well, they get to go for a jaunt. Get their muscles loosened up a bit.
Beyond that, I think here is where things get sinister, I don’t know, I’m not a “stronger” running buddy for anyone, but, well, the running buddy get’s to chase something, and that is primal fun. But more, the stronger running buddy gets to beat the weaker running buddy…all the time Sometimes if feels good to be strong. I could only imagine.
Is that it? Is that all the stronger running buddy gets?
If all involved play their cards right, at the end of your workout, you get to take a shower with your running buddy, and in those situations, everybody wins.