Fancy a Threesome - 3 sisters sign up for a Triathlon

Running Buddies

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Tom Hardy - want to go for a run

That would, literally, be my worst nightmare. I love him with the passion of a thousand loves but I’m not sure I could even speak to him let alone go for a run with him.

When out on a sweaty, rainy 5k this morning I got to thinking about running buddies.  The hardest runs I do are those I do on my own, even worse if my headphones decide to break during the run and I all have to listen to and think about is my breathing and how crap and near-death I am sounding. For me, the easiest runs are when you’re running with someone else. But that also throws up new challenges in terms of your running synchronisation. There is a broad variation in possible buddies and I believe they fall into one of more of the following categories.

  1. The Silent Type: You run, you chat (a bit) but this buddy just grunts or possibly, if they are feeling kind, chuckles. They make no effort to start a conversation or to keep one going. I am not a Silent Type, I get my best ideas when I am running and I’ve also been a marriage counsellor and been counselled by, sorted out tricky disagreements (with my running buddy) and had a bloody good laugh when running with someone. There are times when you need some quiet (big hill, fording a stream (see type 8)) but it’s about balance.
  2. A Chatter: Someone who talks a lot. At the other end of the conversational spectrum is the “talker”, there are always bits of the run where you haven’t got enough breath i.e. every uphill bit for me and this running buddy has soooo much breath and wants to know all your feels, usually on the hardest bits….
  3. The Flash: Runs faster than you: I have a lovely neighbour up the road from me who runs very fast, she is just one of those natural springy people (and has totally kicked my arse on every Strava segment in the area). We’ve talked about running together but both of us secretly know it’s never going to happen (even if I shed a few more pounds and got back into my training super seriously), she would either have to go at my pace which would be no fun for her or go at her speed and we may as well run on our own then anyway.
  4. The Looper: Runs faster than you but loops back to run with you, usually looking really fresh and bouncy. It’s definitely an option and popular with running clubs where everyone goes together. My dad used to do this to my sister and I when we went running with him and it made us inexplicably furious. But in hindsight it is a good compromise. I don’t know if Strava picks up the extra distance the faster runner does though so how tempting that is for the faster runner is uncertain.
  5. The “go on without me”, stops all the time and tells you to carry on without them. Doesn’t really need an explanation, some people walk/run and that’s great, but if you want to run/run you are just not going to be in sync. Unless you do the loop back thing in point 4.
  6. The Spitter or Snot rocket: I understand there are times when there is nowhere else for it to go or if you are going down with or recovering from a cold but this buddy takes it to professional footballer status. Sometimes you wonder if there can be enough space in their head to store all the stuff they are spitting or snorting out.
  7. The Eeyore: goes out for a run, knowing full well what they have set out to do but mentally not really wanting to do it. Moans about every hill, about every drop of rain, about how slow they are going or how far they still have to go.
  8. The Adventurer, plays fast and loose with the route. You agree a route or one of you is in charge of the route (my sister and I take turns to work out the route, depending on whose “manor” it is) but at some point on the run, the adventurer will notice a footpath sign or you will come to a road junction and they will not be able to resist. You follow them and end up calf-deep in mud, running away from rampaging cows or having to ring your then-boyfriend to come and pick you from somewhere a long long way from home (if these examples sounds specific it’s because they happened, quite a few times – my sister falls into this category as did our Dad before her)

Are there more types? I’m sure there are.

I love all runners and I have run, and will continue to run, with every single type of these buddies (you know who you are!). Our differences are what bring us together, make us run faster (or slower), make hard runs seem easier, long runs seem shorter and keep us in love with running and the people that do it.

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