6 Reasons Having a Running Buddy May Be Key to Spicing up Your Workout

Two men running outside

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All runners, lifelong enthusiasts and newbies alike, face ups and downs when it comes to running habits, performance, and general enjoyment of the activity. Whether these struggles are seasonal—like getting out of bed to hit the track on a cold January day—or simply a part of everyday life, outside encouragement can be helpful in conquering a fitness obstacle. This is one of the many reasons some runners choose to find a reliable running buddy.

It doesn't matter what experience level you're at—running with another person (or in a group) has its advantages.

New runners may be looking for motivation, consistency, and a conversation to make the run more interesting and entertaining. An experienced runner may want a running buddy to help them reach a faster pace or mileage goal. Whatever your goal may be, running with another person creates community, consistency, and brings the excitement back to running.

How Do I Find a Running Buddy?

Finding someone to run with may seem like an intimidating task, but chances are high a suitable running buddy is already in your network. If you have a friend or family member who also likes to run, that's a great place to start. You can also ask those close to you if they know anyone who is looking for people to run with.

If these first options don't provide results, look to your local running organization. Many cities have organizations that put on races, provide coaching and workout classes, and have organized running groups. Inquire at the organization's headquarters or website about when their running groups are held, or volunteer to help at a race to meet like-minded runners. Your local running speciality store may also have resources for finding a running group or partner.

What Should I Look For in a Running Buddy?

To find a great running buddy, you'll want to think about what kind of runner you are and what you want to achieve within your running journey.

Similar Goals

If you are training for a marathon, you'll want to find someone with a similar goal or skillset. Share your goals with your potential running partner to determine what kinds of workouts you can do together.

Similar Pace

It is important to know your training pace and make sure a running partner won't slow you down or push you too hard. While you may want someone who will challenge you to run faster or longer, you'll get the most out of running with someone who is a relatively similar runner to you.

Similar Schedule

For logistical sanity, it's a good idea to find someone with a schedule that coincides with yours. Determine if you prefer running early in the morning or if the best time for you is after work. This will make it easier to find a partner who is able to run at the same times.

Benefits Of Running With a Buddy

If you're struggling with motivation, running isn't feeling exciting to you anymore, or you are bored of the same running routes, you may benefit from a running partner to switch things up.

Motivation

Sometimes runners may hit ruts—periods of time where motivation is lacking. This may happen after a big race or when the weather turns too cold or too hot and it takes more effort to get outside to run. A running buddy can give you the pep talks you need to help you stay on track and push you when you are struggling.

Social Time

While running is often a solo sport, being by yourself can get lonely. Whether you are running with your best friend or a new acquaintance, running with another person is bound to start conversation and deepen connection. Not to mention, talking and running is a great way to make those miles go by faster and even feel easier.

Adding in a social component to exercise is likely to provide greater stress relief. One study found that those who exercise with someone else were more calm and less stressed after exercise than those who exercise alone. Not only does running with a partner have a physiological benefit, it is good for mental health as well.

Safety

From a practical standpoint, running with a partner or group is an added safety measure, should the need arise. In the event someone in the group is dehydrated, hypoglycemic, or suffers an injury or fall, having people around makes help more accessible.

Running with others can also serve as protection in case an unsafe situation occurs. This is especially helpful if you find yourself running early in the morning or later at night, when there are less pedestrians around your route.

Accountability

When you're the only one participating in something—like a solo run—it's easy to bail. You'll be less likely to cancel when you commit to meeting up with your running partner! A running partner or group keeps you accountable, helping develop consistency in your running routine.

Fresh Outlook

Running can feel pretty monotonous when stuck in a regular routine. Partnering with a buddy or group can help break up some of that repetition. Whether it's sharing new routes, giving advice on running form, or recommending a race, running partners offer a new perspective on a shared topic of interest.

As you develop trust in your partner, they can be an excellent source of advice and support.

Achieving Goals

Having a workout partner will help you to more likely achieve your running goals. One study compared the benefits of exercise in people who worked out alone versus in a group. The study found that exercising in a group was associated with a greater physiological effect as well as quality of life.

Running with a buddy may push you to run a little harder and faster to get you closer to your goal. There is nothing like sharing in the accomplishment with a partner who helped you to get there.

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2 Sources
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  1. Plante, T.G., Coscarelli, L. & Ford, M. Does Exercising with Another Enhance the Stress-Reducing Benefits of Exercise?International Journal of Stress Management 8, 201–213 (2001). doi:10.1023/A:1011339025532

  2. Estabrooks PA. Group versus individual approach? A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity.