Choosing a running partner is similar in many ways to choosing a mate. Compatibility, chemistry, and ability to get along are very important. A running partner will experience you during your best, and worst, times, and will be expected to be there for you through thick and thin. Finding a good running partner is no easy task, and there are a number of considerations that should be made when looking for a good fit.
One of the most important considerations when choosing a running partner is the pace that each runner prefers to run. If one runner is significantly faster than the other, the faster runner should be honest about whether or not he or she is comfortable slowing down. In turn, the slower runner should not take offense if his or her pace is too slow. Occasionally, a faster runner will agree to join a slower runner during an easy or recovery day. These types of situations work very well, because the faster runner can benefit from being held to a slower pace, while the slower runner may be forced to run slightly faster than normal. For beginning runners, however, finding someone very close to their goal pace is highly recommended.
Choose a running partner who is compatible with your lifestyle. For instance, if you are only available to run in the morning, finding a runner partner who is only available in the evenings will not work. Also seek someone who has the same tendencies as you. If you like to talk while you run, someone who prefers only the sound of his or her footsteps will not be a good partner.
A factor that can make having a running buddy indispensible is choosing someone with a similar goal as you. For instance, if your goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, finding another runner with a similar desire can help keep you motivated and on track. Running partnerships that mix two people with drastically different goals often fail due to resentment. For instance, if one person is simply running for fun while the other person is running competitively, each party may feel frustrated with the other person’s level of commitment.
While compatibility is a great quality for a running partner, bear in mind that running with someone who has certain opposite features can also be good. For instance, if you are good at long runs but not very good at speed workouts, seeking a running partner who is great at speed but not so good at distance can benefit both of you.
Always look for a running partner who has a similar attitude as your own. If you are an overwhelmingly positive person, you will not enjoy the company of a pessimist, and vise versa. Some of the best running relationships have been ruined because one runner sees the world through rosy colored glasses while the other prefers to think that every glass is half empty.