5 benefits of running with kick-ass faster friends, which might result in your next personal best race record

5 benefits of running with kick-ass faster friends (image: glory of internet)

In running, one can run alone or run social. And in run social, there are also run social with same pace runners, faster runners or becoming social butterflies. :)

Which one is right? Which one is wrong?

Well, there is no right or wrong. In fact, all have their own advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes, it depends on one's mood and purpose of running too. Of course, the best is to have a balance or combination.

Why I enjoy running alone?

I enjoy running alone. And I am a lone ranger in most of my Sunday runs.  Sunday is the only time of the week that I can practice long distance (20-30 km) running. And I need to complete my only weekly 20-30 km run practice within a certain time so that I can rush home for family commitment. I pretty much try to squeeze in a quality run training every Sunday as much as possible.

I have been finding it tough to have moments of peace and quiet for myself. Between office meetings / discussions, phone calls, text messages, chatty colleagues, and taking care of dad at home, I just want to hit the mute button on the world and completely clear my mind and zone out.

I find that running alone is a very meditative experience.  That's when I get to really think and concentrate as my mind is the clearest. 

At the end of each Sunday run, I would have gotten my happiness from adrenaline-fix (runner's high), a clear mind, my own space of peace and quiet, the much needed weekly mileage, and quality training. 

Sounds weird or familiar? :)

I guess runners who like to run alone might find what I share here to be quite true.

Why don't I run with kick-ass faster friends?
Feeling insecure, low-self confident and intimidated by kick-ass faster runners / friends ((image: glory of internet)

To be honest, I feel pressured. I feel intimidated. I feel I'm dragging the faster friends to slow down for me. I feel bad for affecting their training.

It has got to do with my low self confidence too. Sob sob!

There were many times I wanted to join some running clubs with fast runners because I wanted to learn from them on how to run faster. Unfortunately, the faster friends that I know of usually train in different venues, and not at Lake Garden - Seri Hartamas. And those fast runners who run at Lake Garden - Seri Hartamas are too fast for me. haha! And I don't know them too well. I feel very shy to approach them to ask if I could run together with them.

So what I have done so far is to secretly pace behind faster runners as much as I can without them knowing. :) But I can't pace them all the time because I don't want to be noticed. I'm very worried I would slow them down. I thought if I could keep up with them, then I continue. If I couldn't keep up, then I would run alone and they don't have to wait for me. Fair, right?

And true enough, sometimes I could keep up. sometimes I fail. And since I don't know them well, after a while I have decided to continue running alone.

How it all started.... running with kick-ass faster friends

My heartfelt appreciation to this group of kick-ass faster friends for allowing me to join them. Humble, simple, motivating and supportive! Thank you guys! You rock!! :)

I must thank a wonderful running friend of mine Kelvin whom I got to know through racing / pacing together at The Island Ocean Marathon (Langkawi), River Jungle Marathon (Hulu Langat), Standard Chartered KL Marathon and Melaka River International Marathon.

He is a faster runner, faster friend. It is very generous and kind of him to ask me to join him and his running friends to train at Genting Sempah.

I still remember my first time joining them to run at Genting Sempah. There were 5 of us. 4 were sub 4 runners. Can you imagine the pressure running with them? haha!

But Kelvin and his friends are all super nice. They ensure I feel comfortable and not be intimidated. I'm really grateful to them for allowing me to experience running with faster friends without feeling small about myself.

I believe my time improvement in recent races is largely due to running with faster friends and the hill training at Genting Sempah.

Due to the fact that Genting Sempah is rather far from where I stay, and I can't risk any running injuries by running Genting Sempah every weekend (tough on knees with 15 km uphill and 15 km downhill), I have chosen to join them only once a month.

The other 3 Sundays  - I choose to run alone at my usual route Lake Garden - Seri Hartamas. This will also allow me to have my moments of peace and quiet that I need  - you know - to hit the mute button on the world. :) So this arrangement is rather balanced and wonderful!

Running with a new kick-ass faster friend

Yay - so happy to be able to find a new kick-ass faster friend to run especially for the Lake Garden - Seri Hartamas route. (image: glory of internet)

I didn't race too well at Putrajaya Night Marathon (my last race of 2016) in November with a time not to my satisfaction. The poor time at last race of the year has affected my self confidence and my uplifting spirit has also been dampened somewhat.

Since then, I have been thinking seriously on how else I can improve my running in terms of technique, form, speed, endurance, etc for 2017. I want to be excited.  I want to set a goal. I want to find a way to improve myself further in running for 2017 running season.

But yesterday, I got so excited after running with a new faster friend along with another same pace running friend at my usual Lake Garden - Seri Hartamas route. In fact, it was the first time that I have found the "race feel" in my usual running-alone route. ha! ha! I was very tired, but I was very excited after the run.

I really want to thank this new faster friend for bringing excitement to my Sunday run at Lake Garden - Seri Hartamas route. And I really appreciate his patience to allow me to run together despite my slowness and dragging him down on his speed.

We covered 29 km in total - with few surprises, twists and turns - which brings to the 5 benefits of running with faster friends.

5 benefits of running with kick-ass faster friends

After experiencing running with Genting Sempah faster friends and now a new Padang Merbuk faster friend, I have started to realize that the benefits of running with faster friends are aplenty.

1. They push you to run harder 

Run harder (image: glory of internet)

I remember my Genting Sempah faster friends push me to run harder up the 15km hill then another 15 km down the hill. Initial few times I have been having difficulty to push myself harder. But somehow with the encouragement of them, I manage to push myself harder.

Similarly, the new Padang Merbuk faster friend has pushed me to run harder - much much harder than if I were to run alone. It was tough - but somehow knowing that there is someone there to encourage me, I was determined to run harder than I used to.

2. They drive you to happily run longer
(image: glory of internet)

I have been telling myself about how crazy I have been - running the hilly Genting Sempah. What makes it worse (or better) is that I actually find joy in running the hills with my faster friends. Somehow, I don't feel so tired. Somehow I feel that I have a group of supportive friends. And that's truly motivating.

Last Sunday - I was pushed by new faster friend to run longer than without carrying my water bottle. It was a hard 19 km (initial plan 10 km to return from Petronas Seri Hartamas) without my water bottle on the way back. And I survived happily! haha!

3. They show you your potential

(image: glory of internet)

I can't thank my faster friends enough for showing me my potential. Even though I have been telling myself I suck in hills and I can run so fast, somehow they make me feel very comfortable in letting them see my weakness and allowing me to grow and learn. 

No words of discouragement, but only words of encouragement and motivation! 

Where to find such encouraging running friends?

4. They break your routines

This I must admit - is one of the key surprises of all. 

See - I'm a very boring person. My friends say I'm very predictable and boring. 

My lunch (salad + tuna) is almost the same every week day. 

When I feel like eating Korean food, I end up going to same restaurant ordering same dish. 

When I am used to using a gadget (i.e. Garmin Forerunner 10 or MP3 player for running music), I am very dependent on it and very hard for me not to run without them.

But running Genting Sempah really breaks my running routine. Occasionally we would also run to the roundabout close to Petronas station before turning back. Boy! those hills are steep! Yet, the routine was broken and it has added a variety to my run.

Last Sunday, my new faster friend took me to "holland". From the initial 2 more km to go, he then brought me to run extra 3 km. And the last few hundred meters are uphill! And the 2 km + 3 km were the routes that I usually don't run! Can you imagine? :)

But I love the surprises! I love the fact that they help to break my routines which otherwise I would not have done it alone by myself. 

Thank you, kick-ass new faster friend! :)

5. They become your teachers

(image: glory of internet)

Yes, indeed. I have learned so so much from my faster friends. They are never selfish in sharing their knowledge and experience. 

I have learned about cadence, hill running, water conservation while running, running form, consistency in running, tempo, speed running, running shoes, running gears, etc.

I love to learn new things - especially on how to improve my running time. With them being my teachers, I feel so blessed and motivated.

New skills, new techniques have given me motivation and a reason to train and improve myself. And usually it has become a rather huge driving force for me to become better in running.

Your next personal best race record?

I have no doubt at all that once you find your own kick-ass faster friends to run and train with, you will definitely improve your time, running form, or something related to running.

And I won't be surprised that you will break your own record in your future races!! 

Go - find your faster friends to run with!! Let them kick your ass! It's well worth it! :)

Written on 2016.12.13


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