5 reasons why you should have running buddies

Those of us who engage in regular running know how much better we feel and perform in our everyday lives. However, finding the proper motivation to run regularly can be extremely hard, especially the longer distance run.

Are you struggling with this particular issue? If you are, then you might want to consider finding someone or a small running group to be by your side during every running session. And even if you have the proper motivation and run regularly by yourself, you may still see some benefits from getting a running buddy or group as well.

Five reasons why you should have running buddies

1.   You'll push yourself to the limits

"You will never know your limits unless you push yourself to them. And if you want something you've never had, then you've got to do something you've never done."
A study in the U.S. found that people who were working out with someone exercised for up to 200 per cent longer and harder than people who worked out by themselves. 

I find it to be similarly true for running. This is mostly because we are all naturally competitive, whether we admit or not. 

If your running buddy runs faster than you, then you will have the tendency to push yourself even harder. Having someone next to you will most likely make it a friendly competition, which will help you to stay focused on each running exercise and make it easier for you to tap into every bit of energy you have. 

He / she will also motivate you whenever you're not in the mood for running or not pushing yourself hard enough.

2.   Running will start being really fun

"We didn't realize we were running and making memories, we just knew we were having fun."
Running at same place, same route and same time can be boring for some runners if self motivation and mental strength are not so strong.

If you have running buddy / buddies, even if you are stuck in a repetitive cycle of running, you will still have someone you can talk to all the time, which surely will make running more fun. You can talk about running, about what to eat after run, about life, about everything to make the long slow distance (LSD) become high fun distance (HFD). :)

In many cases, running buddies have become good friends in life other than just about running.

3.  You'll start trying out different running routines

"Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor."
Don't ever expect your running buddy to have the same interests as you when it comes to running routines, or even routes.

Some runners worship hills but others loathe it to the max. Take Genting Sempah as an example. Not many runners love to run that 15 km uphill and 15 km downhill every Sunday. 

Some runners love flats but others might find flat routes to be boring and unchallenging.

Some stick to the same route all the time - from Lake Garden to Seri Hartamas and back. Others might become a little bit more adventurous by going to other smaller roads at Bukit Tunku or even Mont Kiara area.

Well, running one same old running routine all the time will make you lose motivation. Running buddies will help to spice up your training sessions every once in a while by leading you to different routes which you are not familiar with. 

And I believe running in different variety of routes - be it hills or flats can help us become a stronger runner too.

4.   You'll stop quitting

"I am a fighter, not a quitter."  -- Peter Mandelson
We've all been there: running for a few times then taking several months' break. 

But knowing that someone you enjoy spending time with will be running with you, that will make you look forward to every running session. Because of this, you will be more motivated to stick with your running.

You also don't want to let your running buddy (now might have become close friend) down by quitting!

5.   You'll become better

"Everyday I become a better person. Not for anyone, but for myself."
Yes, you will definitely become better, fitter, stronger, faster, healthier and happier with the motivation and friendly competition of your running buddies. I'm sure if you look back your old photos in a year's time, you might be surprised at how much weight you have lost, or how many personal best times you have achieved in races. 

All because you have become better. 

In summary

In case you might be curious whether I have running buddies, the answer is yes. I love to run alone most times because it gives me a time to myself. However, whenever I run at Genting Sempah, I have some running buddies (the picture above) whom I run together with. Since earlier this year, I have also started to run with few running buddies during my usual Sunday run at Padang Merbuk to Seri Hartamas. I have found my running with them to be very beneficial as they exposed me to different running routes. It also makes my run more fun. Since some of them are seasoned runners, I also learn some running tips from them.

I hope the five (5) reasons above and my own experience will motive you to find your running buddies. 

But please be selective in choosing your running buddies if you are serious about improving your running endurance or speed though. 

Based on my own experience, it's good to consider below two (2) points in selecting your right running buddy.

1. Choose someone who can keep up with you (or who you can keep up with). If there is a big gap in terms of speed and endurance between you and your running buddy, the slower one might feel pressured to keep up with the faster one yet unable to. As for the faster one, he/she needs to slow down quite a fair bit to accommodate for the slower runner. In such a case, it will not help either party to improve. 

2. Choose someone who is reliable and won't miss out a running session just because he/she doesn't feel like it. You need to choose someone who has deep passion for running and who takes running seriously. Rain or shine, morning or evening, this person shall be the last to say no. He/she shall also be the ones to arrive at training ground early. And he/she will not miss out a running session simply. 

Once you find the right running partners, you will see how easier it will be to reach your fitness goals.

To your running success with your running buddies! 

See you around with your running buddies!

Photo by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash

Written by Vincent Khor on August 3, 2017.


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