For many years I was terrified to run with other people. I was nervous that I would slow them down or that I would bother them if I had to stop for something as we were out running together. I finally worked up the courage to meet a group for an 8 mile run. I loved every mile of our run together and the rest is history.
Here are a few things that will help to make sure your group runs is a great experience for everybody.
1. I always show up a few minutes early. In almost two years of running with people consistently, I have only been a few minutes late three times. Our group meets early in the morning. We all have things that we need to get back to after our run. I make sure to get there on time or even early so we can start at the designated time. It is a sacrifice for everyone to get there early. I don’t want to be the one to hold the group back from leaving on time.
2. If I am going to be a little late, then I make sure to text them before I leave my house to start without me. This way they can run for a bit, and then meet me back at our cars when I think I will get there.
3. If one of our friends is having an off day during a run, then we stick with them and help them get through it. Helping them to push through is sometimes much more important than a faster pace flashing up on my GPS watch. Helping other people hit their paces and goal times is pretty much just as fulfilling as nailing your own workout.
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4. On the other hand, understand that everyone has their off and on days. If you are having an off day and just need to run on your own, then you can encourage them to go up ahead. If you are feeling on fire during your tempo and having a crazy awesome running day, then go for it and run fast. Everyone understands we are training for different goals and speeds. It is okay to do your own thing if you feel like you need to. I do speed workouts with some crazy fast girls. We run our warm-up and cool-down together but we are at all different speeds throughout the intervals. It works out great and I enjoy chasing after them! We get time to chat at the beginning and the end but we also make sure to run the correct speeds for our needs during the workouts! Sometimes all I need is to know is that they are out there working hard with me, even though they aren’t at my side.
5. I love the encouragement that comes along with my group of running friends. We build each other up. There are enough outside factors and people in our lives that tear us down. I am so grateful that our running group celebrates each other’s running accomplishments rather than letting jealousy take over! Stay positive with one another. There is more than enough speed and success for everyone!
6. Bring extras! This is one that I am currently working on because I might be the most forgetful human on the planet. Try to have an extra pair of gloves, a few Gu’s or a bunch of water bottles in your car in case somebody in your group forgets something. My good running friend is incredible at doing this and she has saved me many times when I forget something!
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7. Stick to what works best for your body. Injuries are the worst, so I want you to avoid those altogether. If your group is planning to go much longer than what your body can handle that day, make sure to just stick with the mileage that is safe for your body. Let’s say you did a speed workout on Tuesday and they want to go fast on Wednesday morning— don’t do it! You know when you need a recovery run. Don’t fall into peer pressure by doing too much too fast when you shouldn’t be!
8. Remember that most people just don’t care! I don’t mind at all if my running partner needs to stop for the bathroom. If they need an extra drink I just think, “Awesome— I really needed a break right about now.” Don’t worry about making people stop or slow down if you really need to! We are all runners. We understand that things come up and sometimes you just need to stop for something!
I am just going to warn you now— your group of running friends are going to become your best friends. You will share the ups and downs of running together while sweating it out on the roads.