There’s something wonderful to be said about a great run on a beautiful day with nothing but the sound of your feet on the pavement, the sound of breath moving through your lungs, and the feeling of strength behind each foot strike.
But let’s be real. How often does that actually happen?
More often than not, if left to my own devices, which I often am, I’m not going to get my butt out the door without a fight. But the couch is comfy. But I’m hungry. But How I Met Your Mother is on. But I want a beer, instead. It’s gotten to the point where my coach specifically adds into my plan for the day: “WITH FRIENDS.” He knows. By myself, I’m pretty useless. Mostly.
But he’s onto something. I’ve got the most fantastic running partners — most of whom have become my best friends, almost by default. You learn a lot about each other, and yourself, and your friendship, as you’re sharing mile after mile. You become very close or very sick of each other. Quickly. Sharing a mutually miserable training run is really like a crash course in human bonding.
It’s having to meet someone, knowing that someone is waiting for me, that gets me out the door, no questions asked. My most successful training cycles are during times when my miles are shared with friends. Last summer became almost ritual — “OK, guys, how many miles are we running this weekend?” Sharing our training simply became commonplace.
I need the partner. I need the conversation, or the shared silence. Knowing someone is next to me is comforting. Knowing I have someone to serve as lookout if I have to duck behind a tree mid-run is comforting. Knowing I have someone who’ll let me gripe when I want to face plant in the middle of the road, yes, is comforting.
Mostly I need accountability. Maybe it’s my weakness; this inability to motivate myself on my own. But I’ll tell you what, I’ve made some damn good friends that way.