September 18th is Marci's birthday and in honor of her day I wanted to write up a post about how great it is to have a running partner. Marci and I have been running together for about five years now and even though don't live in the same city any more, we have still stuck together and are virtual partners meeting up for the occasional race and training session. Having a running partner has HUGELY helped me stay motivated to keep running. There's something about having that person show up on your doorstep at 6:30am that really gets you out of bed in the morning. I can't even begin to talk about all the runs we've been on when I'm feeling sluggish and tired and Marci's been there to cheer me on and tell me that I'm doing great. So, in celebration of Marci's birthday, here are my top 5 reasons to have a running partner! Happy Birthday, Marci!
Marci is always super encouraging when we run. She knows how hard it can be so she's always there to cheer me on when I come running up at the end 5 minutes behind her, or when I am having a bad run she reminds me that I'm doing good for just getting out there. Marci got injured before our first half marathon together (my first ever!), but she still came to the race and cheered me on from the sidelines. About four miles from the end she ran up next to me and asked me how I was doing - I said, good! and assumed she'd head back to the side. But she didn't, she stayed on the course and ran with me those last four incredibly difficult miles and encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit. (Yes, we know spectators aren't supposed to come on the course, but she had paid her fees to run so really, she was just doing the only four miles of the race she could.)
Marci and I use the Nike+ app together to share our runs. Now that we don't live near each other and can't physically train together, we check our progress on the app. I can see that I'm either just behind her in miles or that she's way ahead of me and it motivates me to get an extra run in to keep up with her.
Marci is, and always will be, a better runner than I am. She's faster and she runs more miles. When we started training together we agreed that we didn't have to run side by side - I didn't want to hold her back and she didn't want to push me past what I could do without getting hurt. But after a few months of running together I noticed I was able to stay closer to her and it pushed me to run harder and faster and improve my speed. Since we haven't been able to run together daily I've definitely felt myself lacking the push.
3. Tips and Tricks
Marci has given me a ton of information that I wouldn't have known about so quickly. I ask her everything - why does my hip hurt, what should I do to fix that? My back is sore after a run, what do I do? When should I get new shoes? What do you eat before a race?
She's an experienced runner, already running races before we started training together so she's been able to give me a ton of tips like using Vaseline on your feet to prevent blisters, wearing shoes that are a size bigger, and the foam roller (which has changed my LIFE!). Running with someone who is more experienced than you definitely helps to get through the beginner hiccups.
4. The Non-Competitive Aspect
We're lucky because we're not competitive with each other. Probably because I know I'll never be as fast as her(!), but we both don't like being competitive and its more about pushing each other to finish than beating each other in a race. Even if the day came when I could run as fast as she can we'd STILL cross a finish line together!
5. Sharing Horrible Running Stories and Knowing That's OK
And by horrible I mean the odd gastrointestinal issue, or the runner farts and burps, or inhaling an entire package of pasta after a run, or skipping a run and THEN inhaling an entire package of pasta. Things that runners can't exactly share with non-runners without getting questionable looks. Sometimes we tend to over share, but it only makes the other person laugh their head off because we've also been there.
If possible - find a running partner! They are the best to have, even if its long distance. They make your runs better, more enjoyable, and then you have someone to celebrate with a beer afterwards! (Or a large cake.)