The anti-social runner runs with someone

i’ve never been one to run with another person or a group. It usually comes down to pace. I’ve never found a person that runs about the same speed as me (that also wants to run with me), making it hard for me to find someone to run with. Past living locales may have played a part in that and also the fact that a lot of my friends didn’t used to run.
Last Saturday at the Brookhaven Bolt 5K, for the first time in a long time, I ran an entire run/race with a college friend. Way back during our days at UGA we ran together a few times, but he was always way ahead of me. Even after nights of going out, he would still top me. I couldn’t keep up training, either.
This time, we stayed together, and at the end told each other we each were trying to keep up with the one another. We pushed each other. And at the end, we were both pleased with our times (at least I was). Certainly, it was different than running alone. It wasn’t just a head-game to keep up my pace in the race. I didn’t want to get dropped. Had I started to struggle and fallen behind, that would have not been good. I would have felt bad, and I would have been upset at myself because I couldn’t keep up. It would have been a bad day. But things worked out, we both ran well and I want to try this whole run with people thing again. Maybe I’ll find someone to run the AJC Peachtree Road Race with that will help me beat my 50 minute goal. I have plans to run (not in a race) one afternoon with another friend. Now I just have to figure out what to talk about.
Yvonne (our group-running champion) got on me when I told her my friend and I exchanged no more than 20 words the entire three miles. She asked what we discussed and I told her nothing. Most words were expletives when we came upon a hill. There was no real conversation. She then asked if we talked as friends in real life – when not running. That answer is yes. She told me there shouldn’t be a difference. But there was. For whatever reason (maybe because we were running quick for us) we didn’t talk much. Unlike our usual talks, there were no discussions on new technologies, no sports discussions and no making fun of Star Wars (running side note: anyone know what “the speed was like making the kessel run in 12 parsecs” means) or talking french fry cartoons.
Any suggestions for finding the right pace when running with someone? How do you figure it out so it’s fair to both/all runners? What are the keys to becoming a “social” runner? And what do people talk about when they run? It’s still a mystery to me.
Also, for those interested, here is a chat with an Emory sports medicine doctor (Dr. Mason) from this week on training in general and for the AJC Peachtree.

I’ve never been one to run with another person or a group. It usually comes down to pace. I’ve never found a person that runs about the same speed as me (that also wants to run with me), making it hard for me to find someone to run with. Past living locales may have played a part in that and also the fact that a lot of my friends didn’t used to run.

Last Saturday at the Brookhaven Bolt 5K, for the first time in a long time, I ran an entire run/race with a college friend. Way back during our days at UGA we ran together a few times, but he was always way ahead of me. Even after nights of going out, he would still top me. I couldn’t keep up training, either.

This time, we stayed together, and at the end told each other we each were trying to keep up with the one another. We pushed each other. And at the end, we were both pleased with our times (at least I was). Certainly, it was different than running alone. It wasn’t just a head-game to keep up my pace in the race. I didn’t want to get dropped. Had I started to struggle and fallen behind, that would have not been good. I would have felt bad, and I would have been upset at myself because I couldn’t keep up. It would have been a bad day. But things worked out, we both ran well and I want to try this whole run with people thing again. Maybe I’ll find someone to run the AJC Peachtree Road Race with that will help me beat my 50 minute goal. I have plans to run (not in a race) one afternoon with another friend. Now I just have to figure out what to talk about.

Yvonne (our group-running champion) got on me when I told her my friend and I exchanged no more than 20 words the entire three miles. She asked what we discussed and I told her nothing. Most words were expletives when we came upon a hill. There was no real conversation. She then asked if we talked as friends in real life – when not running. That answer is yes. She told me there shouldn’t be a difference. But there was. For whatever reason (maybe because we were running quick for us) we didn’t talk much. Unlike our usual talks, there were no discussions on new technologies, no sports discussions and no making fun of Star Wars (running side note: anyone know what “the speed was like making the kessel run in 12 parsecs” means) or talking french fry cartoons.

Any suggestions for finding the right pace when running with someone? How do you figure it out so it’s fair to both/all runners? What are the keys to becoming a “social” runner? And what do people talk about when they run? It’s still a mystery to me.

Also, for those interested, here is a chat with an Emory sports medicine doctor (Dr. Mason) from this week on training in general and for the AJC Peachtree.

6 comments Add your comment

Diana

May 18th, 2011
5:35 pm

A parsec is a unit of distance, so unless you cut the race short…. That doesn’t really work out.

PJ

May 18th, 2011
6:39 pm

Yeah, I like to go to 5K’s with someone so I have someone to talk to before and after but I just have to run my own pace. Thank God I have a great friend who ran my first 1/2 marathon and full marathon with me at my pace. I couldn’t do that for anyone so I just love and appreciate her so much for doing it for me :-)

RM

May 18th, 2011
7:07 pm

I prefer to run alone. I tried run club a couple times, but eh…

Gen Neyland

May 18th, 2011
10:13 pm

I’d guess that running a serious training run with a partner requires a certain finesse I don’t have. Like doing the two-step or the bugaloo, it takes two or more working in unison like the Budweiser Clydesdales or Fred and Ginger. I’ve run training runs with 3 of our 5 children, once each, and those runs were of a medium distance we covered at their pace. I ran a PRR with a daughter from start to finish at her pace also. Those were cherished moments but other than that, I’m pure solo…

Beth

May 19th, 2011
7:34 am

Yvonne’s comments to you surprise me. If you’re really racing a 5K no way should you be able to talk during it.

Marius Maximus

May 19th, 2011
10:28 am

While running coaches agree that most of one’s training should be done at a conversational pace, that does not hold for races: If you’re able to chat during a race, you can probably go faster! :) I enjoy running with others, regardless of whether it is during a tempo run or a long run on the weekend. While it is typically impossible to have a conversation during a faster run such as a tempo or threshold run, it is good to have company as not wanting to fall behind can be a powerful motivator to maintain a fast pace when the body really wants to slow down. On a two-hour-plus long run on the weekend, I really enjoy being able to run with others who can maintain a similar pace. On these long runs my usual training partner and I will usually talk about anything and everything, from politics and anything in the news through running, training and racing to relationships and religion and what have you. Even when we get really tired towards the end and the conversation slows and stops, I appreciate having someone there to share the experience.