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.