Running is a great sport. It requires very little equipment, needs no gym membership, and can be enjoyed by nearly all ages. Some people think of running as a solitary sport, but running can be so much more rewarding with a running buddy.
One huge benefit of a running partner is increased personal safety. With a buddy you are far less likely to attract unsavory attention. If you get a cramp, fall down or experience any sudden health issue, having a running partner can make the situation more manageable and far less scary, too. With twice as many eyes, you are less likely to overlook a running hazard or miss that dog behind the tree, waiting to pounce.
Running is great fun and wonderful exercise, but (let's face it) some days it's harder than others to put those running shoes on and get out there. Knowing that someone else is depending on you can eliminate those excuses that plague solo runners. You might be willing to let yourself down, but not your running buddy. That keeps many of us on track, every day.
Sure, we learned how to run when we were tots. That doesn't mean that we learned the best, most effective and healthiest stride and form. Having a running partner can be a source of tips and feedback. It's pretty hard to run behind yourself and critique your running form, but your buddy can easily point out your wasted motion or improper foot placement. Oh, so that's why I get shin splints!
Beginning runners can feel awkward when they first go out for a run. Having a running partner makes that go away (who can laugh at us both?) and you can encourage each other. Your buddy is a constant source of moral support and motivation.
It may not be intuitive, but running with a partner usually means that you will run longer and faster. It is human nature to unconsciously compete with the person running next to you, so you will keep the pace up without struggling and push yourself further than you would if running alone. Knowing that your running buddy is doing fine also makes that inner monologue stop whining!
We all know about the cardio benefits of running, but did you hear about the cognitive benefits? Recent research by psychologists has shown that running while maintaining an active conversation stimulates many areas of the brain and can actually make you smarter. That can explain why you feel so clear-headed after a run with your buddy!
So, how about getting yourself a running buddy? Be sure to match your abilities and schedule (and attitude toward foul-weather running) with your prospective partner, so that you don't have a difficult conversation about unmet expectations. Finding a new running partner can be a great way to make a new friend and widen your social circle, so you want to make sure that you are both on the same wavelength from the beginning.
Don't know anyone who's looking for a new running buddy? No problem! Just click over to WannaBuddy.com and select the Running Buddy activity and get running!