IN GOOD COM­PANY

Bud­dies – hu­man, ca­nine and vir­tual – can boost your motivation

Runner's World (UK) - - Coach - BY JEFF GALLOWAY

IF YOU PREFER to run alone and with only your thoughts for com­pany, that’s great. But run­ners who al­ways run by them­selves tend to ex­pe­ri­ence more low-motivation days and miss more runs each year than those who reg­u­larly head out with oth­ers. Run­ning with a friend, a group, your dog or even a pod­cast can en­gage your mind and your body in ways that run­ning solo can’t. Here’s how to choose the best match – or matches – for you.

A FRIEND

When you know you’ll be let­ting some­one down if you skip a run, the guilt can help get you out the door. And once you’re run­ning, chat­ting makes the miles fly by. The right run­ning buddy – one who’s about your speed – can in­spire you to forge on when you’re strug­gling and keep you in check if you’re speed­ing. Run­ning with a fast friend is OK, too, but don’t try to keep up on re­cov­ery days.

A GROUP

Run­ning with a group of fun peo­ple who travel at the right pace for you can be a ma­jor source of motivation. Af­ter all, stay­ing at home is less ap­peal­ing if you’re miss­ing out on a gath­er­ing of friends. Try to find a group that matches your level – get­ting left be­hind, or leav­ing oth­ers be­hind, ru­ins the fun.

A DOG

Ca­nine com­pan­ion­ship adds va­ri­ety to your run­ning rou­tine and can help your dog be­come fitter. First, be sure your dog is the run­ning type. (See runnersworld. com/dogs to learn which breeds run best.) Then try a test run. Many dogs use a ver­sion of my run/walk/run method – jog/sniff/jog or sprint/sniff/sprint – so plan your work­outs ac­cord­ingly.

A POD­CAST

This isn’t quite the same as hav­ing liv­ing, breath­ing com­pany, but lis­ten­ing to pod­casts can en­gage your brain in a way that’s sim­i­lar to lis­ten­ing to the chat­ter of run­ning com­pan­ions. And with pod­casts you choose the topic, which guar­an­tees you re­main in­ter­ested. As you should when­ever you use head­phones on your run, keep the vol­ume low enough to be fully aware of your sur­round­ings.

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