IN GOOD COMPANY
Buddies – human, canine and virtual – can boost your motivation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.