Run Chicken Run: My Running Buddies

Running buddy

Run Chicken Run: My Running Buddies
| published October 25, 2014 |

By Sarah Herrin
Thursday Review contributor and blogger

“Running with others can help get you out when you might otherwise blow it off.” – Frank Shorter

Running is an incredibly rewarding activity that engages your body and mind, and the sound of your shoes pounding the pavement or crunching through those autumn leaves can be invigorating and satisfying on their own. But sometimes it’s nice to have a little jolt in the motivation department. Choosing who you run with can affect your energy and help you enjoy your run a little more. This article is about my favorite types of running buddies.

Music is the obvious go to for exercise because it’s a known energizer. Some people get pumped up by a certain song no matter what time of day it is or what they’re doing. (I know I get excited every time I hear a Bowie hit in a random café, which is surprisingly often.) Having a prepared playlist can get you going right away and save wasted time and squandered energy – I know this from experience. I subscribe to Spotify (something like Pandora) which allows me to listen to any album or artist from my phone without eating up memory space. The app has a Discover function with premade playlists based on mood, activity, food you’re cooking, whatever, and there’s a radio function that helps me discover new artists as well. I can always find something old or new that gets my blood pumping quickly.

I’ve recently discovered podcasts – I know, I’m pretty late to the game here – and of course, there are tons of runner-related stations to choose from. I enjoy learning whenever I can, so I follow stations about stuff missed in history class, psychology & wellness, and creative writing. Podcasts can be pretty long, so when you’re doing an hour long run, it helps the time go by. If you Google it, there are a lot of lists for runner podcasts available.

Running while talking on the phone can be a good way to monitor your pace for easy runs and is a wonderful way to catch up with family and friends. I do this occasionally, and, most of the time, the person on the other end has no idea I’m running which can be amusing. It’s definitely a great way to make the time pass since you’re forced to not only listen, but give a response that makes sense as well—hahah! This is also why running with a friend is a good challenge. Depending on the friend, you may end up running slower or pushing yourself harder. It’s okay to go slower or take more walk breaks than you normally would, but be careful of not pushing yourself too hard just to keep up the other person. As I’ve learned, making a run date with a friend can get you out of the house even when you hate waking up early.

Running with a partner can be a good way to keep you honest too, but it’s challenging for the same reason of pacing and endurance. As a beginner, my partner and I will often start out together and he will continue on when I’ve reached my limit. There’s something wonderful about enjoying the exhilarating activity together. I’ve read quite a few articles about how running together produces lots of feel-good chemicals that help you bond in a special way. Not only are you working hard for yourself, but you’re supporting each other’s health goals. A partner may listen to your complaints about feeling lazy, but hopefully they still won’t let you off the hook—especially if they want to run, too. Sometimes, the only motivation I need is the knowledge that I’m going to miss out while my partner enjoys a good run if I don’t get up off the couch right away.

Running is a challenging activity that requires physical sacrifice, mental discipline, and I believe, a true love of the sport. Ultimately, you must be doing this for yourself or you will fail. While there are many options for entertainment as you run, you are the best running buddy you have.

Side note about the photography: My friend Shari Bradbury was kind enough to do a photo session with me. Please check out more of her amazing work at:

Shari Bradbury Photography and follow her blog for weekly photos at PHOTOGWRITER.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Run Chicken Run: My Finisher's Medal; Sarah Herrin; Thursday Review; October 20, 2014.

Run Chicken Run: My No-Mornings Schedule, and My No Meat Diet; Sarah Herrin; Thursday Review; October 15, 2014.