Running Social

Running Social

Running Social

I love running with my friends and family. It’s a great way to hang out – it’s free, fun and active. Back in the day, I used to pretend that I enjoyed running with others. But really, it made me very anxious. Because while it may be healthy and free, it’s also vulnerable. Exploring my physical limits in the presence of someone else (even a friend) can be uncomfortable.

A number of years ago one of my best friends and I decided to train for a half-marathon together. I’m not sure what got into me, because I had little interest in being anyone’s running buddy at the time. She must have been very convincing to make me forget my fears, which included: being too breathless to talk, being a slow-poke, exposing my red face and a few other fears that are too embarrassing to share on the internet. (But, I’m happy to tell you in person if the topic ever arises.) Considering she was (still is) one of my best friends, and is also the most disarming person in Orange County, I reluctantly gave the whole running buddy thing a try. Surprise, surprise, we ended up having a great time training and running the race.

With Jesi, I faced my fears and found a total enjoyment in running with others. Those training runs transformed me from a solo runner to a social runner. Yes, sometimes I’m breathless, slow and red-faced… but, no one freaking cares. No one.

Conquering distance, terrain, speed together is unifying. And, with shared interest comes connection. Running together adds a unique dynamic to a friendship.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love running solo. I use that time to unload, listen to my thoughts and recharge. But, when I run alone, it’s because I want to, not because I’m afraid of running with someone else.

What about you? Do you enjoy running with others or do you prefer to go it alone?

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  • Reply
    10/01/2014 at 4:06 pm

    I feel the same way that you used to-alone works best for me because I tend to get over competitive and/or self-conscious and it sucks the fun right out of it. Your post has made me think about giving a running buddy a try though!

    • Reply
      10/01/2014 at 8:48 pm

      I ran with two friends last week. One of my friends was having an off day and our paces were out of sync. We stopped to use the bathroom and she was bold enough to be honest about how insecure she was feeling about lagging behind. She spewed the thoughts she was struggling with out and I reminded her how false they were. Sometimes you just need to call BS on those sorts of lies.

  • Reply
    Kristen Howerton (@kristenhowerton)
    10/01/2014 at 4:56 pm

    I really struggle with it still. I’m slow and it makes me feel insecure, even though I know the accountability would be good.

  • Reply
    10/01/2014 at 6:01 pm

    Tomorrow I have my first social run in a year. I’m looking forward to it. Last year I spent too much time trying motivate ppl who said they liked the sport that I got tired of hearing my own voice, and though they wouldn’t admit it, I’m sure my friends did too. At least my friend tomorrow would run with or without me. Makes all the difference to me right now.

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