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?