How to Find the Perfect Training Partner

North Face Great Falls
When my running partner moved to California I was at a loss. We had spent countless hours running together, mostly on the trail, talking about everything but running. What we discussed and what made our runs so rich and fulfilling was our lives and the trials and tribulations that we faced as mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, ourselves. We weren’t solving the world’s problems, but sometimes we did solve our own, or one another’s.

I knew it would be impossible to replace a running partner like Lisa and so I didn’t even try. I didn’t even run on the trails. I took to the roads which, for me, is a far different experience from trail-running and one where I can feel numb. The trails literally make me want to pour out my heart and soul. I’m not an earthy or flowery person as those who know me would agree, but trail-running evokes a visceral, emotional response in me. I actually feel the connection as soon as my feet make contact with the dirt; I feel a change occur from within. It’s hard to describe but it’s like happiness, weightlessness, and complete absorption in the moment. I guess it’s like meditation, although I’ve never tried that so can’t really say for sure.

Manassas Battlefield deep cut

I’ve had some good runs, though, with great friends. I’ve been back to the trails where I feel the familiar pull and enjoy chatting with whomever I’m running alongside. But it hasn’t felt the same. Until last Saturday.

Funnily enough, it was a road run, not a trail run, where I found the connection to running that I thought I’d lost. And I realized it was all about having the right training partner. I was with a running partner I’ve known for years and run with many times, but in this instance we took a wrong turn (I was in charge of the directions…) and found ourselves separated from the group. Once we got back on track we had tacked on a mile and so were far behind everyone else. We ended up running the rest of the 11.5 miles alone, together (like Frog and Toad…love those books).

It was a wonderful hour and 45 minutes. We talked about our families and discovered that we have a lot in common. We kept running and found out all sorts of interesting things about each other, things that define us and things we feel strongly about, experiences we’ve had and events we wish we could change.

I still miss my runs with Lisa but I am glad to have found another training partner (who also loves trails!) with whom I have a similar connection. I can now look forward to my long Boston Marathon training runs!

Here are five ways to find a running partner:

  1. Run with your local running club. There are always a lot of runners at club runs and you can usually find someone your pace. If it doesn’t work out the first time, keep going back. The good thing is that most clubs don’t require you to join right away so you can try them out for a few runs before deciding if it’s a good fit for you.
  2. See if your local running store has group runs. Potomac River Running has organized runs from each of its stores once a week; a great way to meet new running friends!
  3. Local gyms often have running programs.
  4. Sign up for a race. After the race, talk to the people you finished with (your pace!) about where they run.
  5. Just go out and run! While running hill repeats at Manassas Battlefield yesterday, thinking I was the only crazy person running in 18 degree weather, along comes another runner, doing the same hill as me! Turns out she’s training for Boston, too. Now we have a standing date with that hill!

Do you have a training partner?

Do you have a preference for road or trail?





  1. Don’t make me blubber. I am so very happy that you found a new training partner! She is one lucky girl!!! I look forward to meeting her in 12 weeks. xoxo Have a great week!
    Lisa McClellan recently posted..Strawberry Napoleon with #SilkAlmond Pastry CreamMy Profile

  2. Aww, I can imagine Lisa would be hard to beat! I finally found an awesome running partner, but we’ll most likely be moving this summer, so I get to start all over again. 🙁 So glad you found someone you can relate to so well! I know great running buddies are out there- but it can be hard to find the right person (pacing, interests, schedule, etc).
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Marathon Recovery RecapMy Profile

    • Racingtales says:

      Laura, where are you moving to? Maybe start researching running groups in your new area? You’ll find another perfect running partner! Plus, gives your current running partner a good excuse to visit! I’m vising Lisa in March and cannot wait!

  3. T and I have run together for over 2 years now. She is my training partner, my encouragement, my inspiration. She is so much faster than me, yet she slows down to stay with me. Even when I try to get here to take off on her own.
    If it weren’t for here constant encouragement I have no idea how I would have made it through this past year.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted..Diet Bet Weigh InMy Profile

  4. I have friends who I run with, but I haven’t found a specific running partner. I need one though, to help keep me accountable for my long runs. I’m glad you found someone who you can have that great experience with.
    Steph @ Steph Runs On recently posted..Music Monday!My Profile

    • Racingtales says:

      Thanks for your comment Steph! I probably should add a section on HOW to find the perfect training partner, given the title! Will do that now! My suggestions include joining your local running club and running with them – great way to find new running partners!

  5. I’m glad you found a new partner; I know you have missed Lisa and all the runs you did together.

    I have several training partners (I run with about 15 women) and depending on who’s training for what at a given time, spend more time with one or another. A couple are especially close friends and I can’t imagine getting through all the miles without them. We are indeed lucky to have them in our lives!
    misszippy1 recently posted..One run at a timeMy Profile

  6. I’ve actually never had a running partner because most of my friends liver too far away or they don’t run. I was planning on joining some kind of running club this year though, it will be a nice change up to talking to myself on those long runs!
    Julie @ Sweetly Balanced recently posted..The Advanced Bunny HillMy Profile

    • Racingtales says:

      Great idea, Julie! Most of my running friends are from my club, or are people like Lisa who contacted me (I was club president at the time) looking for coaching. Good luck and I hope you find your perfect training partner!

  7. I love running with friends. I’ve been running most of my life and I don’t mind running alone, but I prefer to have company. I’m fortunate enough to have my husband and dogs to run with, but I also have a girl friend I run with at least once or twice a week and another couple training partners that I run with when it works out with our schedules. I love the comaraderie that comes along with training with someone else and I’ve made some really great friends by simply trying out a training run with someone who I didn’t know as well.
    Michelle recently posted..Family Favorite: Pecan Crusted Chicken with Salad Greens and Honey Mustard DressingMy Profile

  8. How absolutely fab you and Lisa were running buds! I can only imagine how good for the soul that was. I keep saying I’m going to check out a local run club but haven’t so far. I need too! Ran tons of trails in last summer’s heat and it really grew on me!
    Marcia recently posted..Look What the Cat Dragged InMy Profile

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