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.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- Local gyms often have running programs.
- Sign up for a race. After the race, talk to the people you finished with (your pace!) about where they run.
- 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?