We’re running hard, the air is crisp and smells of fall. My running pal and I are out for the second day in a row. Our plan is to go out and do 5 times 1 kilometer at faster than race pace. The sun is shining down now, it’s a beauty’ day. As our pace accelerates, my breathing gets heavier, this is a speed I have to concentrate on. I’m lost within a calming gait for our first kilometer. The road we are running is a picturesque vision of the season, accompanied by the old community of houses one each side that contrast the view perfectly. We continue back and forth on this stretch until we reach our 4th repetition. At this point, I’m tormented with fatigue. My legs are heavy, and I no longer have the energy to care about the charming view. We decide we’ll keep it to four reps instead of five, to keep our strength up for Scotiabank Waterfront 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. We hit the first 500 meters right on pace, and the last 500 meters, we empty the tank. It’s painful to grit the last portion out, but it’s over shortly. These are quality workouts, that I would have a tough time doing without a training partner.
As runner’s, most of us enjoy company every once in a while, or on every run. For some of us, it’s a friend, canine, running group, or family member. Until recently, I had dabbled in all of these categories. My wife would bike beside me, my dog would run with me , I would go to the local running shop and meet a group, or meet a few friends to run. Though until recently I never really had a training pal, I was primarily a solo runner. A good training pal is hard to find. So what makes it work?
1) Good conversation
2) Being flexible with each other’s schedules
3) Living close enough to train together (Helpful)
4) Same training paces
I think these are the main points. Good conversation being key, it doesn’t always have to be good, but you’ve got to enjoy running with the person and be able to share non-ackward chat, or a good laugh from time to time. Being flexible is always helpful as a good training partner, It’s difficult when someone isn’t willing to work with schedules. After all, life can get pretty busy. Living close to each other is great, not a pre-requisite, but certainly a helpful motivator. Same/similar training paces in my mind is a mandatory requirement. You never want to be held back, while looking to improve, or hold your training pal back for that matter. When you train around the same area, it helps you both achieve your goals, and get stronger.
What’s the payoff ?
This Sunday in Toronto, both my training pal and I will race the waterfront marathon. What’s exciting is being able to culminate all of our training, and tough workouts into the big event. I’m also excited, because I’ve never once in all of my races had someone to race with. This will certainly be a more competitive experience. I’m pumped to share that camaraderie through those tough points that can happen in any race.
Here’s to you and Rosie’, enjoy yourselves out there!