Pick The Right Running Partner (The First Time)

A good running partner can improve your performance. A poor one can set you back. Select the right one on your first try with these three tips.

runners jockeying for position

Tired of being a lone wolf? It may be time to consider growing your one-man show into a team of two. Based on leading sports psychology research, it would be a wise decision. Several studies show that athletes exceed their expectations when they perform with a partner or group. (Read Train With a Partner to Get a Competitive Edge.)

It's easy to decide to find a running partner. Picking the right one is more difficult. You want your new alliance to maximize your potential, not diminish it. So as you begin to look for a partner, consider the following three crucial factors.

Similar Goals

First, ask yourself why you're even running. Is it to train for an upcoming race, lose weight or for pure enjoyment? Ideally, you and your running partner should share similar goals. Whether short or long term, common goals can help both of you stay focused, supportive and committed. (Want to train for a marathon? Try this 20-Week Foolproof Marathon Training Program.)

Personal Compatibility

There's nothing worse than selecting a partner and later discovering that you're incompatible training together. But it's fairly common among runners. Conflicts manifest themselves in many ways. For example, you might enjoy challenging runs and pushing yourself, whereas your partner prefers to jog and make small talk. Or you like to start your day with a run, while your partner would rather end the day with one.

There is no right or wrong way to run. But for your running partner to be right for you, you must align your workout pace, ethics and personalities.

When considering a potential partner, discuss your running experience, past injuries, level of competitiveness and other preferences. Do this before you commit to a running program. Don't worry if you aren't aware of all the specifics. The best way to gauge compatibility is to go on a few trial runs together. (Make them better with Be a Glue Guy: Make Your Teammates Better.)

Logistics and Preferences

Logistics go hand-in-hand with compatibility. Even minor details like your month-by-month availability and weather preferences are important to consider.

From runner's high to a runner's low, outcomes can range from improved performance to a loss of mileage and motivation. Avoid the latter by finding a reliable running partner who shares your fitness goals, level, and preferences.

Now that you have these helpful tips in mind, let the search begin.

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