My boyfriend, MellowJohnny, and I decided to do a team relay with my bestie, SpeedyK, for the upcoming 50km Saskatoon Ultra Marathon. We thought it would be fun to train for something together and it would keep us accountable to our “team.” Sure enough, all three of us have kept true to our plan of running at least twice a week and doing our long runs with all three of us. It’s funny how making it a team effort has made us all commit just a little bit more.
I am the first to admit that I’m not the fastest runner. My best half marathon time is 2:12 and generally I don’t work on my running all that much because when I do I usually end up injured with every running ailment known. However, the past year has been pretty great in terms of not being injured and I’ve run pretty consistently.
MellowJohnny, on the other hand, is a fast runner without even training. It makes sense that some people are built for running more than others, but I try not to let my short legs and flat feet hold me back. I do have a competitive spirit and that helps to drive me forward to keep training and doing my best. MellowJohnny has long legs, a natural stride, and fast leg turnover. He is built for running.
We have run together a few times over the summer and it became a bit of an issue [for me] that he is faster than me. I was worried that I was holding him back, even though he assured me I wasn’t. Here is a lesson to all of you faster people running with slower people: let the slow person set the pace. How does one let someone set the pace? Naturally, it is by running either right beside them or half a step behind them. NOT by running a stride or two in front. This became a problem with us because then I felt pushed and bad that I couldn’t keep up because it seemed as though I was holding him up.
I thought that maybe having SpeedyK on the long runs would help, but it turned out MellowJohnny does the same thing when we are all running together. SpeedyK is faster than me too so it’s not as big of an issue for her. I have to admit that I’ve gotten pretty mad at MellowJohnny the past couple of times we’ve run together. I even made a sweeping statement that “I’m never running with him AGAIN!” Two days later we ran together. Whatever.
We have talked about how we can run together and he assured me that he likes the pace I set because he usually sets a pace that he can’t hold for a long time. Once we had this talk, I felt better about running with him. It only took three weeks of running (and fighting) to figure out how to run together. Apparently, I have no problem showing PDA (Public Displays of Anger) while running on the trail. SpeedyK appreciated our honesty.
So for all you couples out there trying to run together, here are some tips for you:
~ Let the slower person set the pace. This means running half a step behind or parallel with that person.
~ The faster person should be VERY careful of their comments to the slower person about the pace.
~ Have an agreement of when it is okay for the faster person to go ahead (ie. up hills).
~ If the couple agrees to run partially with each other and partially not with each other, the faster person should fall back and run fast towards the slower person. DO NOT run ahead, wait for the slower person, and then take off. This is psychologically distressing to the slower person.
~ At the end of the run, no matter what is said, give each other a hug and thank each other for helping them get out and go running. No matter what, running together is great incentive to get out and enjoy a run.
Sometimes MellowJohnny and I will ask each other, “Is there anything you’d rather be doing?” Nope is the answer. Then we ask, “Is there anyone you’d rather be with?” Nope is the answer to that. If the answer is “yes” to either of those questions, then maybe you shouldn’t run together!