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Cross Training For Runners

How to Find The Right Running Partner

8 Mins read

Looking to find the perfect running partner? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s the truth.

Finding the right running partner is easier said than done. The thing is, runners are not created equal. Some are fast. Others are slower. We also have different lifestyles, work schedules, and preferences—I can go on and on, but you get the picture.

So how do you actually run with another person despite all the obstacles? That’s where today’s post comes in handy.

Keep on reading to learn more about the benefits of running partners as well as how to choose the right one(s) for you.

The Benefits Of a Running Buddy

If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. I’ve found this old African adage to be true in virtually all aspects of life. Running is no exception.

To explore your running potential, peer up with other runners.  A running buddy is more than just a friend. They’re one of the most valuable tools to have in your training arsenal.

If you’re still on the fence about sharing the road with others, here are a few reasons to consider.

Social Outlet

Every adult knows how hard it can be to find time to spend with friends. Not every interaction with your friends has to be at a bar or your home, though. Instead, you can get together and run to engage in social interactions with your friends so that you don’t lose track of one another in the constant blur of adulthood!


Holding yourself accountable is hard but having someone to do it for and with you makes it easier. It shouldn’t depend on your lifestyle or age. Pretty sure that when you are 20, you will have more opportunities to make new friends at the university or while traveling.

Achieving Goals

You can only achieve your goals if you hold yourself accountable and get the best workouts. A partner will push you to keep pushing forward when you want to sit down and quit. Share your goals with your partner; it will be easier to hit that special mark, like running 5 miles in a day!


Running gets easier every day, but it only gets easier if you do it every day (or a healthy number of times in a week). The bottom line is that you need consistency. Some days you will be the weak link, and other days, your partner will be. What matters is that your partner will drag you out of the house and keep you honest.


Nothing makes a run go quicker than having a conversation while you go. A good partner will cause a nice diversion, so you barely feel the strain you’re putting your body through as you pound the pavement.

Get Faster

According to a Kansas State University research, subjects push harder when exercising with a partner they perceive—rightly or wrongly, regardless— to be a little fitter than they’re.

Pairing up with a faster runner will force you to get out of your comfort zone, which in turn, helps make you a faster runner.

Get Safer

There is safety in numbers. If running safety is an issue, you need a workout buddy. Chances are you can defend yourself against an assault or a wild animal when you got someone with you.  A training buddy can also help if you fall or get injured, God forbid.

Improve Bonding

Asking your family members, such as your spouse or siblings, to join you for a run will bring you closer and provide the chance to bond well.

Make Runs More Fun

Here’s something no one will argue with: the right training buddy can make your runs more fun.

The more fun your runs are, the more likely you will stay better committed to your training over the long term.

This ought to be the main reason to run with another human being.

Pounding the pavement can be lonely, so having that social contact—being able to laugh, support and push—will make your training more enjoyable and efficient.

running buddy

How To Choose The Right Running Partner

Finding the right running partner in a perfect world should be easy peasy. After all, running is a super popular sport, with millions of people engaging regularly.

However, finding the most suitable running partner can be tricky—especially someone who shares your goals and vision.

But don’t worry about that. Today I got you covered.

Here are a few tips to help you —and be—an awesome running partner.

Know Yourself

Before you start asking your friends and gym buddies to join you for a run, know yourself and your running profile first.

To do that, answer the following questions as honestly as possible.

  • What’s your typical pace?
  • What’s your 5K pace? 10 K pace? Etc
  • Where do you prefer to run?
  • Are you competitive?
  • Do you usually run short or long distances?
  • Are you a well-rounded runner?
  • Do you like to talk while you run?
  • Do you need to listen to music even with another runner? (I do)
  • Do you revel in running in extreme weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or extreme heat?
  • Do you prefer running on pavement or trails?
  • What’s your take on unsolicited advice?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help set you on the right path.


Just as it’s vital to know your running profile and have a few training buddies, it’s also crucial for your running partner to be at a comparable level to you.  An effective running buddy is a runner and someone who trains at the same intensity as you.

It’s rarely a good idea to run with someone who is light years ahead or behind you. The risk is that you’ll end up either pushing yourself too much or too little. You want neither. If you run fast and your partner dawdles, someone will have to switch gears.

For instance, someone will have to change speeds if you’re just a few weeks in a running program while your potential running partner is preparing for their first marathon. That’s not ideal.

Before you make any long-term commitments or plans, make sure to discuss each other’s fitness levels and what both of you hope to achieve.

Look for a training partner whose running ability and fitness level are in the same stratosphere as yours. Be ready to ask—and answer—directions questions about running abilities, training plans, and short- and long-term goals.

The previous list of questions can help you determine the suitability of a given candidate.

And don’t overcommit from the get-go. Do at least a couple of easy trial runs before you schedule more workouts together. You’ll discover pretty soon if the other person is reliable and positive (assuming that you’re already such a person), or if they’re not the case.

Additional resource – Common running injuries

Pick The Right Pace

Since runners are not created equal, you should choose an easy pace for both. Especially the beginner.

For example, if you have run for many years but your spouse is a complete beginner, your recovery easy 3 miles might be their weekly hard session.

So before you head out of the door, decide your running distance, duration, pace, and route in advance. Leave nothing for surprises.

As a rule, the faster runner doesn’t get to choose the pace when you run together. Instead, the slower run is in charge.

Do Not Compete

This is a mistake I made many times, especially when I partner up with someone who loves pushing the pace.

Do not confuse your running buddy for a competitor. If you turn the buddy system into ‘who is the fastest’ competition, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And you don’t want that.

When you try to outpace your partner, you lose sight of training goals and vision and deviate from what’s ideal for you. Furthermore, doing so will sabotage your performance training experience.

Don’t let your ego dictate the pace. It’s not the goal here. Pushing a little bit each other is okay, but outright competition with a clear winner or loser is no good.

Instead, use the time together to help each other through plateaus and work on achieving gradual goals. The only person you should be competing with is yourself.

Remember to listen to your body and stay within your fitness limitations—running too hard too much is counterproductive and can result in injury or accidents.

Be Patient

Like in a relationship, patience is key for success, especially when running with someone else.

If your partner struggles with that last lap or mile, don’t tease them about how slow or out of shape they are. Nobody likes a snarky partner.

Pay attention to your partner’s fitness level, comfort, injuries, or other issues. Respect them where they are and meet them. Remember that you used to be a beginner yourself.

Again, this is especially the case if you’re the faster runner. You’ll need to be patient as you work on finding the sweet spot when it comes to a pace that works well for you as a couple.

Have Multiple Running Partners

Committing to an exclusive running buddy is fantastic until they get injured, go away on vacation, or simply get too busy at work, and you’re suddenly on your own again.

That’s why having a few running mates—even joining up a group—is a good idea.

In the world of running, you’re allowed to cheat on each other — no need to be loyal to solely one running partner. It’s an open relationship.

What’s more?

It can also get boring to always run with the same person, which might hurt your motivation to run.

Variety is the spice of life, after all.

For all these reasons (and so more), have more than one partner for all your running needs as long as they share your visions and are driven as you are to stick to consistent training.

Don’t Be A Preacher

Running with a partner can be a great way to log in miles while spending quality time together, but it’s only possible if both parties want to run together.

If your spouse or girlfriend isn’t a runner (and not interested in the sport, which is okay), don’t try to force him/her into running.

Different people have different strokes. Be willing to accept that.

Finding a Running Buddy

Now that you know the principles of the buddy system, let’s look at some of the best ways to find a running buddy.

Here are my best recommendations :

  • Start with your circle. Ask your family, friends, co-workers, and gym buddies to join you for a run.
  • Hit the local running club.  Visit the Road Runners Club of America and check their lists of clubs. They’re all over the country. It’s the ideal resource for finding one in your backyard. Once you join the club, find runners who match your pace.
  • Check your local running specialty store. In most places, local running specialty stores and clubs are the backbone of the local running community. These often organize group runs, post ads from runners looking for running partners, or do both.
  • Sniff around at your gym. Some fitness facilities have running clubs or running partner sign-ups. Take advantage of them. You can also ask the front desk to post a note or add to a bulletin board seeking a partner.
  • Try This is an awesome free resource that can help you match up with other runners, no matter where you are in the world.
  • Cold Approach. Simply start a conversation with a runner you often see at the park.

Is Running Together A Date

But what if someone you’re interested in has invited you to run?

When it’s the case, consider the following before running together:

  • Bring body wipes and a change of clothing, especially if you plan to have a drink or food post-run.
  • Pick a date that suits both of you
  • Decide on pace and whether music is allowed.
  • Don’t worry about sweating—it is expected.
  • Decide where to go next so you won’t fumble around sweaty and tired.

How To Find The Right Running Partner  – The Conclusion

I can’t begin to count the many runs I’d have skipped without my running partner, especially on chilly mornings when I’d rather stay tucked in the comfort of the sheets than go out for a long run.

What about you? Do you have any running partners?

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.

Keep Running Strong

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