Training Runs With Another Human

Posted: 24th January 2014 by mockjogger in Training Runs

two running 1

In a solo training run you are anonymous. You run past runners and non-runners alike. No one knows you; you know no-one.

In a race you are anonymous. You may start with friends but you will rarely finish with them; alliances and rivalries form, dissolve and perhaps form again but only for fleeting moments.

In 99.9% of my runs I am anonymous. I decide my pace. If I want to push it, I push it; if I want to go slow, I go slow; If I want to go further I keep going. I decide whether I take water or gels and when I use them. I am my own master. I like it that way.

Last weekend, for only the second time (if you don’t count the time I went for a run with Kiyoe, which lasted for all of 100m) I found myself running with someone else. A long time friend who I only meet every year or two nowadays. Someone who has discovered an affinity for running, particularly hill running.

And so I have found that running with someone else is not anonymous. It is you, your running mate and the road. There is no hiding place.

It was on my home turf, and we went for two runs. The first, a 10 mile jaunt through The Meadows and around Holyrood Park, back and along Union Canal. The first thing I noticed was my breathing. I always run with music, but not this time. I could hear my breathing. I wasn’t the silent gazelle I imagined I was at all, I was a snorting wart hog. Particularly as my running mate was setting a fast pace. After half a mile I glanced at my Garmin. 8.20 pace. Faster than I would normally start a 10 miler. I sensed trouble. Fortunately by the time we reached the incline at Holyrood Park a hip injury derailed my opponent (my running mate had indeed become an opponent) and we took it steady from there.

The second run was a 5K round Bruntsfield Links and The Meadows. I have been trying to do this with negative splits as a fast run each week. But, again, not this time. We set out pretty mush flat out, and my Garmin later showed a 6.x pace recorded in the opening section. By the time we traversed the Meadows the second time I thought my lungs were going to burst. Just in time, my opponent’s injury flared again.

Maybe it’s just me, but running with someone else draws out a competitive passion which surpasses races. No matter what my intentions are, when I get out on the road I seem to just abandon normal rules of friendship and racing etiquette.

Anyone fancy a jog?

  1. I always run with people and you begin to learn that your friends are not your competitors. Unfortunately, there’s always that lone person who thinks every run is a competition, and that’s just annoying (no offense). I know my running friends’ paces and how I stack up next to them; I use their speed to push me to run faster, but my aim is never to try and beat them. This is something I’ve learned through years of running with friends though, I also used to be very competitive.