Reads, Running

How to Be an Awesome Training Partner

I’ve been running with a lot of people lately.  Whether it’s Tim or local area runners, I find myself having someone to run with periodically.  It can be a good or bad thing.  During one of my solo runs, I was thinking…what exactly does it mean to be a “good” running partner?

I like a mix of running with people and running alone.  I find that running with people allows the time to go by quicker and allows me to catch up with people.  It also allows me to run places I might not have and also at paces I might not have.

training partner meme

These are all just personal opinions and obviously being a “good” running partner varies from person to person.  This is just a list I was thinking about:


  1. Chances are unless you are the exact same person; you won’t feel like running the same pace. Be flexible and don’t make your training partner feel like dirt. Don’t force them to run faster for you.  In the same respect if you are feeling off pace, let them run ahead no guilt.
  2. Don’t spit and accidently hit them. Just gross. No.
  3. Don’t be late. We both planned our schedules around this time…no one wants to stand there awkwardly during our planned run. I give you ten minutes then I’m jogging into the sunset (or sunrise…or whatever).
  4. Be encouraging but don’t be cray. I personally don’t enjoy when people tell me “only X miles to go” but everyone’s different. Some people thrive on that and some people don’t.  If you are close friends with someone, you probably know.  If you aren’t…get to know your training partners.
  5. Finally don’t run side by side. Other runners do not want to play red rover while you run 10 people side by side. Be aware of your surroundings and let other runners run by.

Questions for you:

What makes a good training partner to you?

Do you run more with people or solo?  

18 thoughts on “How to Be an Awesome Training Partner”

  1. I only have one running buddy but whenever we run it really clicks and we are completely on the same page. I’m sure if we ran together more often we’d run into problems, so maybe keeping it once a week is a good thing! Lateness would definitely make me drop a training partner!

  2. I usually run solo – but my favorite races have been when I’ve run with someone else and we just click. For me, it’s about sticking together when we can, but also being cool with moving forward, no hard feelings, when the pace gets too slow!

  3. I agree with all of this except for the counting down the miles approach (I like it as long as it’s not every mile in a long run :-D). I once had a running buddy who would sing songs. I never knew if I should applaud, join in, or what. I’d much rather just talk during the workout than be serenaded…but other people might like that

  4. I have a nice mixture of solo, group, and training partner runs. I think it’s good to know how to run alone though, but then again I guess some people look at races as a big ole group run where you’re just running really hard. I prefer training partner runs with just 1-3 other people. Some of the big group runs around here turn more into a social thing (which is cool, that is why I run, but I want to log a couple miles, not *just* drink and eat). I also attended a few where there was obviously a clique atmosphere…

    To me, the most important thing is knowing your training partner, sometimes we do push the pace a little but we kind of agree on paces and don’t push it the entire run, but we will challenge the pace for maybe a mile or two and it really helps!

  5. Haha don’t spit on them. Also, no snot rockets onto them. I have only really had “training partners” recently. And it was really nice–we were both lucky in that our pace and tempos were pretty similar, and I am pretty easy going–if you need to stop, I can/will (to be fair, I was also a little faster than my friend, who needed to stop, and further along in my training). I think the most important thing is to flexible–and to know that sometimes, you will be the one being more flexible, sometimes it will be them. (kinda like a marriage, jsyk)

  6. Figuring out what drives the other person crazy while running can take a while. For example, Ben loves hearing how much time left, but I think the info is useless because we run for distance. If I slow down, timewise I need to run longer. Personally I like hearing how much more distance left to go, but I HATE being encouraged to run faster at the end of a run. Ben thrives on that type of encouragement. After a year plus of frustrated running, we figured out what works for the both of us.

  7. This year I found a running group out here in Berkeley that I liked a lot, but even then, I could only run with them every couple of weeks for long runs. I just really prefer running alone. I am hoping once I get back to Boston to connect with another group for long runs, though.

  8. Great list – and I think it is great when you can have workout buddies.

    I’ve only ever run with my brother, and we tend to have a similar pace, and just love chatting and catching up since it is always at least a couple of months between times we see each other. After his heart attack he was very worried about keeping up with me – I told him to relax, the fact that he could even go out was what mattered, I didn’t care if we walked the whole time!

  9. I only ever run solo. It’s my time alone to focus and try to sort my head out for the rest of the day (which…partially works :P) I’m just not a people person, but I will say that once a guy recognized me from a race and we ran about 6 miles together because we were both going the same way. That route went by so quickly it was incredible, and his pace was naturally 7:30s, which is quicker than I usually run just casually! I somehow managed to maintain those paces while keeping up with him, so I can absolutely see the benefits of running with a training partner.

    You’re very accommodating to give someone 10 minutes! I’m really fixated on schedules, so if someone was even slightly late I’d assume they’d ditched me…oh, and I absolutely agree about not running side-by-side. No-one likes a pavement-hogger.


  10. Don’t bail on your training partner. Once or twice is ok, but don’t make it a consistent thing. Goose has pretty much been my only training partner since I switched to crossfit and don’t do too much running at this point.

    I love your new look!

  11. Finding a good training partner is tough. Even though I train with a team during the season, there are naturally people I train with more often than others–based on pace, workout, upcoming races, etc. And it’s funny because a lot of my teammates who I’m close to I can’t train with one-on-one–again, based on those factors. (Plus, I get very dialed-in mid-workout and know that can rub some people the wrong way.) This off-season, though, I’ve done the majority of my training solo and have absolutely loved it. But I *am* excited to see everyone on a regular basis again. 🙂

  12. I also do a mix of running with a partner and on my own. When I do a long run with my training partner, we both bring along our headphones because while we do quite a bit, we don’t talk for all 20 miles and we understand when we want to talk and when we want to just be in the zone and focus on the run. We usually only put in one headphone so we have no issues hearing each other or cars/other runners. Understanding each other is a big part of running with anyone!

  13. I so miss being able to run with friends any time I want. Now, I have to schedule like a week in advance but it never, ever disappoints. Chatting with a good running partner makes the time fly by!!

  14. I recently started running with my coworkers during lunch, and I think it really helped me stay motivated and accountable. It’s hard to skip out on a run when other people are counting on you to show up, so I think a good training partner is someone who makes you accountable without nagging you 🙂

  15. I like doing workouts alone and running easy paces with people. I like to talk (ok…I love to talk) and it’s easier to do when I am not trying to catch my breath. A good training partner is positive. I do not believe that misery loves company. I personally hate it.

  16. Haha, yes to everything. I’m really independent so I like working out by myself, but if I do have a partner they have to read all this.

  17. BE ON TIME!!!!! As a morning runner (and admittedly ridiculously impatient person) I really appreciate when fellow runners are on time!

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