Gosh I’ve missed this! Today I’m happy to link up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia again for the Friday Five Link-Up. As the first Friday of the month is dedicated to the topic of fitness, I’ve decided to do a post with 5 quick reasons running with a companion improves your fitness.
You’re more likely to actually work out if you’ve got plans to meet up with another person to work out. Let’s face it y’all. Sometimes you just want to punk out of that run. Sure, that little chart on your bulletin board or the reminder in your calendar says “long run: 10 miles.” Sometimes it even says “3 miles” are on tap for your weekday short run and you just wanna skip it for Netflix and ice cream.
But you RSVP’d for that meetup with the group each week. They’re expecting you. You have to make some lame excuse next time you go for why you didn’t show. Or you made plans to meet up with 1 friend to do your long run together, or at least part of it. It may be 30 degrees out and you want to stay in bed, but your buddy is counting on you. It’s a whole lot easier to force yourself out of bed when someone’s counting on you than when no one will know you skipped!
2. Running faster
I’m not even a terribly competitive person with other people – mainly competitive with myself. But if I’m running alongside someone else, I’m much more motivated to keep pushing if they are. If we’re supposed to stick together, I better keep up!
And might I add – running with a companion doesn’t have to mean a person. The other night I ran with my dog. I don’t know if you’ve ever run with a 1-year-old happy-skippy little dog used to running the vast landscapes of Texas, but my dog – if she could focus – could be an agility competition champion dog. She is so fast when she lets it rip she goes by in a literal blur. So when we set out that night for 3 miles, she literally pulled me the whole first mile and we clocked a 9:54 – which is fast for me at this point in my fitness level.
3. Lung capacity
At this point I don’t have much of this leftover for conversations with my running buddy. Most of my lung power is focused on continuing to breathe through my running. But I have noticed as I’ve run a little bit more with someone by my side and we chat away, my speed has been gradually, inch-by-inch, increasing. It takes greater lung capacity to run and talk at the same time. Right now I’m mainly the listener, but the more I add a sentence in or a short response in as I listen, the more my cardio improves.
4. Motivating each other to keep going
My friend Ali and I make a great team for this. I talked about this in a recent post – but I’ll give more of a specific example. On our recent 7.5 mile long run together, we reached a hill crossing a bridge at about mile 6.5 or 7. I was flagging. I had been the one to get Ali’s ass out to the trail to start the run. I had been the cheerleader that told her “you’re gonna be so glad you did it when we’re done!” I had been the one in the beginning stages to remind her never to trust the first mile as your heart rate gets adjusted. But by the end of that run I was really flagging. We reached that bridge and I half-heartedly called out “beastmakerrrr” when I really wanted to bellow “THEY’RE NOT HILLS THEY’RE BEAST MAKERS!” So Ali did it for me. And Ali powered up that hill like she was powering up stomping down the patriarchy, and what could I do? Stop? Hell no. I had to chase that girl. I couldn’t power up it as fast as she could, but I sure didn’t walk up it like my brain really wanted to.
Walking hills doesn’t train you to run hills. Ali pushing up that hill and me having to chase after her made my legs stronger and overcame my mental roadblock.
5. It’s fun!
Not only does running with another person make you more likely to actually get the workout in because you’re ACCOUNTABLE, but even an introvert like me finds it more fun. Sure, there are definitely nights when I just want to plug in my headphones and tune the world out and run by myself with just me and my thoughts.
But runners tend to be some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. And if you and your friend can power through 800 repeats together, or stick it out together through a rainy, windy, cold 5 miles, how much more rewarding is that post-run hot chocolate or beer when you’re commiserating or celebrating with that friend?
I’m definitely an advocate for the solo run whenever you want – I think on the flip side of the coin, being self-reliant and not having anyone to be accountable to and pushing yourself to lace up and run the hills anyway makes you a stronger runner physically and mentally.
But if you’re having trouble getting motivated to just get out there and go, do it with friends.
So that’s that! Don’t forget if you want to join this week’s Friday Five to visit the ladies linked at the beginning of this post and add your link there!
Have you found that working out with a companion – human or dog – has improved your fitness? Or do you work out best solo?