Being a good training partner comes with following a set of rules, writes Susan Lacke.
It can be challenging to find a training partner. It’s not enough to have someone who matches your speed—you also have to find someone whose company you enjoy over the miles. I have plenty of friends perfect for a dinner party or a coffee chat; but if I had to share a 16-mile run through the desert with some of those same people, it’s highly likely only one of us would return to the trailhead.
That said, my training partners are some of my most cherished friends. Together, we’ve celebrated our bests, tolerated our worsts and pretended not to notice the embarrassing. Even after all that, they still allow me to be seen in public with them. That’s friendship.
There are some fundamental tenets of a relationship between running partners—rules that don’t typically apply to those friendships in the “outside” (read: non-running) world.
So, behold! I give you the manifesto of training partners everywhere.
— Anything you say to me during hard intervals and/or hill repeats cannot be held against you. This includes obscenities, death wishes and insults of the “your mom” variety.
— If we are both racing and I pass you, I reserve the right to smack you on the bum without warning. Don’t want that to happen? You best run faster.
— From time to time, I may show up in mismatched knee socks, shirts with yellow pit stains or shorts with holes. Don’t ask questions. Just go with it.
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— If our plan is to run six miles together, we will run six miles together.
— Even if you’re dragging ass that day.
— Even if I’m being a whiny brat that day.
— I will not give unsolicited training advice. You will not give unsolicited training advice. We say bad things about the person who gives unsolicited training advice.
— If you believe you can do it, I believe you can do it.
— When your self-doubt creeps in, I will still believe you can do it.
— I will not speak of your accidental, yet sonorous, butt toots. You will not judge me for my thigh jiggle. It happens. It’s cool, man.
— The secrets you share on the trail are safe with me. (By the way, that thing I told you during last week’s 14-miler? Thanks for not making your judgy face.)
— I will be genuinely happy for you when you have the best race of your life.
— If you have the worst race of your life, I will bring cupcakes to your pity party, validate your excuses and stroke your ego for 48 hours. After that, I will lovingly tell you to quit your bitching and move on.
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— If you use Google to diagnose your running injury before your doctor’s appointment (even though I very explicitly told you not to), I promise to come over and close your laptop before you become convinced amputation is imminent.
— I will never, under any circumstance, steal a bite of your post-run pancakes when you aren’t looking.
— There will be days when I’d really rather hit the snooze button, bail on our track workout in favor of happy hour or just be lazy. I know you’d understand if I bailed on our workout.
— I will run with you anyway.
About The Author:
Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she is a featured contributor to Triathlete and Women’s Running magazines. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with four animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, a pinscher and a freakishly tall triathlete named Neil. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke