Match-maker, make me a match! Finding the best training partner

Having a running partner is a huge part of staying motivated to train, can make racing more enjoyable and it can make you faster. But finding the right fit can be almost as hard as finding your mate on Tinder. But like all things in endurance events, the process will be well worth the reward. Here are some tips to finding your perfect running match.

Check Your Schedules

This is probably the most important factor in a running relationship. Find someone who can run at times when that are convenient for you. If you’re constantly rushing and stressing about juggling running dates with your work and family commitments, it’s not likely to last.

Know Yourself

Do you like to chat while you run? Or is having to hold a conversation going to stress you out? Do you need music even with another person? Do you feel the need to check your paces at every mile, and stop for water or fuel at regular intervals? Do you revel in running in rain, snow, heat, and other inclement weather conditions? Or do you feel more comfortable on the treadmill at the slightest hint of rain? How do you feel about unsolicited advice? Those kinds of factors that can make or break running chemistry. Make sure you and your running partner are on the same page.

Set The Pace

Make sure that you run at compatible paces. If you’re looking to get faster, running with someone who runs slightly faster can help you build your fitness. And if you need help holding back, you might pick a partner who is slightly slower. But if the gap is too big or if you’re struggling to keep up with the other person, you might get injured. And if you feel like the other person is dragging you down, that could cause tension.

Be Clear About Your Goals

Are you seriously training for a race? Or are you running just for fitness, fun and fresh air? Make sure that you and your running mate have the same sorts of goals for your workouts.

Set Some Ground Rules

Logistics can make or break a running relationship. Before you start running, establish some general ground rules about your running dates. If one person is late, how long should the other person wait before they go? What if someone wants to stop early—should the other person go ahead? Clarifying these details before you go will help avoid hurt feelings and miscommunications.

Do Some Test Runs

Even after you think through all these factors, things still might come up on the run that make you see that the running relationship just isn’t the best fit. Go on four to six runs together before you commit to a long-term relationship with another runner—say committing to train and race for the same marathon together.

Have More Than One

Even if you find the perfect partner, things like vacation, work, family commitments and illness may mean that one of you can’t make it from time to time. Make sure that if you or your running partner can’t make it for some reason, that you feel comfortable going solo, or have another group or person that you feel comfortable running with.