When Running Gets Lonely it’s Okay to Have ‘Imaginary’ Training Partners

If you’re a runner suffering from a bit of Suri Cruise syndrome and you don’t have any friends to run with, do what I do and make some up.
fast women
Actually, I got an email from one of my AWESOME Team Cait runners taking part in the September Miles Madness Challenge that completely made my morning, “Thanks for the enthusiastic welcome, I’m actually really excited. I’m always looking for someone to run with (who shares the same schedule, yeah right!) and now I feel like I’m part of a whole team… I’ve already run 2 extra times in the last 4 days and am feeling extra light today as a result!!”

Running is the best sport but let’s be honest it is hard business, no way around it. It takes an insane amount of self-motivation and more often than not is a mental battle as much as it is a physical one. There are days when those miles feel a lot harder than they should or when your desire to get out the door may be more on the ebb than the flow; however, all of those days are worth the runs that feel magical. Or the PR’s that feel so painful you cross the line and know you definitely reached down deeper than you ever had before. Oh us runner and our sick, twisted love affair with self-torture.

Having other runners to help bare the pacing burden for workouts, even just to share the same track or run alongside you, can make a world of difference. Even for those long runs, should two runners go 14 miles in near silence, it’s hardly lonely and it could be argued that those two runners were in fact closer during that time than two friends yammering away over a cafe latte. [Kramer shout-out to anyone who got that!]
trail runner
There are times a runners seeks the solitude of miles done alone and there are times they crave the company. Instances when a runner looking to get the best from themselves is compelled to find competition, the burning desire to seek a mate who can kick their butts in the best way possible.

For the times one’s self-motivation starts to wane, the temptation to blow off a run when they really shouldn’t, having accountability to someone, or someones, can act as the push int the right direction.

Why what this runner’s email meant so much to me was because it epitomized what Ashley and I had hoped to do at the onset of the challenge: inspire and motivate people to get out there and get ‘er done! It’s never too late to join the September Miles Madness fun, I’ll keep you all posted with updates and the prize pot will continue to grow too!

Flesh and blood real-life running partners, cyber teammates, or imaginary people…whatever works for you. So if you have to imagine your running partners helping pull you along, by all means. Just be sure to set the post-run refuel table with extra plates ala a Suri tea party.

1) If you have committed to a friend or a group that you’re going to go running does that impact your motivation to follow through?

2) If you don’t have real life friends to run with, do you find support in an online community venue or through reading blogs?

3) If you’re running alone, do you ever imagine there are others around you? Be honest! [You can revisit my post on racing your shadow HERE.]
Straight up, if I’m running a hard workout sometimes I even pretend there is a double ‘me.’ Wait, don’t commit me yet, let me explain. If say I’m doing a tempo on the same route I usually do, I pretend there is the ‘me’ that ran one of my faster times and I want to beat that version of me. When I pass each mile marker I check in and see who’s winning. Okay, now you can still commit me to the cuckoo’s nest now if you want. ;)

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14 thoughts on “When Running Gets Lonely it’s Okay to Have ‘Imaginary’ Training Partners

  1. I usually train with a group, but I don’t always run with someone. We all start together and sometimes run side by side, or sometimes I just run my own pace and don’t worry about keeping up with anyone else or dragging someone else along with me. It’s definitely good for safety too (I’m new in the area and still don’t fully know my way around). Sometimes solitary miles are good though for clearing your mind… but a lot of runs like long runs, it’s awesome to have someone there encouraging you!

    • i’m the same, it depends my mood whether i’m feeling like flying solo or not. that said, if i’m in a new place i usually want people around because i have the WORST direction sense! :P

  2. You’re not going to the mental asylum – I’m pretty sure the garmin has a function for that!

    I love running with others – but I get ‘kind of anxious. What if I can’t keep up? What if they’re heaps slower and I don’t improve? I think that goes back to your neurotic runner post!

  3. I love love love this post! Because I was thinking the same thing! I don’t have a running buddy and most of my friends don’t even work out, but being apart of this team makes me feel like I have people depending on me for something and to think that it’s running makes me smile!
    I do sometimes imagine that I have someone running with me and that keeps me going. ;) Or (this is lame) I am in this race and it’s down to that last few minutes and there are tons of people chanting my name Brandi Brandi Brandi!! No? Just me having that little dream?? :) Lol! This is great and I am SO excited to be apart of it!

  4. This is a great post – I laughed at the title and the first line and the points you make are spot on :) If my September wasn’t about to veer off to travel and lack of logging in running, I would definitely be signing up for your September miles :)

  5. Oh, I am a solo runner all the way. I do like having my little sister along with me when we do fun runs though – mainly so that I can annoy her with dirty song lyrics to make her chase me ;)
    When I am running solo at home I like to think about invisible and non-existent enemies and pretend I am beating them…or sometimes I envision myself as Cameron Diaz a la Charlie’s Angels style (although I am neither blonde nor long of limb) and pretend I am kicking some serious butt!
    I am also really enjoying the September Mile Challenge. I have definitely used this to keep me motivated this week :)

    • omg, i love Cameron Diaz!!! hey, in our minds we can ALWAYS look and run like her. :) i’m sooo stoked to have u on the team for the challenge and i’m happy it’s helping motivate u too!

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