Should you run with a partner?

We look at whether running with a friend is better or worse for your split times.

Friends enjoying a run together.A motivated group out running together.

Hitting the open road, headphones in, blaring out your Bieber can be therapeutic to a lot of people. Giving you the chance to leave any stresses, worries and anger out on the road. For others, it’s more of a get-together. The ideal way to catch-up with friends, have a good natter and burn off some unwanted calories or gain those extra road miles.  Running with a friend has it’s pro’s and its con’s: a bit like having friends at all. Unfortunately, there is no black or white answer but if you’re unsure whether to invite your BFF out on your next jog, there are a few things to answer first.

What are you training for?

Are you training or exercising because there is a big difference. If you’re looking to lose a little weight for the new season or looking to enter your first, or fiftieth, event then the answer can change.

If’s for a casual natter and to burn a few pounds then cool, why not bring a mate. If you’ve got your race face on and gearing to go, make sure your buddies the same.

How can a partner help?

Running with a partner can be a great way of encouraging you keep going with your programme. Sadly it can feel like a bit of guilt trip. You not wanting to let the other down by calling a run off when we all know, and have all been there, you’re both probably thinking the same. A partner helping you to maintain your running regime has obvious advantages for weight loss. More time on the road mean more calories burnt and subsequently, you’ll shed a few pounds.

Runners catching their breath.
Training partners taking a breather midway through a hard session.

Why run with a slower partner?

Running with a slower runner does have its pros. Ideally, everyone wants to see their mile counters racking up but this could give you time to work on some foundation skills. Running to time, getting used to running at a certain pace or working in your steps per minute. These skills can massively help you on a race day to secure those PB’s.

What are the advantages of a partner?

A partner also has its psychological advantages. Many of us will subconsciously view them as opponents. This is known as co-actors. You’ll, sometimes consciously but sometimes not, compete with one another. Time seems to fly be faster, your times seem a little better even though you don’t feel you’re trying as hard? This could be why.

Helping one another through their run
Runners working together on their country run.

Should I run with just one partner?

Again this is largely down to your end goal and the mindset of your partner. The more the merrier, if you can find more than one person to run with you who shares the same end goal then I can’t see any reason for me to say no.

Group runs are a great way of getting know to people. These vary from ParkRun groups to canine Cani-cross classes. Like-minded individuals get together to share their passion, whether that be marathon training or doggy runs. They’re a great way for you to meet your future partner – not martially but your next training buddy. Groups can also open your eyes to new routes, styles of training or the completely bizarre back-alleys of the running world like the Bull runs of Pamplona.

Why run solo?

Unfortunately, this can come down to one main thing – ability. You want a partner who can push you to better your running but you don’t want to be outmatched.

If you’re running with somebody way below your level you’re not going to get the benefit of running with them.  Or if you’re running with somebody of a higher standard you may have to try too hard. This could lead to injury or DOMS which might ruin your run streak or take you out your programme for a few days.

Another important think about is whether you get on with the person you’re running with. Running partners can end up spending a lot of time together and there’s only so much you can both talk about. Make sure it’s somebody you can share with and are willing to listen to. Either that or make sure they’re able to navigate their own way home!


Joe Tucker
the authorJoe Tucker
Joe is an aspiring fitness journalist looking to get his foot in the industry at A fair-weather runner and sparring sissy who occasionally enjoys rolling down hills ... on two wheels that is. Any story ideas? Feel free to DM him with any ideas.

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