I’m a BARB (BAD-ASS-RUNNING-BUDDY). I’ve been running regularly approaching on 9 years. That’s correct, I started when I was 18! Throughout the years I found myself running for various reasons. In the beginning it was about setting and reaching goals. Everyday was a chance to do something I had not done before. After awhile I found myself fine tuning, making little tweaks here and there to see how my running would respond. Every new PR was a fight to get. In the last couple years I’ve settled into something different and all the while greatly rewarding. I’ve had the privilege on more races and training runs than not to be someone’s running buddy and it has been nothing short of AWESOME.
I did not turn into a BARB overnight. I learned from the absolute best. On many occasssions I have had the company of amazing runners and friends that helped me through a mentally and physically challenging run. Through them I learned to be the best running buddy I could be. Below are some tips if you strive to be a BARB!.
Know your limits. Don’t offer to help someone through a run if you will have trouble covering the distance at the desired speed yourself. If you are at the same level, be okay if it that person leaves if they are having a kick-butt kind of run.
Know your buddy’s race goals. Does your buddy want to PR or just have fun? If they want to PR you may not want to ask them their thoughts on our current political climate. Talking and running are exhausting so if you hear your buddy huffing and puffing away don’t ask questions! As having needed a running buddy, I’ve loved one sided conversations hearing about a person’s Saturday night and weekend plans as a distraction. It’s okay to try to take their mind off the pain, just be mindful of if you are helping or hurting.
Dress Up. This isn’t necessarily a requirement for being a BARB, but it helps by making things fun. Yes for most of us Junior High was A LONG TIME AGO, but do coordinating outfits ever get tired? I think not. Most of us are never going to win, so why take things so seriously? Even if you are in it to win it, why not win in a tutu? Entering shameless Glam Runner plug here.
Listen. You could learn a lot about your partner’s state if you just listen. If I do have music on my runs, I ALWAYS keep the ear closest to my buddy unplugged. Labored breathing 2 miles into a full marathon? It’s time to slow the pace down. This is also important from a safety perspective. Cars, bikes, creeper in the bushes, it’s always a good thing to be mindful of your surroundings.
Remember it’s not always about you. Running could be a very selfish sport. At any given time you could lace up your shoes and make a run into anything you want or need it to be. On the flip side, as a running buddy you have the opportunity to be selfless. You have the chance to support someone else during a physically and mentally demanding race. Best of all you are guaranteed to create some crazy fun memories for you and a friend. Solidifying friendships over miles? Yes please!