As we are closing in on Thanksgiving, I am reminded that I have so much in my life to be grateful for. I have a good job that keeps me learning and growing, I have a kid that doesn’t usually make me want to set the house on fire, and my husband is hot as hell. I also have some really great friends, which is a pretty huge accomplishment for someone that identifies as a dry-humored introvert. As much as I love the five or six people I call friends, I have a special place in my dark heart for my running buddies. There aren’t very many things that can bond two people together the way that running three to four hours together can. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five reasons that running buddies are the best, and why I am grateful for them.
They Always Have Snacks
I’m starting out with what I consider to be one of the best perks about having running buddies in your life. Running requires a lot of energy, and runners are notorious for being hungry nearly all the time. I might be an extreme case, but I generally start to get cranky if I go more than 90 minutes to two hours without food. It would be a very rare occasion that you could catch me without some sort of Larabar, banana, yogurt, or all three in my purse. My snacking habit goes pretty deep; I almost always have peanut butter on me. Every once in a blue moon though, I run out of the house empty handed. Thankfully, I can usually count on being able to find a fun size candy bar in my running buddies purse or car, just in case of emergencies of course. Which is handy, because for a runner like me, going two hours without a snack certainly qualifies as an emergency. And when you really think about it, who doesn’t need a friend that’s always got an extra 300-500 calories to spare?
They’re Down to Catch a Matinee
I absolutely love going to the movies. Horror movies are my jam, but I’m generally pretty happy to watch anything outside of romantic comedies. I sneak in my own snacks (we’ve talked about my snacks), order a glass of wine, and take full advantage of the excuse to not be able to mess with my iPhone. What I’m not super big on is going to the movies at night. I wake up 6 days a week at 5 am, and I run an average of 6-10 miles on any given day, not to mention the CrossFit that I throw in for good measure. To say I’m tired by 7pm is an understatement of epic proportions. Most nights I am fully tucked into bed and unconscious by 9:30, and I like it this way. I value sleep. It keeps me sane. Sleep and snacks, my two favorite “s” words. So, as difficult as it is for me to stay awake past 10pm, it is nearly impossible for me to sit in a nice dark room and stay awake through a full movie in my post-snack haze unless it’s early in the day. While most functioning adults would laugh at wanting to catch the latest release at 3pm, running buddies are right there with you, purse full of snacks and all. They want to get to bed early just like you do, and they definitely don’t mind a full theater all to themselves.
They Don’t Mind When You Wear Running Clothes Everywhere
Fortunately for women in America, athleisure wear is still fairly acceptable for most daily activities. Look, let’s just be honest and acknowledge that most women’s fashion is not at all conducive to comfort, and there is absolutely nothing worse than trying to force slightly swollen quads into leg prisons after a good long run. Stretchy leggings and running shorts provide the ultimate in comfort and mobility, and while some people may give you looks for showing up to brunch in split shorts, a running buddy never will. Running buddies know that unlike Susan, who wears yoga pants 7 days a week and attends yoga classes never, you are not just being lazy about your outfit, you’re trying desperately to avoid irritating the skin you chaffed earlier that morning. Also, no judgement from me Susan, I too wear yoga pants regularly and attend yoga classes never; we all deserve to enjoy comfortable pants free from judgement.
They’re Not Bothered By A Little Bit Of Blood
It’s pretty well known that endurance running generally involves some injuries along the way, and most people aren’t exactly enthusiastic about seeing your latest skinned knee or the place you rubbed yourself raw on your most recent long run. Running buddies, however, do not shy away from graphic pictures of your most recent injury, and are usually willing to help you figure out how to deal with a recurring blister. We’re not squeamish about sharing war stories, and we absolutely won’t judge you for rocking sandals when you only have seven or eight toenails left. I once had a client who apologized for sending me a picture of a bloody foot, asking for help figuring out if it was a poorly fitting shoe or a spider bite that was responsible. I couldn’t help but laugh and think “if only you could see what I’ve shown my running friends, you’d never feel self-conscious around me again.”
They Make 16 Miles Feel Like 9
As much as I appreciate the fact that my running buddies can be counted on to have extra carbs and sun screen when I’ve forgotten mine, what I really appreciate is just the company. I 1000% do not mind running a long run solo; sometimes I actually really enjoy having a few hours to catch up on podcasts and be by myself, #introvertsunite. Even though I like a bit of solitude, endurance running can get repetitive and lonely if you don’t have anyone to share the miles with. Three hours is a long time spend with just your thoughts, no matter how much you like being by yourself. Any time I’m joined by a running buddy, those miles seem to go by so much faster and easier than solo miles. And on the hard days, when the first 5k feels more like 10 miles, having someone to distract you and make you laugh at just how ridiculous marathon training really is can help you get through the tough miles. It also doesn’t hurt that by the end of a hard run, they’re probably just a delirious as you are, and some of the things that come out of an exhausted runners mouth are funnier than Kevin Hart stand-up material.
There’s something different about people who are willing to get up at 5am on a Saturday to go on a double digit run. We have some unique quirks and passions, and having people in my life who not only accept but appreciate those things is truly special. Having friends who motivate, support, encourage, and are just as enthusiastic about complaining about the physical activity that we are both willfully participating in is something I am grateful for. And really, who wouldn’t love a friend who shows up at your house in leggings, with a half-brushed pony tail, carrying coffee and extra Reese’s, ready to make you laugh for the next two hours? To all the running buddies in my life, thanks for putting up with my complaining, and for feeding me when I’m hungry. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having ya’ll around.
As a little bonus, I wanted to share that I am extra grateful to have some amazing lady running buddies in my life. Nothing against men who run, but in my opinion, women are far superior running buddies. Women around the globe know that sometimes it can be hard to find your tribe, so for that reason, here’s some great places to find other women that are just as weird and in love with running as you.
Moms Run This Town – This is a great Facebook community that has different city branches throughout America, connecting moms who run with other moms who run, so you can be sure there’s plenty of caffeine and camaraderie.
Fleet Feet – What I love about Fleet Feet is just how grounded in the community each location is. Stop in and ask about group runs and community groups, and they are 1000% sure to give you some good recommendations.
November Project – An amazing group that is free & open to the communities they have locations in (most major cities). The group hosts different cardio-focused workouts and runs that are geared towards building a strong running community and improving race results.
Badass Lady Gang – The brainchild of Kelly Roberts, whose main goal is to connect women who run, and encourage them to own their strength and continue showing up for themselves.
What places have you found some amazing running buddies?