It took me a long while to start dating . . . in the running community. See, we have a lot of great friends — both locally and not so near — but few of them are runners. After jogging by myself for years upon years, I found myself lonely and living in a brand new city. Unfamiliar with my surroundings and fellow neighbors, I asked around about the local running club.
Ever since, I’ve been running around with just about, well, everyone!
- Consider group dates runs. One of the best ways to dip your toe in the running buddy pool is to attend group runs. Often these events are loosely organized by a club or even specialty shop. The focus of these workouts can range from trails to easy miles to long runs. They might be during the week after work or early Sunday morning. The larger pack usually breaks into smaller pace and/or distance groups, which is where you might eventually meet your solemate. (Use our running group finder to find a club in you area.)
- Feel it out, then make your move. I attended many group runs before I started seeking out independent dates. Finding partners was relatively easy — we were all training for the same local race at around the same goal pace. So, a few after weeks of sweating and panting together, I asked one of my new friends to meet up on Sunday morning for a one-on-one run. And she said YES!
- Just be yourself. At least in the beginning, I was really worried about being too slow or perhaps even being held back by a new partner. It’s important to — early on — be completely honest about your goals, expectations, and abilities. If you find yourself uncomfortable or changing your own training plans — be open about it. Not all running relationships are made in heaven.
- Keep an open mind — age and sex don’t matter. Surprisingly, a few of my best running buddies are a decade or more older than I am. I’ve run with both women and men. Sometimes at the same time. I’ve even played cougar and sought out miles with younger runners. With running, it’s best not to discriminate. We all are at different stages in our training, even if we have little in common on the surface.
- Understand it’s OK to be in an open relationship. Along these same lines, there’s no pressure to remain exclusive. Sure, you may choose to run an event with a friend and be monogamous for a while. However, you may also simply wish to gain benefits from a variety of partners — and it’s OK to just have fun, too.
- Take it to the next level. Perhaps the best part of meeting running buddies is how they can turn into lifelong friends. We all come from different backgrounds and have different goals and situations — but I find that most of the other runners I encounter have at least some major core values in common. If you’re not up for a jog, meet up for coffee and just relax.
Do you run in a pack or stick it solo? How’d you find a mate?