But, have you noticed? When you try to make a running date, one of the two of you always says, "Ya know, I don't run your pace! I don't think I can keep up!" And then it seems awkward and the date may or may not happen. And it is such a shame! Making running dates is one of the most powerful things you can do to keep your running in motion regularly! And rarely do two people run at exactly the same pace all the time. So, here are some ideas to encourage you to make running dates with all kinds of runners, some that may be slower than you and some that may be faster than you.
Make rules. Yep. Make rules. Negotiate the terms of your running with your running partner. Talk about how you will deal with your different paces. And if you don't know where to start, here are some suggestions. Just keep in mind that you may need to customize them for you and your partner. Everyone is different and every pair of runners presents different issues. Make rules that fit for you and your partner.
The warmup should be dictated by the runner who has the slower pace. AND that runner will be doing the faster runner a GREAT service. One of the biggest mistakes runners make is not warming up properly or not warming up slow enough. If you are the partner who leads the warmup, be assertive about leading a reasonable warmup pace for both you and your partner. And if it is a good warmup pace for you, it will also work for your partner. It is impossible to warm up too slow! It is possible to warm up too fast. So, don't make that mistake. The warmup is also a time where you should be able to chit chat and have the opportunity to catch up with each other. Socializing should be the main focus so that you will not go too fast! Both runners should let go of their egos and appreciate the absolutely, awesome, social value of a good warmup!
Warmup for at least 10-15 minutes. After that time, if the faster runner wants to surge ahead to maintain a little faster pace for a set amount of time, they should have permission to do so. Keep in mind that both runners will need to lose their egos and know that, for the run to benefit both, they will need to release each other periodically. Most training plans accomodate running for a certain amount of time. For those workouts, thefaster runner can surge ahead to run at their own steady state pace for a set amount of time (3-5 minutes). And then they should back track to join their partner. Then run together for an agreed upon recovery time period after which another surge can happen. This creates a nice framework for interval work.
And this interval framework can also accommodate the slower runner trying to match the other runner's pace for short intervals. But only after an appropriate warm up and only after a good running base is established. The worst thing that both runners can do is try to run the other's pace for the whole time. It will not do either runner any good to run that way! But to be able to vary paces, going slower at times and faster at times (once you have been running for a month or so consistently) is an excellent exercise. Just make sure to agree on the surges and keep them to a set, short amount of time.
So, what is the main key to this working well? Both runners need to value what the other offers them and not let their egos get in the way! We all need to vary our paces in order to build a really solid foundation of running. Running a slower pace than we are used to should be the first focus. Running faster paces should only be a focus after a good base is established. Both paces, way slower and way faster, are important! So, let go of your ego and call someone now! Negotiate your rules and start keeping each other accountable. You will both gain from your partnership!