The Best Gift a Runner Can Give Herself
...Is a Little Sweat-Centric Camaraderie
When I first started running, I only ever trained alone. I was living in a gorgeous corner of rural Ohio. I had access to endless miles along a riverfront trail, and my daily runs were a breath of solitude in the middle of college life. Running alone worked perfectly for me. I even took special pride in the fact that I never trained with a team.
Haha. Then I moved to New York.
A giant, overpopulated city can be one of the most isolating places if you don’t seek out community. Suddenly my training ritual was turned on its head. Solitary 20-milers lost their luster, and it became harder and harder to get excited about lacing up every day.
It was either burn out or buddy up. I chose the latter, and lewaaard ahmighty, what a difference it makes! I am converted!!
I first joined Team in Training as a proud member of the Penguin Random House corps to run the New York City Marathon, and recently I’ve started running with the North Brooklyn Runners, the surreptitious kings and queens of Brooklyn, IMHO. The innumerable advantages of running with friends include (but are not limited to):
1. Reduction of Inaugural Drift
I am, by nature, a tardy lass. It's not cute. And when I’m flying solo, whether I’ll start my run at 6:00...6:13...or 6:45 is always an open question. A late start means I can’t fit in as many miles as I ought to—or that I skimp on stretching at the end (a cardinal sin, I’m told). Knowing that I **must** arrive at a certain place at a certain time or else lose the privilege of running with the group keeps me punctual AF.
2. Prolonged Youth
Running with friends makes it ten times easier and more tempting (and sometimes imperative) to push yourself. I inevitably runner faster in the company of others. Per the theory of relativity, the faster you move, the slower you age. This is physics I can phuck with. Also, I hear that fitness increases longevity, so there’s that.
3. Flexibility Accountability
I hate stretching. Okay, untrue. I love stretching, but I have such a hard time convincing myself to do it. At the end of a run, I’m simply never in the mood to spend another ten minutes showing my body this highly responsible degree of love. However, I am a lemming. So when folks around me take the time to stretch, I do the same, and this can only be a good thing.
4. Better Scenery
When left to my own devices, I end up charting the same course(s) over and over again. On some level, it’s extremely comforting to get to know that same few miles of road really intimately. But variety is the spice of life, especially when variety = hills. So thank goodness group-running means I’m not in charge of which direction we head. I need someone to save me from my own monotony.
5. More High-Fives
No further explanation needed, I think.
Share your miles!
The luxury of being in a big metropolis is that there is seemingly no end to the number of clubs available—it’s pretty easy to find your niche if you put in a little leg work. But if you’re looking for some runner camaraderie in smaller cities and towns, the ever-reliable google search and meetup.com are worthy starting places. And Strava (i.e. social media for athletes/a GPS-powered bragging rights festival) makes it possible to connect with runners all over the world. ‘Tis dope.
In fact....Plant Nasty has its own Strava club! Vegan, vegetarian, and vegcurious athletes are crushing it with some mind-blowing, plant-powered workouts. Everyone everywhere is so so welcome to come kick it with us (virtually) and discover how strong and beautiful the world of plant-powered athletes is. Come share your miles!