I write a lot of advice here on Salty Running and just today I had a chuckle with a friend about how sometimes I need to read the advice I write long after I write it. I’m definitely a work in progress! But one thing I really think I’m solid on after all these years of running is how to be a good friend. Through my ups and downs as a runner, I’ve learned a lot about what a good running friend should do, but there are also some things a good running friend shouldn’t do.
So today let’s talk about those running friend don’ts, shall we?
1. Good running friends don’t sugarcoat anything. If a good running friend needs to run faster than she thinks you can or want to go on a run, she’ll just tell you. She’s not going to make you do what you can’t do, or try to nudge you over your limits to suit her needs and then later passive aggressively complain that she wasn’t able to do the workout she had hoped to do. If she thinks you’re not ready to hit your goal for your big race she’ll tell you why and help you figure out a better one. Likewise, if she thinks you’re sandbagging, she’ll call you out on that and tell you to be more aggressive. A good running friend is straight up!
2. Good running friends don’t compete against you. I’m not saying good running friends can’t race each other! Oh contrare! What I am saying is that good running friends, instead of secretly hoping to beat each other, push each other through competition. A good running friend will urge you to come with her when she passes you and hope you actually do. As she tries her best, a good running friend hopes you try yours too and wants the best runner that day to win whether that crowns you or her the winner.
3. Good running friends don’t sweat the small stuff. Have to make four pitstops during a six-miler? While it’s not ideal, a good running friend know shit happens … literally. While today you have the trots, it could have just as easily have been her. And these four stops make up for the time her shoe kept coming untied or she had to cancel at the last minute because her 2 year-old woke up with a fever. A good running friend realizes that all these things are just little speed bumps on the long trail of life.
4. Good running friends don’t judge. We all have off days. Maybe you show up for a run and haven’t washed your hair in a few days because you’ve been running around taking care of a baby or maybe you’re having an off day and can’t hit your tempo paces or maybe you are wearing the most hideous shorts/tank combo ever seen in public because that’s all that was clean or maybe you toot through the run because your boyfriend chose the Mexican restaurant last night. A good running friend laughs at your foibles with you.
5. Good running friends don’t forget about you even when you can’t run with them. Run long enough and eventually you’ll be sidelined by an injury or life. Often, the times when we can’t run with our running friends are the times we need them the most. It can be terribly frustrating, lonely, and sad to not be able to run. A quick check-in text, a visit or running on a treadmill while your friend ellipticals through an injury is so much better than forgetting about your sidelined buddy in favor of others who can currently help you train. A good running friend knows the pain of not being able to run and is there for you!
Do you have an awesome running friend who doesn’t sugarcoat things, compete against you, sweat the small stuff, judge or forget about you when you can’t run? Tell us about her!