The qualities to look for in a running buddy

Grit Doctor: My top fitness tip? Run with a partner who’s slightly tougher than you

This running buddy of mine is a grit fiend of epic proportions

This running buddy of mine is a grit fiend of epic proportions

 

Q: What is your ONE top tip to stay motivated running?  Gracie

A: I’ve been pondering your question for a while Gracie, and I took from your capitalising of “one” that I had better be specific.  Before I answer though, an important caveat: any “one top tip” should be subject to change, to being pushed out of pole position by any number of alternative “top tips” at any given time. 

This is vital, lest we fall into the dangerous mentality of thinking that one thing alone can save us (a bit like getting into the bad habit of believing one food, kale for example, is the answer to a weight or diet issue. Incidentally, blaming one foodstuff for the problem is just as dodgy). 

Shaking things up, shifting perspective, looking to different ways of doing things to stay motivated – an always learning attitude to improve and challenge ourselves will always override any current top tip.  So with that in mind Gracie, here it is. . .

  My top tip – Run with a buddy who is a bit grittier than you. 
The “a bit” part is important; go too far and his or her grit will suffocate yours.  You may think – given that I’m supposed to be the Grit Doctor – that it would be a massive challenge for me to find such a person, but, ahem, as it turns out, not so.

This running buddy of mine is a grit fiend of epic proportions 

I frequently get teased by my husband about just how ungritty I am in comparison to X, Y or Z, to which I simply scoff (inwardly of course), and tell myself (only myself) that it’s not me who is nursing the warm arse-shaped dent in our beloved sofa, but that’s another column.

This running buddy of mine is a grit fiend of epic proportions. Not only is she a mother of three children (all with Irish-twin-worthy age gaps), but she also has a very demanding job and is of the classic alpha female personality type.

She often texts me before boarding a transatlantic flight home to pencil in an early Sunday morning run. She is as rigorous as I am about time-keeping and not letting people down, so we stick to our plans like glue.  

She is fitter and faster than me, but not so much so that I can’t keep up

If one of us fails (dare she)? the other excessively berates them for it, in the most motivating and healthiest ways of course.  And it’s not just that she is grittier, she is also fitter and faster than me, but not so much so that I can’t keep up with her, of course. I can. Only just, and we always run further and faster than I would on my own. 

So if you can find a running buddy who is not only grittier but altogether superior (in the running sense), your motivation will likely soar.  Not only does she keep me motivated, but she also ensures I get fitter and stronger, so I’m operating at my grittiest best.

The Grit Doctor says: Optimise your grit levels by recruiting a buddy with a bit more grit than you and feeding off it. 

Sign up for one of The Irish Times' Get Running programmes (it is free!).

First, pick the programme that suits you.
- Beginner Course: This programme is an eight-week course that will take you from inactivity to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.
- Stay On Track: The second programme is an eight-week course for those of you who can squeeze in a 30- to 40-minute run three times a week.
- 10km Course: This is an eight-week course designed for those who can comfortably run for 30 minutes and want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!

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