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18 Sep With friends like these, who needs PBs? 10 reasons why running friends win every time

Article by Great Britain 800m Athlete Alison Leonard

I’m a little bit obsessed with the lists on the website that rhymes with ‘Fuzzfeed’, and after struggling to make it to the end of this loooong season once all my training buddies had started their end of season breaks, I started compiling my own list, documenting the reasons why running friends are the best thing since those awesome thumb holes that all the brands are putting in their running tops now.

Plus, it’s got GIFs. GIFs are the best.

1. Not judging your Personal Hygiene
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Your friends will be there to reassure you that no one showers on rest day – why would you if you haven’t exercised? Obviously this can become problematic during your end of season break, but you’ll be too busy eating takeaways and sleeping in late to worry. Because of their high tolerance levels, runners are also the final word in hygiene; if they say you smell it’s best to listen.

2. Ditto your fashion choices
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Except when it comes to what to wear after a session, is there really any choice? Surely your English Schools ’08 hoody and leggings are the only viable options. Runners will agree. Real people may judge you as scruffy and lazy. Which maybe slightly true, but is still unkind. Plus only sportswomen can understand the horror of realising you are leaving the gym carrying a casual handbag with running clothes. THE SHAME.

3. Understanding that you’re ALWAYS hungry
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Running buddies are the perfect partners in crime when it comes to nutrition, or as I call it, food. Every so often I interact with normal people for prolonged periods and realise that non running girls hardly eat, because they don’t need lots of calories to sustain them. They will only eat that doughnut if the rest of the day is spent eating lettuce and TicTacs. Telling them that you’re hungry and need food now, right this minute, can be met with bafflement. Plus although runners may have to dodge the body image issues, but the fact remains that if you’re running upwards if 50 miles each week, you’re going to really have to make an effort to put any serious weight. Running friends don’t judge you for eating a whole pizza, or blitzing a pasta buffet, and if you do happen to be trying to avoid treats for whatever reason, a good running friend will do the decent thing and eat it for you, so as to remove temptation.

4. Clean clothes v Electricity Bill
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Runners also understand the need to keep the washing machine on ALL THE TIME. That kit isn’t going to wash itself, and I only have 2 sports bras that prevent jiggle and yet don’t make me look as flat chested as I truly am. Damn the expense and run that machine. This attitude doesn’t fly with non runners, who judge you as you burn through the electricity bill with reckless abandon.

5. Spontaneous Stretching
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I have several friends who will break into a lunging sort of stretch in the middle of the street. Good. This is pre-hab in action and should be encouraged, not mocked, but the odd looks are inevitable from people who don’t understand. If you have normal friends over, people will stare if you start doing core excercises in the middle of the living room and no one will ask to borrow a foam roller, so you won’t get a chance to show off your fancy new ‘Grid’ roller.

6. Early mornings
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This one doesn’t really apply to me, because I’m a morning person. In fact I’ve been informed that I am ‘sickening’ in the morning. The lovely lady who informed me of this also once threatened to push me into a bush for being ‘too happy’ on a morning run. Needless to say, she’s not a morning person, so this one is for everyone who struggles to get up and out of the door for morning runs. Having someone who is going to hate you for abandoning them if you miss the run is definitely a good motivator. Or, alternatively, if you make it out and they stay in bed, you can feel smug and like the most dedicated athlete ever for the rest of the day.

7. Appreciation of Naps
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Advice for anyone who works in the muggle world as well as running around in circles a lot; when a colleague asks you what your plans are for your afternoon off, don’t say “having a nap”. This will mark you out as a slacker and a layabout. Runners know that naps are awesome, and as well as this, we are excellent at taking them. I recently took paracetamol which contained caffeine and less than an hour later still managed to nap LIKE A BOSS.

8. Being supportive and joining you on that easy 30 after a killer hill session
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Getting out of the door for a run on a sunny afternoon in September is a joy and a pleasure, but in the cold rain of a February morning, for me it’s a case of “not another bloody run”. Having someone with you to moan with, who’s also thinking “not another bloody run” is a bonus. Same goes for sessions, track and grass. One of our training group likes to shout “All aboard!” as we start yet another tough rep. It should be annoying, but instead it’s funny and leaves you with no choice but to start turning your legs over again.

9. Telling you you’ve gone mad
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Occasionally every runner will come up with a brand new excellent plan which is going to take seconds of their PB. Trouble is the plan often involves running three times a day, eating only raw steak and wearing compression garments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Telling you you’re crazy and need to calm down when you overtrain is part of a training partner’s job description – people who don’t run will probably think that it’s what everyone does. We all go a little bit over the top sometimes, and it’s good to have someone looking out for you, although the “I told you so” when you ignore the good advice and develop the inevitable stressy is somewhat less heart warming.

10. Not being scared of your competitive nature
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It’s ok that everything becomes a competition. It’s in our nature as athletes, but try telling that to people to are upset that you shouted at them during a game of Pictionary. You wouldn’t need to if they’d just get themselves together and DRAW PROPERLY.

So in conclusion; you’re all awesome
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  • EightLaneNews

    You’re awesome too.

  • QuangoED

    Hilarious Alison, I needed that. Thank you (even though you’re one of those evil morning people, haha).