I remember once reading,”Shared joy is joy doubled, and shared sorrow is sorrow halved.”
When I think of the running buddies and workout partners I have now, and have had the luck and joy of having in the past, that’s what comes to mind: the doubling of joys and halving of sorrows.
Science shows that people who have social support from those near them are far more likely to succeed with and adhere to healthy lifestyle changes. I’ve witnessed it among gym goers, particularly those who attend the same classes. I see spin buddies, zumba buddies, step class buddies, and KUT buddies (wow, do I miss teaching KUT–an amazing interval training workout, created by Coach Kitty). I see workout partners supporting, guiding and encouraging each other in the weight rooms. Being part of a community or involved in a partnership is powerful stuff. It keeps many of us going for a bit longer, trying harder, attempting new things we never thought possible on our own.
In my life, running buddies have not only made the miles easier and more enjoyable, they’ve become good friends, often confidantes.
There is something very honest that happens when you run, and when you run longer distances–pretences go by the wayside, because when you’re going your full human effort, you have no energy to lie or conceal. You get pretty raw at times, either from emotional or physical fatigue. My running buddies have been a happy place in my life, and have become some of my best friends. My running buddies also encourage me to reach beyond my known limits and comfort zones–to run farther or faster or more often than I’d previously thought I was able. They get me out of the house and back on the road. They are the ones that make me smile during the painful last 1/4 mile of a half marathon. They are the ones who know the best and worst of me, and keep running with me anyway. That’s powerful stuff. And while I am perfectly capable of running regularly on my own, I do better and do more when I have running buddies.
And workout partners–the ones you lift with?
They are a special bunch, too. Workout partners ensure that you keep your gym appointments. They support and challenge you just by being there with you. There’s a certain amount of soul-baring there, too, as you bump into your limits regularly–how much weight you can move and for how many reps, it’s finite thing. It’s either astounding or humbling on any given day, either lifting more than you thought yourself capable of, or finding your absolute limit in that moment. A great workout partner encourages you to do the things they know you to be capable of, and consoles you when you fall short of what you thought you should have been able to do. They are the one who say “Chah-Lange!” ala Cliff Huckstable in the tap dance-off (yes, I am dating myself there with that cultural reference!) and throw down the gauntlet in a pull-up showdown. I have never been so motivated to do so many pull ups in my life, Jami….
These people know you, too, they know your heart, hear your fears, witness your victories. Again, it’s powerful stuff.
I am so incredibly grateful to all of my past and present running buddies and workout partners. This is a giant shout out to you, Coach Kitty Fitness, who got it all started, to Trissa, Chris, Laura, Paula, Felicia, Mandy, Cynthia, and Jami, Sheila, Lindsay, Liz and Jennifer, and now Lisa and Howie, who tolerate my slowness and lure me out into the cold regularly.
You don’t need to go it alone, and, in fact, you’re better off if you don’t. Find a running buddy, or workout partner, or accountability partner, or someone who just loves that walk or class as much as you do.