What Is the Importance of a Running Partner?

Erin J. Hill

Having a running partner provides many benefits, especially for those who are not accustomed to running daily or who dread their daily exercise routines. A partner offers a level of accountability and makes working out more enjoyable. A running partner may also add an element of competition to the activity, so those who are training for a marathon or similar athletic event will be motivated to work harder during each run. In general, those who work out with a friend are more likely to stick with their exercise plans and lose more weight than those who don’t.

Running with a partner is safer than running alone.
Running with a partner is safer than running alone.

One of the main benefits of having a running partner is that it makes it less likely that someone will skip out on their exercise plans. Having a friend holds one accountable to running since that person had to take time out of his or her day to meet. This is extremely beneficial for those who are new to running or working out.

People who run alone are more likely to skip over their running plans.
People who run alone are more likely to skip over their running plans.

There is also an element of embarrassment at canceling a run too often when a running partner is involved. No one likes to appear unreliable or as if he or she can’t handle a task. It becomes easier to do a daily run with the knowledge that a friend or family member will know if a day is skipped.

Having a running partner also adds completion to the activity. Those who are training for an athletic event may run faster and longer when going with a friend because no one likes to lose a competition. Partners challenge each other to do better, thus leading to a better performance for each of them.

It has also been shown that those who have a running partner or exercise buddy are more likely overall to stick to their exercise plans. This is likely a combination of the aforementioned factors, as well as the fact that working out with a friend makes it more fun and enjoyable. If someone is having fun while exercising, which becomes more likely when doing so with a friend, it is more likely that he or she will work out for longer during each session and that he or she will stick with it for the long haul. It becomes less of a chore and more of an enjoyable get-together with friends.

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