Right now I am in beautiful, sunny California. It is so nice to be on vacation where I can run without rain gear and a flashlight! Today I ran the first 2 miles with my father-in-law. He is a good man who runs and practices yoga to stay healthy. I've learned a lot from him over the years. No matter where we are for our family get-togethers, we always try to get out and run together. We've run in California, Arizona, and Hawaii (I'm sure there are other places I'm not remembering right now...) His pace is slower than mine these days, but that doesn't matter to me at all. I'd slow to match anyone's pace just so we could run together. Running with the people I care about is more important to me than getting in an optimal training session.
Well, the holiday season is upon us and many of you are going to be with family over the next few weeks. Grab that in-law that you've never really gotten to know and take him or her for a run. Running with someone else is a good time to "bond". Here's why:
1- First of all, you are sharing an activity together - this is a no-brainer. Either one person is doing it just to spend time with the other, or you are both doing it because you share a common interest. Socially-speaking, everyone wins AND everyone gets some great exercise when you run together.
2- Running next to someone is the best set-up (physically speaking) for having a meaningful conversation. You are physically close, but you don't (and can't) make eye contact. This makes it a little easier to really say what you are thinking and not feel self-conscious. My inner-most thoughts that I wouldn't normally share in a day-to-day conversation often bubble out of me during a run.
3- There is something about the regular cadence of a running pace that helps me organize my thoughts and say them out loud in a coherent way. My closest running friend and I consider our time running together and talking the best kind of therapy. My mind which is usually full-to-overflowing with stress over this-and-that feels clear and organized after a run.
4- The natural high caused by those happy endorphins in your brain makes everything seem right in the world. Sharing this experience with another person makes for shared happy memories.
5- OR ... Going out for a hard run with that special someone? Nothing bonds people together like shared pain. Attack an especially long and steep hill together and you'll be making a memory that will last a lifetime!
All of these reasons and more are the reasons why I prefer running with other people. I've made the best friends I've ever had while running, and I've built on my important family relationships this way. So, over the next few days while you are spending time with the people you love (0r are required to tolerate), invite someone to go on a run with you. A shared run will make both of your hearts healthy in more ways than one.