There are some runners out there who appear to greatly enjoy running with other runners. Some go as far as to join running clubs or (perhaps even more shockingly) organize their own circle of friends purely for the purpose of running together. I hear them talk about how much more enjoyable and motivating it is to run with others.
I don’t understand this at all.
In my mind, there is a time for running and there is a time for socializing. There is no time during which these two activities should intertwine.
If I were to socialize while running, the following would likely occur:
- My friends would start to hate me. I am not a big enough fan of running to be able to run and maintain awareness of things like social norms and basic human kindness. When in the soul-sucking arms of running, I can handle one or the other. Also, my running conversations would likely consist solely of me whining about how much I dislike running. Nobody likes a whiner.
- I would lose the tiny modicum of running mojo that exists deep within me and can only be unleashed by music. Yes, I need music to run (apparently so does Taylor Swift). I realize this makes me weak by purist running standards and I don’t care. Generally speaking, running in groups doesn’t allow for music. If I have to choose, I will choose the sweet, sweet sound music. Every. Time.
- I might asphyxiate: I can barely control my breathing when I’m running in silence. Throwing talking into the mix only makes matters worse. In my opinion, talking should not require heightened lung capacity and running doesn’t need to be any more challenging than it already is.
- I might get fired. Running is my thinking time and virtually all of my great ideas (er, marginally good ideas?) or work breakthroughs come to me while running. If I ran with others, my deeply buried creative ideas would never surface and my employer would quickly label me a hack.
In light of all of this, I am going to buck the trend of running in packs and stick to my anti-social athletic pursuits.
However, if you still feel the need to be around others while running, I have a solution for you. Let me introduce you to a method patented by my brother, which effectively combines the illusion of a social outing with the perfection of solitude. Here is what you do:
- each person in your group dons his or her own headphones and musical selections
- run next to each other but in silence
I admit that I thought it ridiculous at first, but I quickly learned he was on to something. Other runners will think you are in on their bizarre “let’s run with other people” thing, but you’ll be smugly comforted by heavenly melodies flowing throwing your earbuds, ideas flowing freely through your mind, and the steady breathing that can only be enjoyed by the non-talking.
You are welcome.