Running Tips for Beginners

How to Pick the Right Running Partner

The best running buddy will help you go faster, farther, and more often

Compartmentalize

The bond between running partners is unique: It lacks the shifting dynamics of a typical friendship, the baggage of family, and the professional distance of co-workers. "It's like being in therapy," says Lonneman. "The act of running somehow allows the words to flow easily. We share things on our runs that I might not even tell my closest girlfriend. What else are you going to talk about over 20 miles?"

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Walker says that maintaining clear boundaries in her running relationships has been essential to her success as a marathon runner and triathlete. "My running partners and I have an agreement that what's said on the trail stays on the trail," she says. "If we're out to dinner, I don't want conversation crossover."

Biochemistry may be what makes these highly compartmentalized relationships so fulfilling. "Your endorphins are flowing, so your guard is down," Walker says. "Cortisol is low, so stress is low. It's this parallel relationship where you aren't even facing each other. There's a rhythm; it's a meditative state."

Up next: 10 Mental Tricks to Run Better