One of the side effects of training primarily with someone behind you in level is you run at their pace. Even when they’re good about pushing their limits your own improvement is slowed down.
You push a lot more with a partner than when you do it solo.”
So why would you do this you ask? Why sabotage my training? They can just run at their pace until they get to my level, I’ll find someone my level to run with.
The reasons are A: don’t be selfish. Unless you have a terminal disease that limits how much time you have left to exist then don’t be selfish. If you do have a terminal disease then my sympathies and I hope you make the best of the time you have left as much as possible.
And B: You push a lot more with a partner than when you do it solo. This is true of a lot of things but running especially.
Way back in the day in my 20’s I used to run with a friend of mine, same one that recently ran the Sweetheart 5K and 10K with me. When it was 110 out and we were driving to the running path we would always pass a Braum’s. Think Baskin Robbins or Hagen Daz only better and cheaper. One or the other of us would also go, “You know we could just go have ice cream.” And the other of us would think about it and then go “No we should go running.”
Case in point my current running buddy started about 3 months ago but only the last couple of months has been really able to focus on it. In 3 months time she’s caught up to me with my 8 months.
Yesterday was sprints day, 10min warmup, sprint 4 min, recovery 90 seconds repeat 4. We did that and then did a 10min recovery run back to the cars. I like to go for a ‘look good for the finish line’ sprint after most runs and kick it up.
She not only kept up but she won the kick sprint. I was hitting 5:30 pace, 190 steps per minute and I could barely catch up (she got a 3 step head start on me) and then I couldn’t pass or in the end stay up with her.
So by running with me, she’s always been pushing herself harder than she would alone. When I’m in Z2 she’s in Z3, when I’m Z3, she’s Z4. And that extra effort has paid off and she’s now in my speed range and not very far off my endurance range.
And vice versa. There are times I go out early and run a quick (for me) mile or two to help get my HR to the right zone to match hers. And as a result there have been times I’ve had to really push myself to stay up with her on longer runs. Times I’d of dropped to a walk if I’d of been by myself.
So there you go. Reasons to add a slower partner to your training schedule. Yes it might retard your improvement for a few months but in the end you’ll both be far better for it.