When it comes to training for a race, we typically have a few different kinds of runs on our training plans.
Long runs. Recovery runs. Hard runs.
Each type of run serves its purpose, and the labels on the may vary slightly, but these runs are pretty standard no matter what kind of race you’re training for.
There is another kind of run that rarely shows up on a training plan but is just as common as any of the “Big 3” listed above.
And that is the social run.
Any Run Can Be a Social Run
For some, a social run is primarily for runners that “aren’t as serious” about the sport.
The thought is that instead of running being the focus, those involved in a more social run are much more concerned with chatting and having a good time than with improving as a runner.
In actuality, any type of workout can have a social run component to it. And any type of runner, from elite to just starting out, can incorporate social runs into his or her training plan.
I’d even go so far as to encourage you to incorporate a regular social run into your routine.
That said, maybe we should try and establish a couple of “ground rules” to keep in mind when it comes to running socially, eh?
3 Commandments of Social Running
If you’re going to make social running a part of your regular running routine, and I absolutely recommend it, here are a things you should keep in mind.
Thou Shalt Not Wear Headphones
It’s kind of hard to be social when you’re listening to my podcast or your favorite mix on Spotify, no?
Leave the headphones home, or at least tuck them in your pocket, and engage with those running with you.
You know, be social.
Thou Shalt Not Let Anyone Run Solo
If the run is designed to be a purely social event, ie a pub run, morning donut run, etc, everyone should have a running partner to chat with.
That may mean that you back off of the pace to run with someone that is a bit slower than you.
And that is ok.
The goal is to be social, remember? Run slow enough that both of you are able to chat and just let the conversation flow.
Thou Shalt Not Run in Silence
When you are taking part in a social run, don’t be afraid to talk with the people that you’re running with.
I mean, that is kind of the point, yes?
It’s OK to Blur the Lines
While some runs can be almost exclusively social, it is more than ok to incorporate some time running socially into most runs/workouts that you do with others.
The key here is to recognize when the run is to be social and when it’s not.
If you’re doing a workout with a training group, maybe the warm up and cool down are the social aspects of the run. But once you get into the meat of the workout, it becomes every man or woman for his or her self.
If so this is the case, follow the social commandments during the social part of the run, and then once the workout starts get after it.
The Glue That Holds the Group Together
If you have a group of friends that you run with regularly, the social component is the glue that holds your group together.
When I first started running with the Pack, we had some very strict rules in place to ensure that the social ties that bound our group together stayed in place.
But over time, those rules have been forgotten and now the group simply isn’t what it used to be.
If you value your running friends and the bonds that you’ve created over the years (and the miles) spent together, make sure that you keep your time spent training together a priority.
Run together. Talk together. Laugh together. Maybe even cry together.
And I can promise you one thing, those social runs will be some of your favorite runs, when all is said and done…
Have You Ever Done a MAF Test?
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