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I will …be …right….here
From Movie: E.T the Extra terrestrial
True running friends don’t judge each other’s running, they judge others together ( running or otherwise )
As one age the ability to form the genuine friendship becomes frail and feeble.
As you grow old and continue to survive the competitive world you are conditioned to remain cynical.
Your own relationships with direct blood relations MAY have fade-out effects as no one has required time to invest so that relationships are recharged at a periodic interval.
Your relationship with your better half MAY not look exactly better. You may become most active in finding and sharing life partner bashing jokes on social media.
A lot of predictability can seep-in the relationship and sense of stale air remains for longer durations.
In any case, either of you is not in the best-looking shape.
And you start running……..
Whatever may be the reason once you enter the world of running things start changing.
Yes one can join Gym or any club to pursue some physical activity and soon you can have a small circle of dedicated partners/ friends, but the overall horizon is more or less limited.
Running is altogether a different world.
You may join some coach or running club. As there is no restriction in the number of participants who can pursue simultaneous running( unlike a lot many other recreation sports), you realise that you are slowly exposed to a large number of runners.
And you start interacting with many more than you had ever imagined.
Welcome to the world of “ Running Friends “
Level 1: Group Friends
Type 1: Batchmates
You all started from scratch. The early days of zero/couch to 5 km have made you batchmates without any biased view of each others running. These are the friends who have seen your worst performance at the same time your upward progress graph.
You could hardly run. Oh, that heavy breathing! To the joy of crossing 2km mark.
There were dozens of questions, maybe you were shy but there was always someone who could ask the silliest questions to the coach.
Basically, you all learn together and bonding remains. Your friendship sustains if you both/all continue to run and do not bring too much competitive spirit amongst you.
Type 2: Staying nearer.
Your house is very near to them. Maybe you are from the same housing complex. The prime reason for friendships
- Being the reminder alarm to each other
- Travel to Park/Garden/running track/running route together
- Coordination becomes easy
- Mutual motivation is quite convenient.
Type 3: Cross training friends
Running is normal for you. You need someone who likes similar cross training. It can be cycling/swimming/yoga and you need company
So as friends your range of topics cover running to Tour de France
And you keep exchanging motivating ( and impossible to you ) achievement posts (of some super achievers whom you may not be able to meet given a couple of rebirths )
Type 4: Strength training friends
There are fair chances that all of you have some kind of running injury and now you all have become wise. Important of strength training is felt by each of you in matching capacity.
So apart from carbohydrates and VO2 max your vocabulary now covers all those Latin origin body parts related to muscular systems.
Type 5: Gossip loving friends
Gossip as a concept for many is a kind of negative habit.
For some gossip can be the great stress buster.
And when you both/all love gossips then running can be more fun.
As you run together you can observe others and pass comments.
You can constantly talk on someone’s love for PBs and podiums.
You can gossip about how runner looks in running clothes and normal day wear.
The most interesting aspect: the topic can continue even during “ off running phase “
Level 2: Close friends
This is the next stage of friendship where you come close to someone who fulfils basic need/condition related to running.
Type 1: Pace friends
You realise that your pace is quite fast. There are very few who can run a long distance at your pace. So you explore ( almost automatic ) and find someone who is able to run at your pace and you both become the pacesetters!
The concept of like-minded friends just does not work here.
You may be a chatterbox and she/he may be taciturn, just doesn’t matter.
You may be well read and she/he may not have gone beyond newspaper headlines, just doesn’t matter.
You may be in a great position in the corporate world and she/he may be one of the hand to mouth survivor in the one-sided losing battle against rising inflation, just doesn’t matter
All that matter is YOUR PACE match!
And as you run, a new world is opened up. Your running partner takes you through her/his interest/s and for the first time you see books /music/financial terminology etc from a different perspective.
Type 2: I like you- You like me
This is not by some predetermined scheme. It happens slowly.
If you are pursuing long distance running i.e full marathon or ultra, cupid can do some wonders.
Long distance running needs a dedicated company. Running for 3- 4 or more hours can be very boring exercise. Running with friend/s almost become compulsory.
And once you start running with someone from opposite sex there are fair chances that you come to know more about her/him.
Spending long hours with someone leads to better understanding.
You may not realise that you have never given this kind of exclusive time to your near or dear ones for many years.
Even if we spend 12 to 16 hours in our house or work place, the dedicated and exclusive quality 2 to 5 hours are never there. There are always distractions, commitments, pending works, stress, old memories etc.
Where as when you run long hours in positive attitude ,your quality time spent with her/him leads to better understanding.