Running offers a unique opportunity for conversation. It’s rare for us to find another chance to spend an hour, uninterrupted by text messages, emails, or family members where we can really get into a conversation with someone. Especially on longer, slower runs done with a group or a partner, a good conversation can make the workout fly by. But before you head out and start chatting about whatever you feel like, consider the following to keep things positive:
Resist the urge to whine
In an ideal world, you’d feel awesome every time you ran for the whole run. In reality, there will be days and moments when you want to quit. Running with a friend makes it tempting to complain, but focusing on how miserable you are won’t get you anywhere. Instead, avoid annoying your running group and use their company to your advantage by letting them know you could use a little pump up or at least a momentary distraction from what you’re feeling.
If someone else is complaining, lead by example and focus on the positives: how good you’ll feel when you’re finished, how great it is to get outside, or how nice it is to have someone to run with.
Running may be cheaper than therapy, but…
That doesn’t mean you should unload every bad thing in your life on your running partners. There’s something to be said for talking through things, but if every run involves an emotional release for you or your buddy, one of you is bound to start dreading that run. It’s true that our friends are the ones who can make us feel better, but there’s no reason for taking advantage of your training partners.
Think twice before you gossip
Gossiping is tempting, but keep in mind that the running community is no different from anywhere else you interact. Gossip usually comes back to you and gossiping on the run, especially about fellow runners, is asking for conflict. Keep the comments about so and so’s new training program or nutrition strategy to yourself—and if your running buddies start to go down this route, change the subject.
Talk about something unrelated to running
A lot of the issues with negativity in running conversations comes from discussing running—complaining about how tired you are, comparing yourself to other runners, etc. Consider bringing up something totally unrelated—the weather, your vacation plans for the winter, or the really great book you just finished reading. You’ll be surprised how much there is to talk about when you start looking for it.
While it’s true that running is a chance to de-stress and catch up with friends, it can be easy to let your conversation turn to things that will only bring negative energy to your training. You’ll end your run in a good mood and feeling like you did something good for yourself if you consciously try to have positive conversations whenever you lace up your shoes. Get out there and remember the best advice comes from cartoons: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
About the Author: Cheryl Madliger is a group fitness instructor at the Western Student Recreation Centre at the University of Western Ontario, where she is working towards her degree in Kinesiology. An avid cyclist, Cheryl has set her sights on completing an Ironman. Not a fan of free time, she also enjoys yoga, baking, and blogging.