There’s the oft thought of cliche of the lonely runner, the solitary one on his/her own for hours on end. And with my training more often than not such is the case for me. Running allows me time to reflect, to meditate, to get my head on right before the day begins. Like the caffeine addict before their morning coffee, I’m not fit for public consumption without my morning run. But every now and again I will allow for an interloper to share the stage.
With my friend Darsan there’s a distinct training advantage that this allows. The man is fast. Naturally unabashedly fast. And as an endurance athlete sometimes I’m guilty of not working on my foot speed. Bringing in a fleet-footed friend to join me for a few kilometres forces me to run faster for longer periods of time. Referred to in runner parlance as a Tempo Run, this allows for a wealth of physiological benefits that make it easier and easier for me to run faster when race day hits. Suddenly the pace that once seemed like running on the verge of death is normal. What’s more is that come race day the speed training mixed with tapering mixed with adrenaline becomes the Holy Trio for PB efforts.
But it means I have to keep my ego in check. It means I get my butt handed to me because there is no way I can out kick Darsan on the final stretches of our run. But it’s worth it. Not just for the improvements in my own running but because I get to catch up with a friend. Sometimes the lonely road doesn’t have to be so lonely.