Friends December 30 2014

The legendary Joe Cocker said it best: "I get by with a little help from my friends."  True in life, and especially in regards to exercise!

I am extremely lucky to have found a great group of Workout Buddies!  They motivate me to move, even on an early Saturday morning, when leaving my comfy, toasty bed is the last thing I want.  

So, why should you enlist a "Pace Partner in Crime", and how can you find one?  Here are our recommendations! 


A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed: After a long workweek, especially in the wicked winter weather, I do not have a ton of 'get up and go' left in my tank come Saturday morning.  So, when my alarm goes off at what I refer to as "too early o'clock", I aim to hit snooze without fully opening my eyes. 

Then that little voice in my head reminds me that I'd made a promise to meet up with my merry band of marathoners...  The voice, for which there is no snooze, gets louder and louder until I get moving.  It’s a friendly push I need – indeed!

I am a very task-oriented, love my to-do list person, so I do list working out throughout my week.  But, too often, the "swim... bike... run... walk" are shifted seamlessly from day to day.  The promise I made to myself can go unfulfilled, but not one I made to my friends.  I do not want to let them down by not going, so, in turn, I boost myself up by going!

Accountability and responsibility really motivate me, as does the fact that I do not want to miss out on our weekly gathering.  

A Friend Makes Working Out Feels Less Like Work: At the 2014 St. Jude Memphis Marathon weekend, Laura, Gail and I were having so much fun running our mouths along with our legs we were shocked to see the 5-mile marker!  We had no idea we’d gone that far without noticing.

Walking and talking; running and ruminating; lifting and laughing are wonderful ways to combine fitness with friends.  All of a sudden a workout seems less like work and more like fun!  Why not catch-up first at the treadmill rather than the dinner table?

A Friend Helps You Achieve Your Goals:  There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition… especially with a friend!  Want to increase your pace or stamina?  Keeping up with your exercise buddy will take both of your workouts to a higher level!

I learned this first-hand while training for my 4th Sprint Triathlon.  The swim is, by far, my weakest sport, and while I know it is the one to work the hardest on, knowing it is hard to do makes it hard for me to want to do.  But, this year, that changed because, every Monday night from July through September, I swam alongside my friend, Lynne.

Lynne was training for her first Triathlon, but was by far a superior swimmer in speed, but not yet stamina, where I had the edge.  We’d takeover adjacent lanes and push each other to go farther; stay swimming longer.  One particular night, we’d yell out how many laps we had completed, then talk ourselves into doing one more… then another… and another after that.

Friends not only provide a push, they are also a huge source of strength and support.  Their presence also makes it less intimidating to try new things.

So, now that we have the whys behind fitness friends, where do you find them?

Join a Group or Form One of Your Own: Does a local running store sponsor midweek fun runs and walks; a local Meet-Up offer a fitness class; or your gym have a triathlon training team?  Does your workplace give you an incentive for steps taken daily or for reaching a monthly health goal?  Find something that interests you and explore!  If you don’t find anything you like, create your own!  (P.S. Facebook is great for finding fitness groups - posting, or just reading, the conversation threads can provide great advice).

Find a Cause: Many charitable organizations have created endurance teams – teams of people who participate in running and walking races, cycle events and triathlons while raising funds and awareness for their cause.  With a charity team, you’re apt to find like-minded people all striving for the same goal. 

Just Ask!: My friend Hakimah says, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”   Trust me - she never failed when asking me if I wanted to talk over our work projects while on the treadmills at our workplace gym!  Ask your colleagues if they’d like to take a walk at lunch; your friends if they’d like to head on-foot to coffee or lunch; your family to a post-meal Sunday stroll that can aid digestion and boost energy.