In my opinion, that absolute best thing about running is the people. While in high school, I enjoyed the social aspect that others brought, while in college I became a better runner by training with other like-minded individuals and now post-graduation, I depend on other runners to keep me motivated and to get me out the door.
You should never underestimate the power that a regular training group can have on your training. You will run further, faster and just more than you would without. That's why I really enjoy the group runs that take place at the 605 Running Co. every Wednesday and Saturday; because regardless of the day, there will be other like-minded people there to help you get started when you might not otherwise run.
I've told my wife before that regular running with a group creates relationships, in fact, you'd have to purposely try to NOT make friendships with people you regularly run with. I figure if you run for one hour a day, five days a week, that is almost 11 straight days of running with someone over the course of a year. Whether you want to or not, you will get to know someone pretty well over that time. You'll get to know their goals, their plans to achieve, their religious beliefs, their bathroom habits (unfortunately) and all sorts of things about their past. You know you've found someone good to run with where regardless of how many days a week or how long you run for, you never run out of anything to talk about. If you find that person, make that running relationship a priority.
The picture above is me and a group of guys I run with. The gentleman on the left (Jason Zakaras) is a former University of Nebraska wrestler and finishes ahead of me in more races than I finish in front of him. He is a self-employed business owner, just moved to an acreage southwest of Omaha, two daughters (Lilly and Emma) and is married to his wife, Jayci, who works as a regional rep for Oiselle. Although he wanted to run a fast half/5k recently, he is definitely trending towards the ultra/trail races right now.
I know all of this about Jason, despite the fact that I have not ran regularly with him for months. I DO know all of this about him because we spent a lot of time running together, either early mornings in Omaha or long runs out in the country. You can't help but get to know someone when you run with them, and you should take advantage of them helping you enjoy running more.
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Various individual(s) expressing their thoughts on running and the impact on everyday life.