The First Run – Like a First Date
The first run with someone is in many ways like a first date, you make the plan of where to meet, the route you plan to run, and maybe talk about if you plan to grab lunch or a drink afterwards (that is if the run goes well). Basically, you are going on a running date, whether it is a man and a woman, two men or two women it’s all the same and in many ways is a first date. This post can be as much about a first date as it is about a run.
The Night Before
It’s the night before the big day, the first run together. You have emailed, texted or called each other to confirm details, meeting locations, and maybe joked about the run. Frantically you look around the house to pick out the perfect first run outfit. Do you go for the “I am a pro” runner look, with your high-tech gear and the latest in running attire? Normally, this means you have pulled out all the stops, the cool hydration systems, maybe compression wear, and you go over all the articles in your recent running magazine or online resource to sound like you are in the know.
Or do you want to go for the more laid back “natural runner” or “minimalist runner” opting for the less is more mentality. If it’s a trail run you are headed on, show how you are one with nature and the trail and opt for the least amount of everything, because who really needs water on a four to five hour adventure, nature will provide. Maybe you opt for the sunglasses that came from your hipster friend and the most unrunning running attire. It’s the “I don’t need fancy running stuff I am one with nature look”.
Maybe you pick something in-between. No matter what you want your running clothing to say about you, you want to put off the right impression, thus spending time the night before picking out each article of clothing for form and function. This is a first run after all you don’t want to look like you don’t care.
The Morning/Evening Of
Outfit set, check! Hydration, or lack of hydration, check! You wake up after spending the evening wondering if you can keep up, if you will have enough to talk about, maybe even talking to your significant other about this run planned and your anxiousness around possibly making a new friend. Because it’s not until after the run you find out if you really have what it’s made of to be a friend and running buddy with the other person. You double check the time and location of where you planned to meet and you are off for the meet up. If you planned the route you hope it’s not too hard or too easy for the other person then push it all aside get in the car.
The Meet Up
Depending on your personality you are either the one running late or made sure to be there early and find yourself sitting in your car 20 minutes early. Rarely do you both show up at the same time. If you are the late on you find yourself making excuses and craft an apology before you arrive, conversely if you are the early one, you try to make it seem like you just got there with a cool attitude. They don’t need to know you were there 20 minutes early. You meet up, chat for a few minutes asking how the other one is and how their day was then you set off together, for me it’s on the trail.
Every time someone asks me if I want to go for a run with them, my answer is “well just want to warn you I’m not that fast”. This line is especially my goto when the people asking are experienced runners. Because, I am not that fast and prefer to run with another person at a pace that we can hold a conversation. As I set off on the trail with my running date for our first run there is always the moment of shuffle with who will lead the way. If you are the faster one you don’t want to blow them away in the first quarter mile, this is suppose to be a time for you two together. At the same time you don’t want to make the other person feel like they have to wait.
After a while the two of you seem to fall into a rhythm and figure out what works. With one friend who is way faster than me she suggested me running in front on our first run and we have continued it, I am the slower one so I set the pace. A good rule to follow when on a first run with someone new. Hopefully, the conversation is flowing and you two are moving along the trail together. A great first run is when you both like to take the appropriate breaks on trail or like to stop for photos along the way (photos or it didn’t happen). You make your way through the run, on a great run you might find out you were most likely separated at birth as you find out you have the same interests and experience unknowingly, good runs the conversation keeps moving, bad runs – the awkward silence, horrible runs – you leave them or they leave you somewhere on the trail. No matter what at some point you finish the run.
Like the end of any date, the end of the first run together can be awkward, do you ask them for drinks, coffee, or a meal if not preplanned? Did you grab a bite to eat along the way (if it’s a really long run)? Do you plan the next one, will they want a next one? The end of the run can be like the two teenagers on the doorstep at the end of the date in one of those movies, a moment of awkwardness and silence, then the “let’s do this again” or “that was fun” or “thanks for the run”.
You both depart your separate ways back to your lives, maybe post some photos on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter of your adventure together (on the good to great first runs). If you really hit it off you might find yourself wanting to text them and plan the next outing right away, but what is too soon to text? Do I have to wait a day? Damn it that was fun, I want to do it again. Maybe you plan that next outing, or you leave it at only one run.
Either way until you say yes and give it a try you never know what will happen. The moral is give people a chance, even if it gets your nerves going ahead of time. You never know when you might find a new friend in and out of the running world on a first run!