1. We shared similar goals. Yes, I was training for a marathon, and Bob was training for a half; but the long runs worked. Most of the time, I ran the extra distance before meeting Bob on the trail if my plan called for more miles than his. Both of us wanted to finish our races with smiles on our faces, no particular time in mind.
2. Our pace was quite similar back then too. We both were looking to average between 10 and 10:30/miles for long runs. It DOES NOT help you to run with someone too slow or too fast, especially for long runs. If you want to get faster, you get faster together. Our long run this past Saturday... our average run pace was 9 minutes... we got faster together!
3. Personalities are important too. If you are quiet and they are quiet and you want a quiet run then perfect. I think Bob and I are both friendly people. Obviously, he approached me on that morning we met. And since we are completely different, we had a LOT to talk about. Talking made the miles fly by... we talked and talked. And sometimes, we just ran. It was nice too.
4. Attitude: Bob is a very positive person. I try to be. Sometimes we were not feeling the runs, but our attitudes helped each other. We depended on the other person and knowing that they were waiting for us, forced us to get up. NEVER did we stand each other up. I cannot even think of a time that we cancelled. Only once we were "late" and even then, he called me and told me he was running 15 minutes behind schedule.
5. Schedule: For me this is HUGE. I am a morning person. Honestly, I prefer to have my workouts done before most of the world and animals are awake. And Bob is a morning person too. His schedule permitted him to run in the early mornings. About 85% of our run were completed before 9am. LOVE! And once when I needed to be somewhere really early, Bob picked me up at 4:30am and we ran in the dark... yes, it was stupid and we never did it again, but it was an interesting experience to say the least.
BONUS: For me... Bob had some extra qualities too. He always took care of me. Nurturing. I know we cannot all have "Bob"s in our lives.
About half way through my training for the marathon... Bob became my coach. He read more about marathon training that I did. He gave me homework. He would give me advice and tips on our long runs. He ALWAYS brought me something.... watermelon (YUM!), protein shake, GU.... whatever. (Remember me mentioning that I was blessed to have him?) He was AWESOME!
Bob taught me what I was looking for in a partner. I think he already knew what he needed. One thing is for sure... it is hard to train for a marathon alone.
What do you need in a partner?