Mix n' Match Workout1 of 9
Every runner needs recovery and speed training days. Match your recovery run with their speed work day. Be sure to keep your pace steady even if they pull ahead slightly—it is recovery day!
Work on Your Form2 of 9
Working on form is tedious and critical. It takes concentration to make microscopic changes that can lead to tremendous gains, so you will naturally slow down as you hone your form. Focus on how your feet are landing, the pace of your breath or how your arms are swinging. For example, if your arms cross in front of your body when you run, practice swinging your elbows directly back. If you notice your stomach is sticking out when you run or you have lower back pain afterwards, focus on engaging your abdominals.
Loop It or Climb It3 of 9
Whether it's a track, a two-mile loop or a big hill, find a route that allows for speed work and rest. For loops, run in the opposite direction so you don't lap your friend. For hill repeats, practice running backwards as a slower runner drives up the hill. Allow two minutes rest between laps or repeats so you can encourage each other.
Offer to Pace4 of 9
Every runner wants to get better, faster or stronger. Offer to be the rabbit and pace your friends. When it comes to pacing, it can take a lot of effort to pull back your pace and monitor their effort. In the end, you become a better runner by learning how to keep a steady pace, and they gain some speed.
Communicate the Plan5 of 9
Talk to your running friends about the workout and set expectations. Nothing feels worse when you pick up the pace and your friends are gasping for air unexpectedly. The warm-up plan, route and intensity of the run should all be talked about before you lace up. This way a slower group can feel confident about running with a faster group.
Run for Time6 of 9
This works best in an out-and-back where everyone runs 60 minutes. You may all start out together, but over two miles you can pull away knowing when you come back the same way (going an extra two miles) you will catch them at the last two miles. You get in more miles yet still get to see your friends twice!
Tell Your Life Story7 of 9
Running and talking are hard. When was the last time you vented about work or told a funny story about your kids? This is a great time to say it all. It will slow you down, distract your friends who are trying to keep pace and create a strong, sweaty bond.
Do Fartleks8 of 9
Fartleks, playing with speed, are great for varied running paces and allow you to run longer distances if the track is not an option. Run one minute as hard as you can and then recover for one minute by standing still or walking; wait for your partner as they do a constant jog. Or, you could both do fartleks at the same time, and you can jog at a slower pace as they catch up. Both of you will get an excellent workout in while also staying together.