I have one of the best training partners ever. He always there to lend encouragement, help me through a tough run or meet me at the finish with some water.
Last night my training partner and I went to the gym for an indoor run around the track. It was past 8 pm and pretty dark outside, too dark for me to run outside any ways!
We started out at a nice comfortable pace, we could carry a short conversation without being too out of breath. I am taking the next few weeks to just maintain my fitness before I start heavy training again and I explained to my training partner that I didn’t need to go very fast or very far. As the minutes carried on I decided that we could go a little faster, so I picked up the pace, assuming that my training partner would naturally follow. After speeding ahead, my training partner slow down in front of me, giving me the old “let’s keep our current pace” trick. I forged on, picking up the pace gradually and trying to get in front of him. I even had to push him out of the way so I could run the pace I wanted. We kept up this battle for the rest of the run. After we finished, my training partner was quick to renounce my speedy last 5 minutes. At first I didn’t see how upset my training partner was, I thought he was just tired from a long day. It wasn’t until we left the gym that he told me what was going on. After bugging him to run with me and then picking up the pace that he couldn’t run at, I had hurt his pride.
Both my training partner and I ran in college. He has always had such heart for running. He was always dedicated to running, pushing himself to be better each year. He had great success, and he was fast. In the last 6 months, his life has changed a lot. A majority of his time is spent buried in books, flashcards and class work for medical school. He doesn’t have as much time to dedicate to training at a high level, and some times just not enough energy. His time has passed where he wanted to compete at a high level. He has moved into adulthood where some things have to slow down, and where others pick up. His pace of life has changed.
I on the other hand have almost an infinite amount of time to spend running and training. In fact, perhaps in the last 6 months I have gained time. When my husband is studying I want to make sure that I give him space so he can do what he needs. Being inside all day at work and sitting for a majority of that time makes me want to spend more time outside, perhaps I see running as a break, not a chore. My pace in life has changed.
Whatever the case is, time, attitude or dedication, running has different meanings to my training partner. And by assuming I knew what my running partner wanted out of a run I hurt his pride and took away some of the joy for him. I feel bad about the whole thing. I was selfishly running for only myself, not taking time to enjoy spending time with someone I love while doing something we both can enjoy.
I learned my lesson, and will make sure to ask before I set the pace.