Nathan Ponder

I am an early riser and I enjoy starting my day by running. For about 5 years now, I have been running every morning. The alarm goes off, I stumble out the door and just go after it, picking sleep out of my eyes, and trying not to trip over the neighbors’ trashcans that have been parked in the middle of the sidewalk.

But… It could be better, much better… You see, there are times when I want to stop and walk back to the house. There are times when I don’t want to beat the sun out the door. There are times when self discipline just isn’t enough.  My solution: a running buddy.

My running buddy is a close brother to me. Who else would get up at the crack of dawn? He lives 9 hours away and we run together most mornings. How? We run with phones in hand and use a walkie talkie app. Now, we can barely understand each other from the sound of our panting breaths, the loud chirping of song birds, and the annoying roar of trucks that for some reason lack mufflers. But through all of that, we know we are running together. Side by side, 554 miles apart.

Here are the reasons you need a running buddy (parallel this to your life/journey):

1. He pushes you. Your run (life/journey) will have hills and valleys. You’re much more likely to stay with the run if he’s pushing you than you psyching your own self up.

2. You push him. The reciprocal is also needed to enjoy the full fruits of this relationship. He needs you as much as you need him. That is a mutual understanding between the two of you. That affirmation is a “runner’s high.”

3. He asks you how you’re doing and cares.  He says, “How are you?” I tell him, “I hate you for making me get up early and my legs hurt.” Your running buddy is genuine, real, and cares about how you are doing. That turns running from a chore to something you look forward to doing.

4. If a bird poops on you, you can laugh about it with someone.  Poop will happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when. You will laugh about it, wipe it on your shorts, and then laugh about it some more. You know what, a bird has pooped on him, too. He has been there, too.

5. Someone who will tolerate your bragging.  You try not to pant too hard because you’ve been bragging about how you are really in shape. In reality, you’re trying to suck every oxygen molecule from the air that you possibly can. There will be people in your life that will be envious of your success. Not your running buddy. He encourages you and wants the best for you. He celebrates your successes with you. He says, “You’re ready for a half marathon,” when you say there is no way. He says, “No, you’re ready, go for it.”

Go ahead, map out the course of your next run. Take the route with lots of turns, hills, valleys, trees, trashcans, and loud exhaust pipes… but don’t forget your running buddy.



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