Your Pace or Mine?

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Though I enjoy running solo most of the time, I always love running with another person.

Whether they challenge you by keeping a slightly faster pace, help you realize your strength by having to slow to meet theirs, or just provide some wonderful running conversation, I always feel like I connect with a person I can run with on a deeper level than if we were to just meet for drinks, food or something else that doesn’t require sweating.

When training for my first full marathon this past spring, I ran with my friend Roz once a week. We gradually worked our way up to a 22-mile run (exploring every running route in Boston in its entirety along the way), and would usually chat for the entire first hour—until we were too tired to speak. When Roz was suffering from a hip injury, my friend Jenny would volunteer to run the last 8 miles of an 18-mile run with me. There’s something about being outside, matching strides, that can help you open up to a person in a way you might not somewhere else.

But onto the REAL reason I wrote this post: I got a NEW running partner. I’ve been trying to find one ever since I moved home to New Jersey from college in Boston. And let me tell you—it hasn’t been easy. I’ve run a bit with various friends and my sister, but it’s always a gamble to see who can or will come with… or who will stick with it. Which is why it’s probably a good thing that my new running buddy operates with batteries.

For my 23rd birthday, my parents graciously gave me a Nike+ Sportswatch with GPS that I have absolutely fallen in love with. The watch is a bright yellow arm sore (that also comes in black) that gives you a super accurate summary during, and after, a run.

The watch, powered by Tom Tom, calculates the mileage, speed, elevation, split times and calories burned during your time on the road, as well as comes with a Nike chip to measure your distance etc when running inside. Think of the recap a treadmill gives you after every workout—with a personalized component. The sportswatch saves your workout for future reference and recognizes when you run a new 5k PR.

After an expedition, you can plug your watch into your computer and go through a step-by-step analysis of your run. It’s amazing how the technology can determine exactly where you waited for a light or to cross the street, and the exact pace you are going at each point of your jog. From there, you can share your progress, workouts with other Nike+ users and make goals for yourself that the watch will remember, and hold you accountable for. It’s like having a personal trainer recording your progress, or a  workout diary that you don’t have to actually log yourself.

Needless to say, this Nike+ GPS watch is my new favorite thing to run with. I know it will be perfect to train with for my next marathon (which will be in May 2013).

And while it doesn’t talk back, at least it’s constant.

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