I’ve had a couple of great running buddies over the years. Key qualities include just
the right level of cheerleading and knowledge of such things as stretches, tennis
shoes and running paths. (I’m also glad when they’re talkers – ‘cause running
gets boring, and I’m usually too busy panting to bring much to the conversation.)

But far more than anything, the top quality for any running buddy has something to
do with accountability.

Day one of a new routine is always the hardest, but the good running buddy guilts
you into it. Day two: You’re super sore, but the good running buddy reminds you
that day two will become just another day one if you put it off another week.

So, about a month in, thanks to the encouragement from your awesome running
buddy, you’ve reached your short-term goal.

Then, things get busy. You have a couple of night meetings, a social hour or two … or
five. Crap, now you’ve got social hour flab. Go for a run? Eh … I need to catch up on
my sleep.

A month goes by. “Let’s go running,” you say, uncharacteristically, to your running
buddy, who, having considerable willpower, hasn’t stopped exercising and isn’t
going to wheeze as you do when you round the first corner.

The cheerleader in your running buddy kicks in. Even though you’re back exactly
where you started, your running buddy tells you “Nice job. Next time will be easier.”
So you plan to go running two days later. The time arrives. “How do you feel about
running?” your superb running buddy asks.

This is the moment where you return the favor. You say, “I’m all about it! Let’s go!
The air is cool and the paths are clear!”

But, instead, being the terrible running buddy that you are, you say, “Well, I could be
persuaded. But if you’re not feeling like it, I don’t mind.”

That’s a running buddy fail.*

*Sorry, Pat!

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