Training with a younger, fitter, training partner

I train with a younger, fitter, training partner.  My training partner is a natural runner with a much longer stride length and higher VO2MAX.  How can we continue to train together and both of us benefit?


  • There are lots of ways round this. Obvious ones:

    1. S/he puts in a number of miles before she meets up with you.
    2. S/he (this is tedious, can I just say she?) treats the session as fartlek, running ahead, running back, and then recovery while jogging along with you.
    3. Any combination of the above. When I (in my 50's) run with the students, I treat the session as my speed session of the week, and make it a "lollipop run": out, they run a loop while I stretch and recover a bit, and then we run back together.
    4. I don't know that long runs are ever going to be really appropriate to run together, because her long run pace will be too fast for yours. Neither of you will have energy to spare to mess around and not put your very best foot forward for these sessions. The best I can suggest is that maybe one of you acts as support for the other each weekend, riding a bike and carrying the waterbottle/rainwear/snacks as appropriate. I haven't tried that. I will not do a long run with anyone, as everyone (no exceptions) is too fast for me. I really did enjoy the one long run I did at Draycote, running the wrong way round the lake five times while those running the ultra or the mara ran the right way round 7 times. Saw everybody, cheered lots of people on, really enjoyed myself.
    I don't know what speed you're aiming at, but LDWA events are lovely, if you don't mind mud and like scenery. The trailfinding adds interest.
  • Great suggestions Stickless - just a few more if you do reps:

    1. If the session is say, 5 x 800m you start the rep. Your partner starts the rep 10 seconds later with the idea of catching you up midway through the rep. So the first half of the rep your partner has a target to catch and pass, the second half of the rep you have to try and hang on.

    2. You do shorter reps, e.g. your partner does 10 x 400m, you do 10 x 300m, starting each 300m rep a few seconds before your partner gets to you.

    3. Your partner does tempo runs, you do tempo reps. I've used this one before when running with a faster runner. He did 15 laps of the track (6k) at tempo - I did 3 x 1 mile at tempo, jogging whilst he did laps 5, 10 and 15 by himself.

  • Thank you also Mike for your responses, also very helpful.  I am thinking that I could adapt the reps to speedwork between lamp posts.  eg I set off first and she has to reach and pass me before I get to say the third lamp post!  I also have a circular route  which I could use as a 'lap' and she could do additional laps round at tempo whilst I continue to jog after doing mine.  Thanks a lot it's definitely got me thinking - I could even perhaps set her a task like runnning up steps a set number of times before continuing to catch me up!  Firing on all cylinders now!!!!  Julie C
  • Do opposite sessions. My boyfriend and I are both serious county runners, but obviously he is a great deal faster than me in order for us to achieve comparitively the same rankings. If we both want a hard session, but to run for some of it together, we will split up the session. For example, if the session is 40m run, we will do 10m together at the start, at my tempo, his steady pace, which are about the same, then he will go off at his tempo pace which I do my steady for 20, then we'll run back at my tempo, his steady. So basically we do the same session in reverse. Only problem is when the other person is the faster, and you're thrashing it out and they're chatting to you, which is fine if they don't expect you to answer (sometimes I tell him to talk to slow him down!!).

    Generally though, sessions we like doing together are hill sessions, where can both be i nthe same place but doing completely different sessions, and it doesn't matter. A good combo we did the other day was I did 9xkenyan hills, whilst he did sets of 3 with a few minutes jog around the general area in between - it gave me a chance to get about a rep and a half ahead, so I could finish before him and have a short recovery before tempo run home again. We also have a session we do up near him, which is reps of the loop or a run, but where his loop is a little bit longer - he can take an alternative path for about 500m, which works out that we meet at the same place at the end of each rep - perfect for checking on each other on long runs or doing threshold reps together.

    Alternatively, for a threshold session, run in opposite directions on a loop until you meet, then jog togethe for your recovery time, and then run off in different directions again - the faster person will cover a longer distance before you both meet.

  • I would like to run with Hubby but he is way too fast for me.  We are both training for an event soon, and he is probably not far off running it now, but I have a way to go.  So he has said that he will train me.

    So far we have done the same routes with hubby running loops and returning back to me, but I'm not sure that this is much fun for either of us.  I tend to try and go too fast in an unconscious attempt to keep up with him and then can't do the distance and I find it demoralising to see him so far ahead all the time.  And even with the extra loops I am not sure that Hubby is getting a proper work out because I am keeping his milage down.

    Previously we used to train sepately, with us leaving the house / car at the same time and returning at the same time, and trying to cross our paths whenever possible.  This was great when we were doing road training as I would run along the main road while Hubby took a longer route going through the back roads.  But now that we aiming to do cross country, the options for different routes are restricted so we are forced to run together the whole way.

    So, what I really need to know is how can I stop myself from going too fast?  I have just got a HRM for Christmas, so will this help?

  • Why not take a bike (if you have an adjustable one)? One person (probably your husband so you'll be less tired) cycles with you for whatever your run is, then he jumps off, you hop on the bike, and you cycle with him for his session. You also have to be careful with your speed running with a bike too, but provided you treat it as assistance rather than compete with it then is ok (unless you want that), and it's great if you beat it to the top of the hills. My coach and I used to do a variation on this (I'd cycle to the forest, he'd ride my bike with me running, then I'd cycle home afterwards). You can also get cheap cycle computer things (I think I got one for about £7 from Argos or somewhere), and you can set him to cycle at your target pace - this will give you a good idea where you are - if he's miles ahead of you then you have a problem, if you're ahead of him, awesome as long as you stay there, and if you can keep at his side the whole way then you've got the pacing right and consistent throughout! Also a good way top practice finishes - if he's ahead or you're with him near the end, push on and try and get back to him/get as far past him as you can.

    It is demoralising seeing them disappear into the sunset, but remember that even on race day you aren't competing with him, you're interested predominently in the ladies. Most of my training group at the moment are U17 men, and as an under 20 woman who has been with or ahead of them since we were u15s, I have to remember than actually they are supposed to be (and should) be ahead, and if I'm keeping with them or anywhere near them I'm doing a lot better than they are!

    Training with you is nice, and can be fun, but he has to remember that they are his easy runs, and that YOU are setting the pace. Make him stay half a stride behind you. His hard runs can be another day, or earlier or later on the same day. Alternatively, try the session at the top of my previous post; where he's running with you for his warm up and cool down, but getting a fast bit in the middle, whilst you get a chance in the middle to run at your own pace.

  • TRTR ✭✭✭
    Why not just run on your own ?

    Sorry, but it seems simple to me.
  • TR, running on your own is OK sometimes but now that we are doing cross country there are two problems with that:  1.  I don't know the routes and have a tendency to get lost, but Hubby has run those routes a lot with the club (who are too fast for me to run with at those sessions).  2.  What happens if I get injured and have nobody to assist me?  I have weak ankles so a sprain is quite likely (although less likely as time goes by and I do the exercises) and I don't own a mobile to be able to call for help (yes, I know, I'm a heathen).

    Some people would suggest that it's not safe for a women to run on her own, but I don't subscribe to that one.

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