Last year shortly after we launched Fit, Feminist, and (almost) Fifty, I blogged about my strong preference for working out alone. Back then, I said:
When I see packs of runners going by, I occasionally feel a bit of envy for the camaraderie, but my more visceral reaction is aversion. Why? Because I love this time alone. I have always sought solitude and silence, and running is a perfect opportunity for it.
But slowly over the course of this year, without even realizing it, I’ve developed a real love for spending my workout time with others. I’ve even got some regular “buddies” now.
When I was a kid in swimming lessons, we were taught early on about “the buddy system.” They told us to always swim with a friend. Of course, safety was the main concern, but that’s not the only reason to do things with others. Samantha has sung the praises of working out with other people. That’s totally her style.
I didn’t realize that in lots of ways it has become mine too. I’ve got three regular “buddies” these days: a yoga buddy, a walk/run buddy, and a Y buddy.
My yoga buddy, Jenn, has been in the Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. Iyengar class with me for years. In Iyengar yoga, there’s lots of work with partners. Most of the time, Jenn and I partner up for those parts of class. But we’ve also become friends over the years. Last winter she took a break from the early morning class and switched to a different time. I felt the loss. This week I went to the Tuesday morning class and there she was! Happy day! Jenn is back.
Through the summer, we spend a lot of time on our sailboat. When we aren’t on our month in the North Channel, we go to our home port of Bayfield every weekend through the season. My walk/run buddy Laurie and I have been meeting for Saturday morning walks and talks, followed by a cafe latte in the cool garden at DaVinci’s on Main Street, every Saturday through the summer for a number of years now.
I’ve always loved our walks and talks. Just recently, Laurie has gotten back into running after a long hiatus, so our walks have turned into walk-runs. It’s wonderful to run with a friend, much easier to do the “talk-test” when you’re actually talking. And the time just flies by. And I am much less likely to walk when I’m supposed to be running if I’m with Laurie. This coming weekend is our last weekend in Bayfield before haul-out. I’m really going to miss my Saturday mornings with Laurie.
When I was a graduate student I had an awesome workout buddy, Diane. We used to hit the gym four times a week for about three hours. We spent a lot of time together outside the gym too, and workouts just became an extension of the continuous conversation Diane and I always seemed to be engaged in.
So I am delighted to report that Tara (of the first 5K and the triathlon that wasn’t) just joined the Y, where I’ve been doing Nia Shanks’ Beautiful Badass workouts every Monday and Wednesday, so far all alone. I’ve been pretty motivated, but now that Tara has decided to meet me in the weight room for my BB weight training, I’m just plain excited. It’s been over 25 years since I had a regular workout buddy at the gym. And I remember it being a lot easier to lift heavy weights with a friend than alone. And I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Tara, doing something that makes us stronger.
Also exciting: as Sam mentioned, I’m about to buy a road bike. I will be relying heavily on Sam for instruction, guidance, and riding buddies when I do!
I didn’t really expect or plan for this change of attitude. But I have to say that at the moment, I’m just loving the opportunity to combine friendships with my activities. I’ve got a whole new appreciation of the buddy system.