I have been active all my adult life: running, playing volleyball, the gym, hiking and a lot more. And I have absolutely nothing against being active on my own – without a partner in crime. On the contrary, sometimes I simply need some alone time that I gladly spend on a lonely run. For many of my favorite activities, I do not necessarily need another person to meet and participate – well, apart from the obvious team activities like playing volleyball.
And I actually enjoy a lot of the activity alone. I love running for myself letting my thoughts wander and watching the nature around me. And while I like group activities, I also enjoy hiking with no other companion than our Newfoundland Dog. Often “waiting” for another person and a “running date,” trying to find a time that suits both of us, would simply mean that I would not go running at all.
Often being alone with my activities helps me clear my mind and sort out thoughts that keep my brain busy.
Nonetheless, I firmly believe that it helps to have people around you who understand why you are doing it and even push you at times. People who love the same things. These people do not necessarily have to be partners that you meet and who do the activity together with you, sometimes it is enough to know that they are also out on a run or a bike ride.
And here are my reasons why I think you need a partner in crime:
1. A partner in crime helps to conquer your weaker self
I have been a member at a gym for a couple of years now. But I have to admit that my visits to the gym have been rather rare in the past years. I much rather go for a run outside than take part in a gym class or use the machines. And more often or not I skip a lesson or workout because I am no huge fan of gyms.
However, I keep paying for the gym because in winter the gym is more or less the only choice I have as in Germany in winter it grows dark so early outside, and I would never be able to get enough activity done if it would not be for the gym. Plus, I know that some strength training in addition to my running is really good for me.
This year, some close friends of mine joined the club. And I have been to the gym more often this summer than I have been all year long for the past years. Why? Because ever so often I had a date with a friend, I would not let her down – plus I meeting friends even in the gym even if it is just for a few minutes talk between sessions is still better than not meeting friends at all.
Without the friends, I would have bailed out much more often.
2. Get motivated by other people’s achievements
Last year Marina ran the Berlin marathon for the first time. Naturally, she did a lot of running in preparation. And although I so far had no plans to run a marathon myself, this motivated me to a lot of running: Longer and faster runs than I used to do and more consistency in my activity.
This year Jonathan also ran the marathon, Marina did her second marathon – and I admit it, I am really thinking about trying for next year myself. Something I would never have thought about if it was not for Marina and Jonathan doing it.
3. A partner in crime can be a training partner
Sometimes a partner to go together is what it takes. Especially trying out new things and conquering new challenges can look a lot more inviting and even easier if you can do them as a team. Going trail running with Jonathan and Marina in the last couple of years has pushed me to try out new trails, go further and faster.
A couple of years ago I started climbing with Jonathan and another friend – I would not have done it alone.
4. Setting goals and sticking to them
Of course, I can set goals for myself. Personal goals I want to achieve. But as long as nobody knows about these goals they are easy to skip and forget.
Talking about goals with friends and everyone pursuing their own goals can help you to be honest about reaching them and persistent to go for them.
That is probably why some of the fitness programs where you post your achievements or programs like weight watchers where you meet with other people on a regular basis work so well.
5. Sharing the experience and joy and even moan and lament over pain together
Sometimes shared pain is only half the pain. I am sure, when Jonathan and Marina came home from the Marathon last Sunday hurting and exhausted, they still had the joy of the shared experience, and both could be proud and happy for the other and what they achieved.
A couple of years back, due to over focus with our startup and working long hours I had almost stopped running regularly. What brought me back to running was Marina, asking me if I would run a Nike women’s 10km run with her. Of course I did, we had so much fun that night. And in the years since then, we have run a few more runs together, always enjoying much more than just the running, by sharing the experience.
6. Celebrating together
As well as whining together is easier and may even include some fun – celebrating achievements in a team is much more fun. I would never think about running a marathon if it wasn’t for Marina and Jonathan. I already did a half marathon together with a friend and it would not have been the fun and joy it was if I would have had to go all alone.
Some years ago, I ran a marathon as a relay. Each person running a section of between 5 and 12km. And what did we do after the run? We went out to enjoy some pasta at a nice restaurant. This indulgence as a reward for our achievement was only fun because we enjoyed it as a team.
7. Pushing each other
This is not only true in activity and sports. Even in work you do or a job, a partner to talk things through and to reassure you when you are stuck can be pure gold.
Also seeing others being better than you are can push you to give a little more and work a little harder.
Between Jonathan, Marina and me, I am clearly the slowest runner in our little group. Seeing them run faster pushes me to try to be a little faster on my next run or next year.
8. Having Fun
Sometimes you simply need a partner to laugh with and enjoy life. Even stops on hikes, little breaks on a bike tour or the coffee you enjoy after going shopping are only half the fun if you have to do them alone.
And in the end, it comes down to this: We want to enjoy and amazing life: so let’s start and have some fun!
You do not necessarily need ONE partner in crime. I meet friends in the gym and share the running experience with Jonathan and Marina. Marina and I also had a lot of fun at a lot of women’s runs in the past couple of years. I meet friends for long walks with our dogs, have a friend who loves hiking almost as much as I do and our Newfoundland Dog Fellow is happy to be at my back and call if I need a partner for a hike or swim.
Look around you: It is more than likely that there are other people in search for a partner in crime for one or the other nice activity!