Is running the best sport for good conversation?

I love to do my socializing on the run, and last Thursday I got to do it twice  — joining my friend Tinea and her running pal Graham for a quick run before work, then meeting my sister Traci for a 4-miler after lunch.

I wasn’t worried about overdoing it, because in both cases my companions were just getting back into running after taking time off over the winter.

“So how far are we going?” Graham asked dubiously as he emerged from his apartment in Fort Wayne’s historic West Central district. We settled on 2.5 miles, an easy distance that would give me plenty of time to get to work.

It was great to catch up with Tinea, who I don’t see very often these days, and it’s fun to get updates from Graham, who always has some interesting project in the works. Turns out he and his wife are applying to work at the Winter Olympics in Russia.

I was originally supposed to meet Traci for an afternoon swim, but she didn’t wake up in time after her sleep-lab shift, so we met up at Bluffton’s Rivergreenway instead.

This was only our third run together in 2013, so it felt like we had a lot of catching up to do. It’s not like we never talk otherwise, but it’s not the same, somehow.

I’ve written before about how conversations on the run invariably seem superior to those that take place when you’re sitting down. It’s like they’re infused with a more positive, upbeat energy. It’s not like we never rant or gossip, but we’re always more apologetic and reflective about it. It’s just hard to be mean-spirited when you’re running.

I guess that’s true of walking as well, but less so, I think. I mean, there’s bound to be more positive energy unleashed on a stroll than say, sitting around a big bowl of chips and dip. But it seems to me that the more transformative the exercise, the more meaningful the conversation — at least in terms of the feeling you attach to it.

Hmm. Maybe I’ll revisit this question later this week, when I’m hoping to run with Tinea and Graham again before Thursday’s copy-desk shift and then walk with another friend, Jen, afterward.

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5 Responses to Is running the best sport for good conversation?

  1. bgddyjim says:

    I have mixed feelings about conversing while running. I like it a few times a year, usually a day or so after a harder effort so I don’t feel like I’m cheating myself. My general rule is this: if you can talk you aren’t running fast enough. 😉

    • tischcaylor says:

      It does slow you down. I’m always surprised how much faster I can run in a race for that very reason — I’m not wasting air yakking. But good runs and good conversation are nice, too. Ideally, I balance out training runs with social runs so I have some of both.

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