When You Have a Long-Distance BRF

Happy Best Running Friend (BRF) Week!!

I talk about my best running friend, Christina, a lot on this blog. Really, Christina is not just my best running friends, but one of my best friends, period.  Chrissy and I met back in 2009, when I got laid off from my job and took a new one in Baltimore.  Chrissy was also impacted by the recession and was renting out some rooms in her townhouse on Craigslist.

Yes, Christina and I met as Craigslist roommates! At the time, neither of us were active and to be frank, we were pretty miserable. We bonded over handbags and being broke and overworked. Oh, and 90 inches of snow. In 2010 we both moved away from Baltimore, myself to Atlanta and Christina to Charlotte.  

Here is Christina after one of the many snow storms we went through together!

Here is Christina after one of the many snow storms we went through together!

After Christina lost weight and ran her first half marathon I was so proud of her and inspired. I decided to try to run, and with her support and guidance ran my first half marathon with her by my side.  From there, our relationship has continued to strengthen and grow by our shared love of running, and our bond is nearly unbreakable after running our first 26.2 side by side.  I’m nearly certain that without our running, we would have kept in touch, but slowly drifted apart. Now, we see each other often and speak daily.

Marathoners!

Marathoners!

We really complement each other well in our approach to training.  It’s not easy having a best running friend that lives a couple hundred miles away, but we’ve developed a good rhythm that works for us.

Having a long distance BRF is hard. These things make it easier! Click To Tweet

Here are some of the things we do to stay connected and “train” together!

1.      Train for the same race.  We spend a lot of time debating the pros and cons of different races, and pick a race that fits our goals and our desired travel.  It’s fun to meet up in a different city and have a “racecation” of sorts! Other times, we’ll do a race that is local to one of us (typically, Christina comes to ATL since there are just more races down here).  This gives us an excuse to see each other, but also, our training plans will end up being very similar.

2.      Plan visits around key runs.  A visit doesn’t have to be just for a race.  When we trained for our first marathon, we got together for our 20 mile run.  It was a huge milestone and it was nice to see each other to share the memory. 

Before our 20 mile run!

Before our 20 mile run!

3.      Talk about your plans for the next day/week.  Almost every evening, Christina and I text or chat about our run the next morning.  We discuss what’s on our schedule, how we’re feeling about it, what time we’re getting up, etc.  It helps hold us accountable, but also forces us to think through logistics of the run the next morning.

4.      If your schedules sync up, run at the same time.  This may sound silly, but it’s comforting knowing that when I’m starting my 16 miler, so is she.  We’ve even talked once on the phone WHILE running. (Sidenote…Chrissy, we need to do this more often…)

5.      Hold each other accountable.  Before every run, we text as we’re getting ready.  This is especially helpful if you have to get up early.  One time, I coaxed Christina out of bed over a text message.  After every run, we text each other a Garmin selfie and how it went.  It’s helpful because I know she’s going to ask about it if I don’t…and call me out if I don’t do what I’m supposed to (like if I run my splits too fast).  She’s also supportive when I’m having challenges and helps me sort through decisions around altering my runs.  I tend to be a “stick to the plan” kind of person, and it’s nice to have someone tell me it’s okay if you need to make a change if you’re listening to your body.  Chrissy also reminds me to foam roll which I appreciate because I forget!

6.      Send pictures.  I send Christina running related pictures all the time.  Sometimes, I’ll send her a picture of me making a ridiculous face before I go running.  Other times, it’s a running meme or a picture of my favorite route.  I can’t see her in person, but the pictures help give an idea of what I’m seeing and experiencing.

7.      Running friendship jewelry.  I think this may be a pretty unique thing to us.  Before we ran Rock n Roll DC, we bought rings with Cherry Blossoms on them.  This happened by accident; we were trying to pick out a good reward for ourselves for finishing the marathon.  We found these rings as an option, but they were very inexpensive and didn’t seem like an appropriate “we just ran a marathon” reward.  We decided they were our marathon training rings.  We wore them during the day throughout training as a reminder of the journey we were on, separate but together.  Now when I see it, I am reminded of the journey we completed!  For Richmond, we decided to continue the tradition and bought a second ring.

Running friendship rings from Pandora Jewelry

Running friendship rings from Pandora Jewelry

The hearts are because “Virginia is for Lovers”….and the two of them represent both the two of us AND that it’s our second marathon. Awe.

8.      Add their city to your weather app.  I like looking and seeing what the weather is where Christina is…it makes me feel connected to her run (and sometimes very jealous of her weather).

9.      Share playlists.  Use a service like Spotify to build playlists and send them to each other.  It’s fun having a friend put together a playlist they think you’ll like, and it’s a great way to change up your music.  It’s like a modern-day mixed tape/CD!

10.  Buy matching stuff.  We are famous for being race day twinsies.  At this point, we have so much matching gear that we sometimes wear the same thing while running in different states.  It usually is not intentional, but it helps us feel connected when it does happen. 

Here we are before my first race. Fun fact: it was like 60 degrees that day and I thought I'd be cold....

Here we are before my first race. Fun fact: it was like 60 degrees that day and I thought I’d be cold….

I’m sure there are other things we do…but 10 seems like a nice even number at which to stop.  I’m so grateful that we’ve been able to grow our friendship and bond over running, even though we live in different states.  I’m looking forward to many more racecations and running memories together!

Do you have a long distance running buddy?  How do you two stay connected through running?

 

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Jess

4 Comments

  1. Awwwwww. Love love love. So glad to have you with me on every run. While you’re usually not running next to me – I always know I have you supporting and encouraging me. Running has strengthened our friendship so much and I’m so grateful to have you as my BRF but also my amazing, smart, encouraging, positive, practical, funny, and wonderful friend. Hugs 🙂

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