How to Deal with Conflict in a Running Partnership

Hey gang!  I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day! I had to giggle when I realized this was the topic I planned for today.  Maybe some of you are dealing with conflict depending on how your Valentine’s Day went. LOL! But just like in romantic relationships, conflict exists with running partnerships as well.

About a year ago in a life coach class I was taking, each student had to present a conflict we had to the class. Turned out, one of my fellow classmates was a runner and the conflict she brought up to the class was one with a fellow runner in her club. We’ll call the fellow runner “Sally.” Apparently, during all the group runs, “Sally” would gloat about her children.  If one runner was talking about how their child made the volleyball team, “Sally” would 1 up them and say, “well my child is going to make the teen olympics for volleyball!” [Insert groan and eye roll here.] So my classmate asked the group for advice.  I jokingly mention that she should run faster to get away 🙂

So what should you do if a conflict boils to the surface?

First, assess the situation. It’s critical to have the facts instead of acting on raw emotion.  How long has the conflict been happening? Is it affecting my well-being? If it has only happened once or twice, catalog it in your mind. Maybe something else is going on in their world right now to cause this behavior, so be understanding. Is their behavior putting you in danger in any way? Probably a good time to speak up if your running partner insists on meeting for 5 AM runs in a sketchy back alley. You may have to call upon this guy….

Second, find an appropriate time to discuss the conflict. Word to the wise, do NOT bring up the conflict at the very beginning of a run.  It could make for an awkward run if you bring it up at mile 1 and you’re on a 10 mile training run. You might want to bring it up at the very end of a run or a non-running time. Be prepared if the person’s feelings are hurt and they need a break from your runs.

Third, it might be time to break up. Breaking up is hard to do, but if a resolution cannot be reached it may be time to end the partnership. That’s okay!  Be thankful for the time you all had together, accept it and move on. She wants to run at night, but you want to run at the crack of dawn. He runs slow but you run fast.  Not everything can be resolved. If the running partnership ends on a good note, you can still check in and see how their running is going, wish them luck on races, etc. Life goes on.

If you want to talk about your conflict without broadcasting it in the comments below, feel free to email me.

Any other tips for handling conflict? Have you resolved a conflict between you and your running partner?  Do tell 🙂

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