Running with a partner is one of the best ways to ensure that you get out the door for every workout. But your workout may unravel if you (A) talk so much that your pace slows to a crawl or (B) race each other until someone bonks. Here are two workouts: one to help maintain a good effort and one to keep the run from becoming a race. Warm up and cool down with five to 10 easy minutes before and after each run.
Keep up the pace:
Break a 30- to 40-minute run into five-minute segments, with one- to three-minute walk breaks in between. During each segment, one person leads without speaking and with the sole focus of setting a strong, even pace. The other person runs behind and serves as coach, offering advice to help sustain the good effort: take shorter and lighter steps, keep feet low to the ground, maintain an upright body posture. After each walk break, runners should switch roles.
Rein in the pace:
To ensure you're not speeding up as you go along, you have to be able to accurately account for distance covered throughout the run. That means either one runner wears a distance-monitoring system like a GPS unit or shoe pod, or you do the run on well-marked trails or on a track. After the warmup, one person keeps tabs on the distance, announcing the passing of each quarter mile or so. The other runner is responsible for taking this information and adjusting the pace up or down according to the agreed-upon pace for the day. You can take walk breaks as needed to talk over pace adjustments. Once the pace is established, the person monitoring distance can keep tabs by announcing every half-mile completed.