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Background: I have started running regularly with a partner who has a smaller stride than I do. Because there is only so much time in the day, my partner-running workouts have replaced my normal solo-running workout. The partner-running workouts are something I would like to continue with for multiple reasons beyond fitness goals.

Problem: My partner-running workouts last the same duration as my normal running workout (~50 mins), but because I am matching my running partner's pace, I am not getting my heart rate up into my target training zones as I would when running on my own.

Question: I have heard tips of exaggerating motion (e.g. high knees) to increase the effort / heart rate, but I do not want to regularly practice poor form (practice makes permanent) since this is something I have started doing every other day. Is there anything else I can do to improve my own cardio benefit while running with a partner that does not require poor form?

  • How about your partner biking while you run? – xCodeZone Nov 16 '16 at 1:59
  • You could run circles around your partner :-). – Enivid Nov 17 '16 at 17:55
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Consider wearing a weight vest. To maintain a given pace with additional weight, your power output must increase, so your cardiovascular efficiency must improve. This has the unfortunate side-effect of increasing the stress on your body, especially your joints.

  • Maybe dragging a tire would hurt less, but both would be disagreeable to me if I was the partner :) – Jason Nov 19 '16 at 1:09
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You will be surprised the benefits you will gain by running slower - you'll be exclusively working your aerobic system. Unless these partner-runs are replacing any hard workouts (tempos, intervals, etc.), then you may end up doing yourself more good than you realise - on the basis that easy running provides a good base.

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Do what one of my running partners does with me. Run alongside me until you feel the need to "stretch it out" and then go sprint ahead for a bit. Then return back and run alongside. In some cases you can get close to running 1.5 times the distance (as logged by our fitness trackers).

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You can also try running backwards or sideways, as this requires more energy.

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