Looking for a different way to meet people? Being a runner can help you score a date, and maybe even a like-minded mate. Join your local running group or set up a profile on www.runningsingles.com (a dating site founded in 2003) and see if you mesh with anyone. If you do, you can suggest going for a run.
Together for the long run
But a running date is very different from dinner and a movie-it has its own rules. Nancy Pina, a Houston-based relationship expert and runner, provides some ground rules. Call it sweat etiquette.
DO dress comfortably. Just as you wouldn't wear brand-new clothes on race day, you should stick to apparel and shoes that you know fit well and won't ride up or cause chafing or blisters. Also, Pina recommends keeping it modest-don't run in just a sports bra, even if it's hot.
DON'T sweat perspiration. Runners understand that it's part of the deal. "Worrying about whether you're sweating too much might be misinterpreted as displeasure with your date, so relax," Pina says. Stash scented baby wipes in your car or gym bag so you can freshen up before heading for a postrun coffee.
DO wear deodorant-but skip the perfume. Warm skin and perspiration can amplify scents, which could overpower your date.
Stress-proof your running
DON'T brag about PRs and running conquests, which can make you seem arrogant. Share one thing you're proud of, but don't let your achievements monopolize the conversation.
DON'T spit or blow snot-even if that's customary among your training buddies. You should control whatever bodily functions you can. It's tough to recover from hitting your date with a loogie (even if it was accidental).
DON'T insist on making eye contact while running, since anything more than a quick glance could cause you to stumble or fall.
DO take it easy. A running date isn't a race. Aim for a relaxed pace that lets both of you chat comfortably, which may require the faster runner to rein it in.
Getting up to speed
DON'T discuss past relationships or share anything too personal. Runners sometimes spill intimate details once their endorphins start flowing, but you need to hold back. Chat instead about your passions and interests. "Sharing what inspires or motivates you is attractive to others," Pina says.
Have you ever gone on a fitness-related date, running or otherwise? If yes, how did it go and would you do it again?
Susan Rinkunas is an associate editor at Runner's World, a magazine (and website) that informs, advises, and motivates runners of all ages and abilities-and we mean it. Her blog on Yahoo! Shine offers tips on running technique, nutrition and weight loss, shoes and apparel, and balancing fitness and life.
More from Runner's World