How to talk politics with your running buddy when they have different political views

Disclaimer: Talk politics with running buddies with a degree of caution. No political disagreement is worth losing someone who can run your pace for 10+ miles, and does so on a regular basis. Our very own Tung Yin suggests that any runner thinking of talking politics on a run do so “with a degree of intellectual modesty and humility.” In other words, don’t assume your opinion is the only one worth listening to, and don’t try to tell other people what to think unless you’re prepared for the response. In light of this reminder, please keep any comments to this post and on the Run Oregon facebook page extremely civil. If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother, don’t post it online.

It’s an important election year, and with that has come more than the usual amount of political drama. So it’s probably fair to say that there have been a number of conversations between running partners about the presidential race unfolding across our fair nation. Run Oregon bloggers have come up with some suggestions for those who find themselves a few miles from their car when their running buddy brings up their politics, which happen to be the opposite of yours.

Tips for talking politics (amicably) with your running buddy:

  1. Don’t. Just don’t.
  2. Be at peace with agreeing to disagree, and not trying to change their mind.

  1. Do more listening than talking, and use questions to have them explain their opinions further when you’d rather be challenging a statement or position.
  2. Use your opposing viewpoints as fuel: challenge them to a run-off or battle it out at a race! Then, pretend the outcome has any sort of outcome whatsoever on the actual election results.
  3. Be proactive: Start with this: “Have you been following the election coverage? I thought it was really interesting what ______ had to say about _____.” This will give you insight as to their politics, but by bringing up a specific comment and issue (rather than the candidate as a person), it’s not likely to immediately turn into a heated discussion. If you don’t like the direction things are going, you can easily change the subject by saying, “Yeah, there is a lot I don’t know about that topic. You know what else I don’t know much about? The appeal of Shopkins. My kids are all over them and OH MY GOODNESS they are the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. They are like, cans of soup or a shoe, but they have faces.”
  4. If your friend starts to talk politics and it’s not looking like a fun discussion, trip over something real or imaginary. The more hard-core your friend is about politics, the more blood you will need to generate to distract them.
  5. Run REALLY REALLY fast; so fast neither of you is able to talk. After the run, thank them for doing your race-pace training run with you.
  6. Claim you ate a bad ham sandwich and you need to duck into this gas station quick … and they probably don’t want to wait for you.
  7. Pretend to choke on a bug and periodically start dry heaving until the subject is changed.
  8. Find a new running buddy until elections are over.


About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.

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