Running Partner Won't Shut Up About Running

A local man won't stop talking about running, said a woman who trains with him several times a week—and the habit is threatening to push her over the edge.

Ray Barone, 36, and Patricia Heaton, 38, have known each other "since college," Heaton said. For the past six months or so, she told Dumb Runner, the two have met two to four times a week to run together.

"I love Raymond," Heaton said. "Everybody does. But, oh my God—all he talks about is running."

Heaton used a recent six-mile run as an example.

"We meet at our usual spot, and right away (Barone) is asking me if I've seen some interview with the Brooks shoe CEO," she said. "Then he proceeds to relate the entire interview, punctuated with his own commentary."

This was before the run even began, said Heaton. But Barone was just getting warmed up.

"Once we start running," she said, "he goes from talking at length about his new shoes, and how they compare to the previous model, to some article he just read about running in the cold to his race plans for 2018 to his goal of qualifying for Boston to the merits of some training plan over another one."

That, she said, was just the first mile.

Heaton said she's tried diverting their conversation with her own comments and questions—mentioning a story in the news, for instance, or a movie she's seen recently. The tactic seldom works, she said.

"He might grunt or offer some one-word response," she said. "But then he's right back to talking about running."

During another run, Heaton said, she joked with Barone about his "one-track mind."

"He heard the word track and began telling me about a tough workout he'd done recently," she said. "Twelve by 800, if I recall."

Heaton hastened to note that she genuinely likes Barone—he's a "really good guy," in her words—but she isn't sure how much longer she can tolerate his conversational quirk.

"I've never run with headphones," she said. "But, you know."