How do runners pass the time?
April 20, 2011 12:47 PM   Subscribe

What are some games that 2 people can play while running long distances to pass the time?

I'm training for a marathon with a friend, and from our experience while training together in the past, the only way we can zone out and run for hours without counting down the minutes and hating every minute of it, is if we are talking the whole time. Problem is, we share an office 40 hours a week and already do a bunch of other things together, so we really run out of things and people to talk about.

What are some games that can be played by 2 people? I am not talking about finding the alphabet on license plates, or doing math in my head (because I do that when I run alone and I am already bored of that), but something that involves more back and forth conversation that will keep our minds off the fact that we are running and we are tired, but isn't too intense so that we end up unconsciously slowing down because we are thinking.

I'd like suggestions for word or numbers games that can be played in your head and are better with 2 people, or lists of questions such as "what would you bring on a deserted island?" just to give us more things to talk about and think about while running.

We already listen to music while running and try to run in new places as much as we can, but we just need more things to keep us entertained so that we can run for hours without getting bored. Any suggestions?
posted by to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, Botticelli is a terrible two-person game unless those people are engaging in some mindless physical activity together. The physical motion really stimulates the memory.
posted by muddgirl at 12:51 PM on April 20, 2011

What about situational puzzles like the albatross riddle where the other person trying to figure out what happened can only ask yes or no questions.
posted by TheBones at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2011

Best answer: This sounds stupid I guess, but this is a game my friends and I used to play while running.*

The first person thinks of a word beginning with A. The second person must think of a song that has that word in the lyrics. If it's different than the one the first person was thinking of, they get a point, if it's the same, no points, if they can't think of one, the first person gets a point. Then the second person thinks of one starting with B, and so on through the alpha.

*actually at the bar.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:56 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

i don't know if this is a bit like finding the alphabet on number plates, but a friend and i used to pick a category (eg. tv shows, movies, bands, songs, cities, countries, books, authors...) and follow the alphabet, alternating turns. so for tv shows, i go 'alias', he says 'battlestar galactic', then i go 'curb your enthusiasm' etc... keep going until someone can't think of one.
posted by londonboots at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds like "Twenty Questions" would be perfect.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:12 PM on April 20, 2011

Questions! Would You Rather would be good too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:15 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

I like this one (from the last link):
Team Spelling Bee: Pick a dictionary word. Go around the group (or back and forth if you only have two people) and try to spell the word with each person saying one letter. Then use the word in a sentence, with each player making one word in the sentence. It's important to go quickly, no delays allowed, and just keep going if you mess up, it's part of the fun.

Player 1 picks the word, states it, then says the first letter. The next player says the next letter as quickly as possible. When the word is spelled, player 1 restates the word, then starts a sentence using the word. The next player says the next word in the sentence as quickly as possible. Restate the word when the sentence is over.

A three player game using the word "Yelp".
Player 1: "Yelp! Y."
Player 2: "E."
Player 3:" L."
Player 1: "P. Yelp. .... My."
Player 2: "Mother."
Player 3: "Wouldn't."
Player 1: "Yelp."
Player 2: "At."
Player 3: "Anyone. Yelp!"
posted by John Cohen at 1:16 PM on April 20, 2011

posted by nebulawindphone at 1:19 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Next word from (category) must start with the last letter of the previous word. Last person wins.

Lichtenstein -> New Zealand -> Denmark -> Korea -> ...

Next thing must beat the previous thing.

AskMe -> a troll -> sunlight -> sunscreen -> the ocean -> a submarine -> a shark -> magnets -> heat -> ...
posted by anaelith at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2011

Best answer: What about Telepathic Friend? It goes like this:

Both players count 1-2-3 together and then simultaneously say a word. Or a short phrase, or name, or whatever. Anything at all. Then they both go 1-2-3 again and say a word or phrase that somehow combines/relates to both/is halfway in between the two previous words. Then they repeat that for the new pair of words, and repeat and repeat and repeat until they finally say the same word at the same time.

The fastest round of Telepathic Friend I ever played went like this:
1-2-3 ... Person #1: "thermometer!" Person #2: "stigmata!"
long pause.
1-2-3 ... Both: "98.6!!!!"

I have never played it while running, because the only game I play while running is Oh My God A Mile Time To Pass Out, but it seems like it might work well.
posted by little cow make small moo at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2011 [5 favorites]

Try the game "Detroit to Tokyo" in which the last letter of each placename is the first letter of the next player's answer, like so:
Player 1. Detroit
Player 2. Tokyo
Player 1. Olso
Player 2. Outer Banks
Player 1. South Dakota
Player 2. Alaska
Player 1. Akron
posted by wenestvedt at 1:29 PM on April 20, 2011

Would you rather (the more absurd the choices, the better).
posted by Felicity Rilke at 1:46 PM on April 20, 2011

I was going to suggest breakfast combo but when I googled it the top hit was a comment in one of those other threads. This game is good if you like being silly!

I've also been sucked into impromptu games of twenty questions just by saying "guess what I finally did" and having the other person actually start guessing.
posted by carolr at 1:54 PM on April 20, 2011

While everyone seems to be giving you word games or puzzles, have you considered trying a "spirit run" or fartlek style run? Not only would it keep your mind occupied, it also can vary your training enough to both keep you interested and the variation that occurs in speed and intensity can really benefit your training. I find that I often get bored because I end up running the same routes b/c they are set distances -- and this can really help that.

The simplest way is to have whoever is in the lead set the route -- but anything is a route. Random turns, cut through people's lawns, jump over a fence...seriously, just try and ditch the other person -- once the other person gets sufficiently pissed at the shenanigans of the leader, they will have to catch up so they can set the path. Act like kids and just try and mess with the other person -- you will quickly find that you are running faster and your agility is really being tested.

I'm sure there are all sorts of variations you or others here can come up with.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 2:26 PM on April 20, 2011

Kinda a game my husband and I made up. First person says a word, like "car." The next person then has to think of a compound word that includes the word "car."

So, "car" ---> "pool" ----> "boy" (carpool, poolboy, boyhood, hoodwink, wink . . . ?)

another example: "angel" ---> "dust" ---> "mite"

However if you can't think a compound word out of a given word you can challenge the other person. That person must then either come up with a word or they lose. Or something like that. In the above examples I'd challenge wink and mite.

See how far you can go.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:33 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Marry, Sex, Kill, though this game is definitely more fun with some people than with others.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2011

Oh the problems of coming from a big family and having long car trips!

* I went to the market and bought... (you say an item beginning with A. They repeat, and add an item beginning with B. Keep repeating and adding. Note: Can be a bit hard on the brain)
* Famous people as relatives. What famous person would you want to be related to you, and in what way? (eg. Brian Blessed - Uncle). This can go for hours and be fun :-)
* Twenty questions (I'm thinking of a person - but I can only answer 'Yes' or 'No' to your questions), think someone's already mentioned this!
* (Places) name a place. The next (place) must begin with the last letter of the previous place. No repetitions. Note: Could be places, people, pretty much anything - make it as narrow or as wide (preferred) as you want.
posted by BigCalm at 3:26 PM on April 20, 2011

"stink pink" was always a favorite on my cross country team:
you think of a two-word phrase that rhymes. say, "otter potter," then you think of a description to tell your partner: "it's a stinky pinky (two syllables): an aquatic mammal skilled in ceramic art." your partner has to guess what the rhyming words are based on your hint.

you can get as tricky as you want, depending on how ambiguous you make the clues.
posted by sally onion at 3:39 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I started playing a game when I was on a long bike ride in Wales a few weeks ago. Whenever I met a passer-by, I gave them a hearty "hello!" or "good morning!" If they reciprocated, I scored a point. But as soon as someone didn't say "hello" back, it went back to zero. I came up with some pretty elaborate rules, such as a dog barking at you counted towards the tally. The most I got to was seven.

Of course, this was in the serene and mostly empty Welsh countryside. I'm not sure how well it would go down in a built-up urban area.
posted by hnnrs at 4:06 PM on April 20, 2011

I like Six Degrees (each person separately thinks of a movie star, then you find the link) but that can be intense.

A watered down version is to just alternate: I say "Wesley Snipes", and the other person says a Wesley Snipes movie. Then I say somebody else who was in that movie. And so on. Continue until one person stumps the other -- they win that round.
posted by zvs at 7:46 PM on April 20, 2011

A: I went to the shops and I bought a duck.

B: I went to the shops and I bought a duck and some lollipops.

A: I went to the shops and I bought a duck, some lollipops and a hammer drill.

B: I went to the shops and I bought a duck, some lollipops, a hammer drill and cheese.

A: I went to the shops and I bought a duck, some lollipops, a hammer drill, cheese and the third season of Get Smart on DVD.

B: I went to the shops and I bought a duck, some lollipops, a hammer drill, cheese, the third season of Get Smart on DVD and a new pair of running shoes.

A: I went to the shops and I bought a duck, some lollipops, a hammer drill, cheese, the third season of Get Smart on DVD, a new pair of running shoes and a smock...

... until somebody's short-term memory collapses in a heap and they have to start over. Or any of the fictitious consumer goods can trigger its own conversation.
posted by flabdablet at 9:40 PM on April 20, 2011

Best answer: Listen to a language instruction recording instead of music. By the time you run the marathon, you'll be speaking another language to each other and you'll be ready to take a trip together.
posted by pracowity at 2:39 AM on April 21, 2011

Response by poster: So many great games! Thank you! Somehow I failed to realize that games for running would be similar to games for long car trips. I chose the best answers to be suggestions of games that I've never heard of before that I can totally see us using during our runs.
posted by at 8:56 AM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

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