choosing the right workout partner
1.) I have one workout parnter who's a really good guy - reliable, hard-working, ethical, generous, funny.. I can count on him to always be there on time, and to do what we set out to do. But that's not always enough.
His internal compass and strength of character keep him steadfast in his workout, unwilling to be goaded into a faster pace or heavier weight just by peer pressure, and unwilling to push me further as well. My workouts with him are enjoyable, and I'm better off for having to be accountable to somebody, but that's about it. The quality of my workout will depend on me.
2.) I have another workout partner who's also a really good guy, when you have his attention. He's flaky, sometimes unreliable, shows obvious signs of having adult ADD, and 2-parts crazy. But he's an awesome workout partner!
He'll do whatever I challenge him to do - faster, heavier, more - and he'll call me out for not pushing myself hard enough as well. Our workouts last 50% longer than we expect them to, with about a half dozen "last set"s before we call it quits. I'll be dead the rest of the day, and sore for the next 3, but I'll feel great.
Choosing the right workout partner can be the difference between success and failure. When I'm in maintenance mode, not training for anything specific or wanting to lose weight, having a reliable partner is perfect, since I'm less likely to skip a workout. When I'm in hardcore training mode getting ready for a race, I do better with a workout partner who will push me to my absolute limits.
At the very least, even if you don't have a workout partner, having somebody to talk with about working out can be a partner in absentia, since you'll need to do a workout in order to talk about your workout..