This month’s JUST RUN topic is going to be pretty easy for me since I have rarely, in my 18 years of running, run with a group. It’s not by design, but I have to say I have come to truly love running solo but also look forward to running with one or two friends on occasion.
Of course there are positives and negatives to both so let’s break them down and find out why I usually run alone. I bet you can guess…
I recently wrote an article for Women’s Running online about 4 surprising benefits of solo running. I’m going to take those points and discuss what you might miss out out on if you exclusively run solo.
SOLO: When you have no buddy system, your training motivation falls squarely on your shoulders. Obviously this can be one of the hardest parts of running and sticking with a goal and there have been many days I wished for someone to run with me! However, building this independence will probably guarantee you become a runner for life, no matter the circumstances of your training day.
GROUP: So much accountability! When a group, or even one person is waiting for you, you are 1,000 times more likely to show up and, it’s comforting having a group dynamic of like-minded people to share the love/hate relationship that is running.
2. INJURY PREVENTION
SOLO: Without FOMO of group runs or races, you are less likely to push yourself out the door to a training session or race if you know you’re not physically or mentally up to the challenge. One of the best forms of injury prevention is knowing when to take a rest day, something you are more likely to do with solo running.
GROUP: You know when you’re scrolling though social media and see what everyone else is doing and suddenly think it’s a good idea for you too, even though you have no clue how that person trained or what their background is? Yep, that’s a good way to get injured and can happen more often when you have a group mentality. Without the pressure of a meet up or race date, you’re more likely to give your body and mind a rest when they need it!
3. BUILDING MENTAL STRENGTH
SOLO: Even if you listen to a podcast or playlist on a solo run, you are still lacking distracting conversation. While chatting with friends on some runs is great, having solo runs with just you and your mind can increase your mental strength and endurance.
GROUP: Let’s face it: on race day, chances are you’ll be solo even if you plan to run the same pace as a friend. Being prepared to go the distance alone because you have trained that way can make or break a big goal. However, there have been many times a running friend has said something to me in a training session that has stuck with me and helped me mentally on race day.
4. CONFIDENCE CREATOR
SOLO: You have only yourself to compare yourself to when you run solo, which can definitely build confidence!
GROUP: There is always going to be someone faster than you in the group (and slower too!) and we most often focus on what we are not when running with others. However, there can be a huge amount of confidence built around a running group that consistently trains together.
Honestly, I run alone most all of the time because there is no one who can or wants to run with me.
When I first started running I did it with a group of strong, fast, empowering women, most of whom had no husband or kids so we could easily coordinate schedules! I definitely miss those group runs and the bonds formed over the miles but I feel like those days have passed and I now need to stick not only to my training schedule but my life schedule which is seriously incompatible! Is there an app for that?
I like having the option of the group, and if I could, I would run with all of the below contributing ladies everyday and twice on Sunday! Let’s hear from less introverted, more social runners, shall we?
ANGELA | HAPPY FIT MAMA
LAURA | THIS RUNNER’S RECIPES
NELLIE | BROOKLYN ACTIVE MAMA
CARLY | FINE FIT DAY
So tell me, which do you prefer?
And, if you would rather never run at all, do you enjoy alone or group time better?