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?
[Tweet “The great #running debate! Are solo or group runs better? Discuss with us! #JustRun”]
I actually prefer running solo. It gives me a chance to get in my head (not that I have any issues with that…) but it also allows me to stay focused on my goal and what’s happening with my run. I like running with friends but those runs are just for fun–this goal-oriented runner can’t get much done on those days!
I agree with most ALL of this! I use my runs with friends as “fun/easy” runs and I enjoy them that much more because of it! I have a couple friends to bike with too but conversation is much harder in that endeavor 🙂 And yes, getting into our already over-active heads is really great, right? LOL!!
I love running solo but this training cycle it just worked out that I have been running most of my runs with a group! I’ve been able to find people around my pace so it’s been good and I haven’t gone too hard.
That sounds perfect! It’s nice to have at least one training cycle with a group, moving toward a common goal! Good luck 🙂
I’d say 90% of my runs are done solo as well, maybe more. I like your spin on all the solo run benefits! I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t make it to group meet ups more often, but I agree that there are a lot of mental and physical advantages to running solo.
I know you do and yes, there are so many benefits, especially when you have a specific goal. However, I seem to remember a time not too long ago when you were training with some faster folks and they pushed some of your times 🙂 Obviously there are pros and cons and it’s good to have options!
You convinced me, I need to ditch all of my running friends. Lol! I’ve been very lucky to find people who run similar paces as me. I usually keep my group runs to easy days or long runs just to be on the safe side. It makes it more fun to have company!
HAHAHA!! You are also lucky that you can meet up at your house!! Whenever I run with other people there’s always a well thought out meet-up plan at another location 🙂 I’m just jealous that I don’t get to run with you!!
I definitely love both! Solo runs can be so meditative and so good for self discipline needed on race day but I love the group runs for the comaraderie
Agreed! Both have benefits and I actually wish I had more options for group runs 🙂
I would run with you any day, twice on Sundays! I usually run solo because it’s convenient and I enjoy the quiet time. I completely agree that it’s beneficial for both pushing on hard workouts and taking easy days truly easy. I will admit that running with dogs is a win-win for me: it’s still a solo run in terms of feeding my introverted needs, but I also have a sense of companionship on the run and a little extra motivation.
Yes to running with dogs!! I definitely miss my days running with Star and it was definitely the best of both worlds. I hope someday we get to run together again!!
I like a combination of both because it keeps things interesting. I like “my time” with running solo but also like the change of pace and scenery with group runs.
I hear you and I’m the same. I actually wish I had more options to run (and bike and swim) with friends!
If I am working out/running/cardio-ing… I much prefer to do it alone. I like to just escape from reality. Now when it comes to hiking, nope. Gotta do that with someone else or I just won’t do it! 😉
Oh absolutely!! Hiking alone is dangerous to me, I mean who is going to distract the bears so I can make a getaway?
Congrats again my friend!! So excited to see what happens when baby GiGi arrives!!