Would you rather run by yourself or with others?
For me, running has always been an individual sport. It’s my escape. No matter how stressed out I am, or how upsetting life becomes, when I put on the iPod, and start running, somewhere along the route, the problems seem to dissolve. The hurt or anger feels less intense. By the last mile, I find myself singing along to the music. Running is the escape from others, the hideout and the healing.
A second benefit to solo running, is keeping my own pace. When I run with others, I feel the need to keep up with them – sometimes I push too hard too early and have nothing left. Forced to take a breather, I end up farther behind than if I just ran slow and steady. Running alone allows me to speed up when I can and slow down when I’m fatigued.
So why then, would I want to invite other people into my alone time?
I tested the idea of group training by joining a running group this week and simultaneously liked and disliked the experience.
- Meet new people – socializing is always great!
- The motivation – During the second mile when I normally would start walking, I pushed myself to keep running.
- Learn new techniques – runners love to talk about running, and opening your circle allows you to immediately hear new perspectives on the sport.
- Pressure to keep up – I felt a little silly that I was at the back of a pack full of excellent runners.
- The escape was gone – When surrounded by a group, the individualistic part of running that I love slipped away.
The next three months are about pushing myself in uncomfortable ways so I can achieve the goal of completing my distance run. I think that a mix of group training with solo training is the best combination for my long-term training. The group runs will give me the push to keep going when I want to quit; my solo runs will continue to be my escape. I plan to capitalize on both, and reap the benefits of both. The negatives will fade away as they are not as important – they aren’t pushing me towards my goal!
If you think you would benefit from running with a group here are a few different ways to get involved: