One of the great aspects of being physically active and choosing running as your favorite sport is that you can do it by yourself, with a couple of other people, or you can go with a crowd. There may be times when you don’t want to invite anyone along with you on your run; long and arduous work days dealing with others might provoke you to get away from people altogether. Other times, you may feel down in the dumps, restless and uninspired – and all it takes is a call from your friend, urging you to “lace up and get out here!” to feel a jolt of energy and join them for a run.
Whether your solo runs are valued as “quality me time,” or you’re the type of runner who’s more motivated to get going when you’re with company, both preferences have unique ways of getting you going.
Free One-On-One ‘Therapy Sessions’
Running alone and running with a buddy can provide different types of “therapy”. There are those who may want feedback from their family and friends. If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your circle who’s willing to run with you, their company could be just the right formula for relieving stress – you may even get a couple of good laughs while you sweat! Hitting the trail with a partner could also be a confidence booster. Having someone next to you who listens to your woes and motivates you to push harder at the same time may help you cope better with whatever’s on your mind.
The road could also be considered your proverbial “buddy” whether you know it or not! Running alone is its own therapy session – but you could consider the pavement your “company.” Sometimes, trekking alone allows you to talk to yourself, look at the road ahead and confidently say “Let’s do this!” Conquering different courses by yourself, or the simple sensation of overcoming hills while thinking about your day-to-day challenges could be thought-provoking.
Maybe you’re stressing out about a recent job interview that you don’t want to confide in others about – or perhaps you’re facing social problems you’d rather sort out in private. Solo runs give you a chance to focus and “zone out” while you push your physical limits and find perspective in those structural ups and downs.
Time Is On Your Side
No matter what time of day you’re in your “running prime” and have the most energy, solo running means you’ll get there whenever you want for however long you want! Not everyone is an early riser, so if you love to start your day with a run and your friends/family aren’t too keen on getting moving at 5 in the morning, that’s okay!
One of the advantages of running alone is being able to pick your own training time. You don’t have to wait for your friends to meet up with you or set a time to be anywhere on someone else’s schedule. The clock is yours!
When you run alone, you also have the advantage of “doing your own thing” for a longer time. Family and friends may not want -or have the energy – to pull off a full day of running and exercising. Feel like running for an hour, taking a break, then running some more? Your time alone can be dedicated to whatever motivates you – without worrying that your training time is infringing on someone else’s schedule.
Nothing Beats Team Spirit!
So, you’re your biggest fan when it comes to running and training. Great!
However, there’s something spiritually unique about being part of a running crowd. With communities all over the world where you can join groups, meetups, connect with like-minded runners and have some friendly competition, there’s a special bond that connects athletes which can’t be ignited by going it alone.
For those of you who have never participated in a race before – no matter what the distance is – you’re missing out on the positive energy that explodes when hundreds of runners come together at the start line. The sense of “team spirit” often stems from the fact that everyone is facing the same physical roads/challenges and each runner has a different strategy to overcome those obstacles. When you know you’re among those who have the same drive and motivation, the sensations of accomplishment become a shared passion unlike no other.
Learning New Running Techniques
Regardless of who you run with – or who you don’t run with – you can pick up all types of different strategies and running forms and figure out what works best for you.
If you’re running with a group, with friends or family, observing their “techniques” could be beneficial. Maybe your friend starts their run with a slow jog, walks for a minute and then sprints. Others may have different running styles – such as shorter steps or longer steps at various intervals – that you’ve never tried before. Perhaps in the middle of a run, one of your friends stops to do push-ups or jumping jacks and other calisthenics that can spice up your routine. You already know that every runner is different, so getting the most out of joining others could mean you adopt some of their never-before-seen techniques.
The same strategic learning can take place when you’re by yourself. The benefit of testing new running methods when you’re alone is that you can alter your run any which way you’d like without affecting someone else’s flow. Solo runs allow you to take breaks every mile to stretch if you want, or power walk in between miles without waiting for someone to catch up with you – or trying to catch up with them – later on.
“Eh, I’ll go running tomorrow when I get home… Not in the mood today…” If you’ve said this to yourself dozens of times and find yourself racing to get to the couch faster than getting home and heading out for a run, having company to motivate you may be the answer.
Some people need that push out the door and, if you’ve partnered with a family member or friend, you know you’re being held accountable to stay in shape and stay focused on your goals. The key is to also spend time with someone who’s just as motivated – or more motivated than you are and someone who will want to keep a routine going. We all fall into those lulls when we plan on running and then slack off. The buddy system can help battle that wall of laziness and discouragement!
Regardless of who you’re with, the most important commitment you make is to yourself – so stop making excuses and get back to making those miles count!