Running Solo vs Running with a Group – Just Run

Running Solo vs Running in a Group | happyfitmama.com

It’s another edition of Just Run, where each month a group of my running blogger friends gather with their tips, tricks and thoughts on all things running.

In case you missed the previous editions:

Tips for the New Runner

Instagram Tips and Tricks

My Worst Race Ever

My Best Race Ever

5 Things I’d Hate to Run Without

This month we tackle running solo vs running with a group – which is better?

For me, I think it’s best to have a mix of both.

That wasn’t the case in my early years of running.  I did most of my runs solo unless you count the times that I ran pushing the kids in the double BOB. Solo runs meant I got to enjoy the alone time to let my legs and thoughts wonder.  I didn’t have to talk to anyone.  I didn’t have to keep up.  I could run my own pace and just run.  Can you sense that I wanted to be alone?  That’s what happens when you have small children hanging on you and a job that deals with being around people ALL day long.

Running Solo vs Running in a Group | happyfitmama.com

And then one day I spontaneously decided I wanted to find someone to run with.  I felt like I needed some company to push my pace a bit but for also safety reasons on my zero dark thirty runs. I first joined up with a running group that had runs of various distances on Saturday mornings from Runner’s Alley. Heading to the store that morning, I was so nervous.  Would I be able to keep up?  Will I be the slowest runner?  My fears were quickly pushed away. I met so many people of various paces.  I never ran alone and enjoyed the conversations that occurred naturally.  Before I knew it, 8 miles along one of my favorite routes was done.

After that, I got up the nerve to put a plea out to my Facebook friends in search of a running buddy.  That was 7 years ago, since then I have been blessed with multiple running buddies. We’ve laughed, sweated and had a great time getting to know each other. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone while out on a run. I not only found new running buddies, I found genuine friends.

My running buddies have motivated me to get out of my comfort zone. I learned that I could actually run faster than I thought I could. My running buddies have motivated me to get my ass out of bed on a zero dark thirty morning to run more miles than what the temperature is in the dead of winter.  My running friends that I’ve made over the years have become some of my greatest friends.  In all honesty, if it wasn’t for running, I probably never would have met them otherwise. They may even know more about me than my non-running friends.Running Solo vs Running with a group | happyfitmama.com

Running with a group can be tricky.  It can be easy to get wrapped up in the run and run faster than you are supposed to.  Or you may find that the group is running slower than your usual pace.  For the most part, I like to plan group runs on easy running days where pace is meant to be relaxed.

Right now, I’m very content with my mix of solo and group runs.  On average, I run 1-2 times a week with someone and 2-3 times solo.  It’s the best of both worlds.

Want to know what my running blogger friends think about running solo vs running with a group? Be sure to click on the image or their name to find out.

NELLIE

LAURA

ALLIE

CARLY

Linking up with Coaches Corner and Wild Workout Wednesday.

What do you prefer – solo or group runs?

30 comments on “Running Solo vs Running with a Group – Just Run

  1. While I can see the appeal of running with others, Ive always been a solo runner! I like the time to myself and also just running whenever I am ready and at whatever pace i want. Maybe one day I’ll step out of my comfort zone…

  2. I would love to have more of a mix like you do but between my life schedule and my training schedule, it’s almost impossible! I do miss the days when I would run more with friends but most of the time I’m happy to be on my own schedule and at my own pace…most of the time…
    Now, if YOU and all the other women on this post lived anywhere near me? Totally different story!!
    Allie recently posted..Running With A Group vs Running SoloMy Profile

  3. So funny, I shared a similar story about how I went from running solo to doing my long runs with friends today in my post! I definitely think it’s good to have a mix of both 🙂

  4. I actually prefer my solo runs! I’ve always run alone. It’s my time to be alone with my thoughts. If I’m training for something, I can focus better on what’s happening inside and on the road. But I do occasionally run with my friends. Because it’s fun to do that too!

    1. A couple of years ago in marathon training, I was so worried because I ran every single long run with a friend. I thought for sure my mental game would be blown for race day. But in the end, it worked out fine.

  5. When I first started running, my then-spouse was doing Team In Training to prep for a marathon, so there were a lot of group workouts. Later I started really enjoying the time to myself to clear my head, think through something, or just listen to music or a podcast.

    For the last 5 years, my partner and I have done our weekend long runs together. For most of that time, we were living in different cities and so long runs meant an hour or 2 when we were together on the weekends that we unplugged from the world. Even now that we finally live in the same place, we run together on the weekends and separately during the week. We have different approaches, schedules, needs.

    I’ve thought about joining a group here for one of my run days (I did in my last city). But it’s pretty intimidating because there are a lot of fit, fast runners in this city, and I’m no where near as fast. Plus my current training plan shifts run days around a bit. Maybe one day…

    1. I totally had the same thoughts when I first approached the weekly running group and club. I thought everyone was super fast and fit. But I soon found that there is a very, very wide range of paces. And no one will let you run alone. Trust me!

  6. I like the mix too. I end up doing probably 90% of my runs alone, but the time flies by when I have someone to run with!

  7. I end up running alone a lot because I’m on a kid schedule and I work from home. But I love running in a group. I agree with all the things you listed above that make it more complicated. For me the social benefit is worth it. In fact, I am working on rebuilding my Saturday long run group as we speak.

    1. Kid schedules definitely throw a loop into the planning. That’s why I like zero dark thirty. Good luck on forming your group!

  8. I’m definitely a mix too!! Majority of the time though, I like to run alone. It’s my time to focus in listen to music and just be! But when I’m doing longer distances I like having a buddy with me!!

    1. I’m so out of practice with my long runs that the thought of doing a 20 miler by myself sounds horrible. Right now I’m at 12 miles max solo. Lol!

  9. I almost always prefer solo runs, especially if I have a hard workout on tap or need an easy run to completely zone out on. At least when I run with my husband, he understands that I may be quiet for a mile or two, since he’s the same way. Sometimes I do like the occasional easy runs with running friends as an easy way to catch up, especially if they are friends that I don’t often see.
    Laura recently posted..Solo Runs Vs. Group Runs: Confessions of an Introverted RunnerMy Profile

    1. The only hard workout that I enjoy with others is hill work. I find that it’s motivating to chase someone up the hill. And I’m less likely to walk when I get fatigued. Lol!

  10. I like running in a group but have struggled to find a group to run with. Much of that may be on me, but it’s still true.

    Luckily I am (mostly) ok with running on my own because I do it a lot!

    1. It can be hard to find just the right fit. I’ve run with some where it was one and done. But when you find people who are crazy about running as you AND are similar pace…priceless.

  11. I do both. Most of my long runs are with my main running friend, and her & I usually meet up mid-week for our #5at5 (five miles at 5:00 a.m.) ritual. I do my recovery runs and speedwork on my own, though.

    1. I find speedwork with a friend or group can be tough unless you are hitting the track. I like to be solo at the track but I have some friends who meet up. They say it’s motivating to have someone to chase.

  12. I agree with you completely, I need the mix. There are times I just want my running time to double as some me time. If folks crash my me time, I am cranky. Other times, I love to have a buddy either for catch up or just for company. What I really enjoy is company on the train home from a borough race. On the way out, I’m nowhere near awake to be human

  13. For most of my running life I’ve been a group runner (being a part of teams helps), but now I’m mostly a solo runner. I think I’d prefer to get back to running with a group but no one runs when I want to/need to run!

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