I skipped last week’s prompt (the benefits of running in groups) because I honestly have NO experience running in groups (other than races, but those don’t count).
Ever since I started running, I have been a solo runner. Partly by choice, partly by circumstance.
I have contemplated joining a running group before, but at the time they were meeting at times that weren’t doable for me (either too late in the morning or too early for me in the evening). Since I work long days, my workout windows during the week were pretty narrow (especially when I was still commuting to the office).
Granted, things have changed a bit. But I didn’t feel particularly adventurous about joining a running group during COVID. And running solo is pretty great. Here’s why:
You get to run on your own schedule.
While I generally stick to certain running days during the week, I really like to be able to vary my starting and end times. I enjoy having the flexibility to get out a bit earlier or later, depending on how my morning goes, and I do shift around my running days sometimes when necessary. I don’t want to feel bad for standing others up because I have a change in plans.
You get to decide on mileage.
Sometimes when I set out for my run, I don’t really feel like running and tell myself that I can always just do a quick 5k and be done with it (just to coax myself out the door). More often than not, once I’ve left the house and have fallen into my stride, I enjoy my run and extend my mileage based on how I feel.
You get to run at your own pace.
This is really important to me too. I run a lot of runs just by how I feel without paying too much attention to the pace and having to either slow down or speed up to keep in line with others is “hard” for me (although I do see the challenge in that).
You can focus on your running form.
This is honestly something I have started to pay way more attention to in the last couple of years and I feel like it has really made a difference in my performance. I see so many runners when I am out running that have poor form (they swing their arms and legs out or across the body, they “sit” on their hips, or take huge steps aka overstride).
I’ve really been working on my stride length, cadence, and posture when I run and that works best when you’re not distracted.
You get to spend some time in your own head.
I do my best thinking when I run and I really treat my runs as my me-time. Sometimes, I just listen to music/podcasts/run-instructors, but frequently, I also think about all kinds of things on my run: I make to-do lists, think about projects that I am working on, solve work problems (yup, that happened), or just day-dream about the things I want to do when I feel safe enough again to move around in the world more amidst COVID.
Bonus: You may be able to prevent injury.
I heard this a few times and I wonder how much truth there is to it, although I am lucky to be able to say that I haven’t really been injured since I started running about 7 years ago. They say by running solo, you’re more in-tune with your body, how it feels and how you feel on any particular day and you can adjust accordingly and don’t push yourself to run distances/paces that don’t suit you that day. Either way, I gladly take staying injury-free by running solo (most days).
What do you like about running solo?