I want to start this post by saying I am somewhat biased towards the virtues of running alone. As a bit of an introvert, part of what attracted me to running is that it is often thought of as a solo activity. However, over the past few years I have run with friends on numerous occasions and even spent a good few months running with a club twice a week. So with this in mind, I’m going to present some of the advantages of both running on your own and with others.
In Defence of the Lone Wolf
As I’ve already alluded to in my introduction, running is often thought of as more of an individual activity and it is this aspect that often drives a lot of people to it in the first place. What you’ll hear from many runners if you ask them why they run, is that it gives them a chance to escape the busyness and stresses of their everyday life. Many people are in the situation where they are interacting with co-workers all day and then come home to their family, significant others, housemates, etc. Everyone needs a little “me time” now and then (some more than others) to give them a chance to clear their head and running is the perfect excuse for this.
For me, as I’ve already mentioned in a previous post, running is also a time when I get to listen to my audiobooks. Of course many people run with a partner or group with their earphones in, but I would feel incredibly rude for doing so, even if no one else cared!
Another advantage of running alone is that you don’t have to take anyone else’s schedule into account. It can be hard enough trying to fit running into your own schedule, let alone when you have to factor in another one!
You can also run at your own pace. Unless you’re lucky enough to know someone who runs at exactly the same pace as you, you’ll probably find yourself either having to slow down and not feel like you’re getting a proper workout in, or having to speed up and feel bad about holding the other person back.
In Defence of the Pack
But not everyone enjoys the solidarity of running. I’ve known people who can’t stand to run alone and refuse to set foot onto the pavement unless they’ve got their running buddy at their side. Indeed, for those more extroverted among us, what might be holding them back from running is the assumed loneliness of it all. So what are some of the advantages of running with the pack?
First off, having a chat can really make the miles seem to go by quicker. Beware though: runners can only have a conversation for so long until it inevitably turns to the topic of bowel movements. Really.
While on the subject of chatting about bowel movements, joining a running club can also be a great way to make new friends.
Although I’ve just talked about how training with someone who doesn’t run at the same pace as you can be frustrating, it shouldn’t be overlooked that running with someone or a group that runs slightly faster than you can be a great way to really push yourself and improve your pace overall. I mean, you probably don’t want to be doing this for every run, but a couple of times a week can make for a great workout.
Another major concern that puts people off running is safety. It’s never been something that’s bothered me personally, but I know some people are worried about their personal safety when running alone, and running with a group or a friend is a great solution for this.
So, do you prefer to run as a lone wolf or as part of pack?