This Saturday was my first organized group training run for the Fall session with my running club. It feels so good to be back! I saw some running buddies I haven't seen in a few months, I saw my old coaches, and made some new friends already!

This training session is going to be a little different than the others. This is the first time The Hubbo and I are training for different distances and different races. He is training for a full marathon and his goal race is the Route 66 Marathon right here in Tulsa this November. I'm training for a half marathon and I'll be doing the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco in October and the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. 

You may be wondering why we are doing different races this time. Well... long story short, my body needs the break from the high mileage that Marathoners have to put in. I developed Plantar Fasciitis in both feet while training for my last couple marathons. PF is super painful! You can read more about it here. 

Honestly, I had decided to run the Half at the Route 66 Marathon right after I ran my first full there last year. Which was before I knew I had PF. I have already ran in the relay, and I had just finished the full, so I thought I'd round out my medal collection with a half medal. Plus, last year if you were a Half Fanatic or Marathon Maniac, your medal came on a special ribbon showing their logo instead of the Route 66. So you could boast both accomplishments.

Excuse the language, this was perfect for this blog!
Anyways, the title of this blog mentions birds and I haven't even mentioned them yet. Keep reading.

The first group run was only 4 miles, so nothing to really brag about, but it is a good way to ease yourself back into group training when you've been off for awhile. It was warm and humid but we had plenty of water stops so everyone seemed to do fine. I was fine until mile 3.5. That's when it hit me. Literally. Bird poop hit me on the side of my head. Ugh! So gross. I decided to not let it ruin my day and take it as a good luck and welcome back sign from the bird. After all, it could have been worse! It could have gotten in my ear! Or my eye! I probably would have vomited on the spot if it had gotten in my eye. No joke y'all!  

What do you think? Is getting pooped on by a bird good luck or bad luck? Has it happened to you?

Mo Farrah running with a group of Teletubbies!
Every runner has their preferences on anything and everything running related. That is probably why there are 12,392,561,874 different running brands out there. Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little bit, but c'mon! You know it's true. I'm sure if we Googled the phrase "running gear" we would get close to that amount anyways.  We have preferences on the types of distances we run, shoes we buy, outfits we wear on race day, and even if we prefer to train for our next race solo or in a group. I prefer to train for races in groups (not groups of Teletubies though) but I know they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, when I'm running with a group I feel safer. I'm originally from a super tiny town where everyone knows your name and then I moved to the big city of Tulsa. Some of you are probably saying to yourself "Tulsa? Where's Tulsa?" We'll save that for another blog post. But really, it was a big shock to my system to move from a small town to a city this size. So the idea of running alone, after dark sometimes, either downtown or on the trails frightens the living daylights out of me! It would only be natural to assume that every person that passes me needs to get mace sprayed in their face because they were going to attack me. (This is really hYou are probably laughing right now, but it's true. The first time I'm arrested will probably be because I was forced to run alone and I sprayed some "attacker" AKA an Elderly Woman in the face with pepper spray. Hubbo get the bail money ready! 

Running in a group also helps hold me accountable. I ran my last organized race in March of this year and haven't been part of a training program since. I also have not ran more than 3-4 times since then either and I'm blaming it on a lack of peer pressure! Don't get me wrong, I do like to run. (I also took time off for injury reasons) But knowing that there isn't someone waiting on my to show up makes it easier to sleep in on Saturdays instead of going to those long runs alone. 

Injuries suck. Running injuries are horrible. Getting a running injury while you are running alone could potentially be life threatening. Running with a group means that there is a higher chance someone may have a cell phone on them to call for help, or someone can go to the nearest phone to call for help, or they may even be able to help you in other ways while you are out there being all injured and stuff.

Entertainment is better in groups. I've had some of the best group running coaches in the last year and a half. They keep the conversation going, give out advice, tell jokes, and give race reports and before you know it your miles are just ticking away because you’re having a good time.

Mo Farrah running solo aka Beast Mode!

Now that we know of my completely drastic and unrealistic fear of strangers, let's talk about why running solo can be good.

Bathroom breaks – You get to decide when to take them and you don’t have to wait on others to do their business. 

Water stops – see Bathroom breaks.

Distance – I've heard a rumor that sometimes some people are able to do more miles than what they originally set out to do. It's just a rumor, but I can see that it could be true for some people, which does not include myself. 
We all have good runs and bad runs, and when you run alone you get to decide of far or how much further you are willing to go.

No TMI – No mindless chatter about baby mama’s, ex-boyfriends, and someone’s most recent bathroom trip when you are running solo! 

There is no right or wrong way to do your training when it comes to groups vs solo, it all boils down to preference and your options. 

What do you like about running in groups? What do you like about running alone?