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.
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?