Hitting the tarmac and stretching your legs does more than getting you into shape. The endorphins that are released can help make a person happier, not to mention feeling like they are achieving something.
Whether you are investing in your first proper pair of running shoes or want to consider which is the best approach for improving your times, both running solo and running in a group have their advantages. We’re going to take a look at why running alone is better so you can see if it is for you.
Although some people are better motivated by what their friends are doing, or are social and like to be part of a group, running solo is something that can be better for many of us. Whether training for a marathon or just wanting to get into shape, here are the advantages of running alone.
You Can Go At Your Own Pace
This can be a good or bad thing, but there is something to be said for going at a comfortable pace, especially when starting out. Running in a group can be daunting at first, so if you are worried about slacking behind the pack, it can be good to start by running solo and building up your stamina and pace.
Although most groups are welcoming and you won’t be letting anyone down, running alone means there is no anxiety in this respect.
Choose Your Routes
Sometimes variety is the spice of running life, so it can be good to follow other people’s routes. However, on the days where you feel like taking in certain scenery or a track that has certain inclines and declines (or lack of!), running solo allows you to choose for yourself.
This also means you can pick the distance, stretch yourself when you feel like it, or take it easy when you’re not feeling like your normal self.
Listen To Your Body
You will hear a lot about being able to push yourself when running in a group, but sometimes this can be detrimental. If you overexert, you could cause yourself an injury, become over-exhausted, and just overdo it.
This can happen when you try to keep pace out of your comfort zone, or just aren’t concentrating on what your body is telling you. When running alone, you are able to tune into what your body is saying, and make adjustments.
The same goes for your thoughts, is there something on your mind that you would like to think through? Sometimes, running solo is the perfect time to enjoy the headspace that is hard to come by with work and family life.
Gets You Race Ready
A half or full marathon is a solo activity that means you are going to want to train by running solo at least leading up to race day. Anyone competing should be familiar with how it feels to run such distances without a friend by their side.
When you feel like quitting, that voice in your head needs to know that it can get through that wall of self-doubt because you have run such distances on your own before. Relying on someone else to keep pace, or to ensure that they are adequately hydrated and have eaten the right foods pre-race is never a good idea.
It’s Just Easier
When running as part of a group, you are always reliant on everyone turning up on time. You might be ready to go, having stretched and hydrated in anticipation of the start, only to have to wait 15 minutes for the last member to arrive.
Having to find the starting point can be annoying if you are unfamiliar with it, also, is the pace going to be too much for some of the slower runners? Running as part of a group requires more patience, careful planning, and reliance on everyone being timely.
Even if these are not the sort of things to bother you usually, they can impact a straightforward run.
You Can Listen To All The Music You Like
Every running group is different and every runner is too. Sometimes you might be part of a group who likes to spend a lot of their running time concentrating with music in their ears, whilst other times they want to chat.
Depending on your mood or how you like to run, this can be an advantage or disadvantage. Being able to plug your favorite, motivational music can not only help to pass the time faster, but it can be one of the best parts of running.
Concentrate On Form
People are distracting. Like we mentioned, you might be part of a running group that is more social over serious. If this suits you, then great! However, if you are trying to make improvements, this can be difficult if you are not able to fully concentrate.
Unless it is second nature, a serious runner will want to be able to work on their breathing, form, and pace. All these things are a little more challenging when discussing your plans for the weekend.
Being able to stretch halfway through can be beneficial, and something that is not so easy if you are worried about slowing a group.
Easier To Recover From Injury
We’ve mentioned listening to your body, and how it is easier when running solo, but the same goes for coming back from injury.
Pushing yourself too much too quickly can be detrimental and undo a lot of the good work that comes with recovery. It is vital that a runner goes at the pace that feels comfortable when trying to recover from something whether it is running related or not.
You Get To Take In Your Surroundings
We’re not going to say that either solo or group running makes the time go faster, as everyone is different. However, one thing that tends to be true is that it can be easier to take in the surroundings when running alone.
Whether running through a forest, on a trail, path, or around a lake, running alone gives you the time and headspace to take in everything around you.