Running Solo - 20th March 2019

Simon - running coach
by Simon - Middle-distance runner and athletics coach

Last month I wrote about the benefits of groups runs. Today, I'm thinking about all the wonderful reasons for going solo.

Your pace

If you're running alone then you are in complete control of how fast you run, whereas if you're running in a group with runners who are faster or slower than you then you're possibly not getting the most out of your training.

Even if you're running with others of similar ability, there's a strange thing that happens in some group runs, particularly when it's just two people, whereby everybody runs a bit faster than they would alone. And everybody thinks that everybody else is to blame. I think we need to give this a name ..... runbundle's law?

If you're on your own you can run exactly the pace you like without feeling guilty for going too fast or hard done by because you're having to slow down for others.

Your session

There are some clever ways to design sessions that will accommodate a wide range of runners, but when you're alone you have the option of completing a session that is truly individualised.

Your schedule

Running on your own timetable is a big benefit of solo runs. No need to rush home from work because the group run's a bit early in the evening. If you want you can even get out at five in the morning.

Your route

Groups can be guilty of running the same route over and over again. There are good reasons for doing so - for example, people can join in midway, you know exactly where you are if you need to call for help for any reason, you know how long it's going to take to get round, what conditions are like, and so on - but it can get a bit tedious. On your own you can run wherever you like, even changing route midway if it takes your fancy. Try getting a group to do that!

Your thoughts

Running allows us a rare opportunity to escape others and have time completely to ourselves. Many a problem has been solved and many a great idea formed on a run.

Your toughness

I do think that one of the big benefits of group runs is that they provide an encouraging environment in which you can often push yourself a bit harder and perform a little better than you might on your own. However, it's also important to learn to work hard and put in big efforts without encouragement from others. This is great mental training for race day, when you can really only rely on yourself to get the job done.