Keeping company when you’re out for a run – or even by yourself – can impact your overall performance, and affect the quality of your performance. If you are an introvert, does running with someone alongside stress you out and limit the peace and recharging time you might be getting from your training? Or if you are an extrovert, do you find that being out on a run by yourself to be less motivating?
Let’s break down the pros and cons of running by yourself, as well as running with others. Then you can determine what works best for you and your training, and what makes you a more effective and balanced runner!
If you enjoy running by yourself, you aren’t alone! With almost a quarter of the United States population taking up running as a fitness hobby, over half of those prefer to run by themselves. This isn’t surprising, seeing as how the daily hustle and bustle of life rarely allows for some moments to reflect and relax a bit, and running solo can be a good avenue to do just that.
Running alone can also help you focus more on the stress-relieving benefits of the exercise that you’re doing, and can help you get more in tune with how your body is moving and working.
Listening to your breathing and keeping track of your pace is easier to do alone – especially if you’re doing a recovery run – and can get you mentally prepped if you’re going to be participating in any running events where you might not have others running the same pace as you.
Between running with one other person or running with an entire group, 30% of runners would rather have some company while pounding the pavement. One of the biggest bonuses of running with someone else – or an entire group – is the accountability factor. Let’s be real, it can be hard to wake up at the crack of dawn to go for a run, especially if you had a late night or are just not feeling it. However, the person that is waiting for you at the park for your morning run will be there, which means in the end, you probably will be, too.
The accountability factor doesn’t have to be for just showing up, though; with a partner or in a group, they can tell if you’re selling yourself short on a run, or not pushing at your normal pace. This can be positive (and helpful) pressure from friends and peers that you might need to get a little extra boost or to stay on track with your routine.
Which Is Best?
For many runners, especially folks who are new to the running community, they begin by themselves – for several reasons, but some being that they are embarrassed or don’t quite know how to program effectively to achieve their goals. When this happens, running solo can eventually become an enjoyable pastime, while others might find it necessary to team up a bit, even just for days that are longer runs or where you might need some speedwork done with a faster friend.
Even so, solo running can be modified to suit an individual’s specific goals, instead of a group goal. Alternating in between runs by yourself and runs with a group can be beneficial as well – the encouragement and teamwork from a group can be highly motivating, while some days you could feel the need to want to go by yourself and bump up that mental toughness game – after all, your mind can get in the way of goals you want to achieve – and the quiet solo runs will give you no other choice than to push through those mental blocks!
What Type Of Training Will Fit Best With Your Goals
In the end, it’s a personal decision as to whether to run by yourself or run with a team (or partner). Both can be beneficial, and getting in those miles and boosting your mental and physical health can be obtained, regardless if you’re with someone or not. However, if you’re needing the occasional accountability factor – because let’s face it, we all have days that we’d rather stay in bed as the sun comes up – then finding a running mate is a great idea.
Aside from that, you might find that you’re inspired by the person or group that you’re running with and this can lead to better running times, improved mental focus, and an overall healthier outlook on life. Positive support from others that you’re around, especially for physical activities like running, can help goals turn into a reality and can give you a cheering squad that you wouldn’t have had otherwise if you were by yourself!
Now it’s time to strap up those laces, and hit the pavement!
Guest author bio: Kevin Jones is a full-time professional fitness expert. When he isn’t in the gym, he is offering practical research, fitness plans and nutritional tips to the world. Kevin regularly contributes to many fitness and health authority websites. With a passion for family, fun, and fitness, Kevin has found a way to manage and combine these three aspects in an effective and successful way.