Running can be viewed as an individual sport, you don’t really need to have anyone else unless you’re doing a team event. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to both running in a group and running on your own.
I prefer running in a group as I lose my motivation quickly and I run with people that don’t particularly mind if I take it up a notch and “loop back” to them once I’ve pushed myself enough.
I’ve listed below a few pros and cons for both running in a group and running on your own.
- Motivation – running with at least one other person can motivate you to keep going. I can’t count how many times I’ve set off on my own for a 4-5 mile run and turned around after a mile or so because, well, to be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered.
- Safety – they always say, safety in numbers! Especially in the winter months when the nights close in quickly.
- Therapy – hear me out on this one…how many of you have gone for a run with a friend and put the world to rights? Whether it’s been a crap day at work or your in-laws have been interfering with things that have nothing to do with them, we all feel better after a good ol’ natter!
- Social – it can be a great way to meet new people and expand your social circle. All sorts of people run, you never know who you might meet and what value they could add to your life.
- Friction – I’m just going to say it…you can’t always pick who joins a running group, so when someone joins who you’re not particularly fond of, or someone who grinds your gears then it’s difficult to stop friction building. TOP TIP: just go with the flow and keep comments to yourself (I learned that the hard way).
- Adjusting pace – whilst it can be beneficial to run with someone who is faster than you, it can also split a group up. TOP TIP: if you’re a faster runner than the group you’re running with either “loop back” to the back of the group once you’ve reached a certain point on the run or give yourself a kick up the backside and join a more advanced group.
- Space – there’s usually that one person who always seems to run straight in front of you or cut you up as you’re running. Be aware of who is around you when you chose to weave on a pavement or randomly step to one side.
- Freedom – you have the freedom to run when you want, where you want, how fast you want, oh the possibilities!
- Mind – whilst running in a group might be the therapy you need, maybe you just need to organise your thoughts and clear your head. This can be difficult to do when you’re running with someone as you could appear rude when in actual fact, you’re just sorting through your thoughts.
- Convenience – it’s usually over and done with quicker as you don’t have to wait for people, pick people up or drop people off.
- Lack of motivation – unless you are self-motivated it can be difficult to get your foot out of the door. You’re only letting yourself down unlike if you make a ‘running date’ with someone, you’re letting them down too if you don’t turn up.
- Reduced safety – lone runners can be easy targets. TOP TIP: use a GPS tracker (find my phone etc.), let someone know where you are running and what time you expect to be back, and if you must run with music make sure you can still hear what is going on around you.
If you have any tips or tricks that help you in either situation post them in the comments below.
Until next time, AAUK