A blog by runners. For runners.

The perks of running solo

There are countless benefits to running with others. You have someone to hold you accountable when you feel like blowing off your run, motivate you when you stop falling off pace, learn from since there are so many ways to approach training, and entertain and distract you with good conversation.

However, running with a buddy isn’t always possible. Plus, some runners simply prefer to log their miles solo. Thankfully there are bonuses to running alone, too. Running alone helps you:

  1. Be better in tune with your body. It’s true that chatting with a friend will make the miles fly by, but distraction isn’t always a good thing. It can make you lose focus. Your form may suffer, you may forget to drink water or take in fuel as often as needed, and you may become less aware of your surroundings which can trip you up – literally. Running alone will make you more aware of your breathing rate, pace, and any new aches or pains.
  2. Lock into your own pace. It is unusual to find a running buddy who runs the exact same pace as you for every workout. Usually one runner runs either a little too fast or too slowly to match the pace of his or her friend. Doing this now and again is no big deal, but running too fast or too slowly on every run can set you up for injury or hold you back from reaching your full potential. On the same note, everyone has good days and bay days. If you’re feeling strong on a run, you can pick up the pace without leaving your friend behind. Or if you’re not feeling well, you can cut the run short or take extra walk – or bathroom – breaks without impacting someone else’s training.
  3. Truly disconnect. For many of us, running is the only time we get “me” time. No emails to answer, no children to tend to, and no pressure to keep a conversation flowing. In today’s society, peace and quiet is a rare treat. Sometimes it feels good to totally zone out, put one foot in front of the other, and not think about anything.
  4. Have confidence on race day. If you always run with someone else, you may lack confidence at the starting line if you’re racing alone. But with some solo runs under your belt, you’ll have faith in your own ability to hit a target pace and complete the distance.

When to run solo
Since there are benefits to running alone and with buddies, it’d be ideal to mix up your runs – run solo sometimes and with friends on other occasions.  Running solo is ideal when:

  • Returning from an injury. You really want to listen to your body when returning from a running hiatus. Running alone will make it more likely that you’ll stop at the first sign of pain (related: coming back to running after a break).
  • Doing speedwork. It’s fine to go to the track with friends, but don’t pressure yourself to keep up with anyone. Run alone so you can dial in to your own pace goals. Save group runs for easy days.
  • It’s daytime. There is safety in numbers. Running in pairs or groups is ideal when the sun is down (related: running in the dark safety tips). Save your solo miles for daylight.

Written by Jen Matz / Photo by Jack Weiland