solo running vs group running

One of the biggest choices runners make is the concept of solo running vs. group running. Personally, I go through phases where I prefer one to the other, but runners learn to adapt to all situations.

solo running vs group running

Solo Running

I use my solo running sessions to get some much-needed quiet time. Sometimes I use music, and sometimes, I run to the sounds of my own breathing and feet. In fact, I’ve come to prefer the latter of the two. It’s good for my soul. Running on my own also allows me to pay more attention to my form and how my leg feels. Recovery is still very much a focus for me, and I need to indulge my aches and twinges a little more than I did before.

solo running vs group running

Benefits of solo running include:

  • Alone time
  • Builds mental toughness
  • No obligation to stick with a particular route, pace, or workout
  • It’s easier to become one with the run when on your own.

There are, of course, some downsides to solo running:

  • It’s easier to quit or talk yourself out of an effort without a buddy
  • Runners must take more safety precautions when alone (never run without your RoadID or telling someone where you are).
  • Solo miles can be boring
  • You can easily fall into a running rut when by yourself

Group Running

I confess it took me a really long time before I felt comfortable running with another person, let alone a group. It was incredibly intimidating and I always feared holding people back. On a positive note, I am far less likely to bail on a run if I am with a group, and getting to chat helps the miles fly by.

solo running vs group running
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There’s definitely strength in numbers, and so many of my best runs have been in great company. Members of the group are great for spurring each other on and encouraging each other, and that’s something you don’t get on your own.

Pros of group running:

  • Increased accountability
  • Social time in a healthy, fitness setting
  • Someone to push you when you’re not feeling motivated
  • Improved safety

The cons of group running can include:

  • Pushing yourself to keep up when it’s not safe
  • Having to commit to a route, pace, or workout when you’re not feeling it
  • It can be harder to take care of your own running needs in a group

The Verdict?

I remain solidly Team Both. I love running with friends, especially in these days of social distancing, when it’s hard to get people time. However, having few other outlets, it’s nice to have time to myself as well. As I came back from my injury, I preferred running alone, so no one would see me struggle. I also wouldn’t feel pressured to keep up with anyone if I was having a hard day. Now, I enjoy running with a friend, and can hopefully add more people to my running rotation, as it helps my motivation.

Where do you fall in the solo running vs group running debate?

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16 Responses to solo running vs group running

  1. Wendy says:

    I definitely prefer solo running over the group. I’ll do the group thing but it’s kind of stressful for me, trying to run at someone else’s pace, talk while running–stuff I’m just not used to, lol!

  2. Farrah says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever really intentionally (haha) run as a group, but back when I used to run, I liked it better with a friend since we could motivate each other (+ also a great excuse to get to spend time together/catch up on life). These days if I go running, it’s on my own!

  3. As you know, I am totally for group runs. They completely changed my life. My running friends have become my best friends. I love the accountability and the safety in numbers

  4. I definitely prefer group running but it’s because I don’t care about pace and my friends run slower than I do.

    I do find it stressful when I run with a group/friend that runs faster than me. But in the end, it’s probably better for me as a runner.

    Solo running does have its place. You can do it where and when and for how long you want.

    I belong to Camp Both.

  5. Michelle D. says:

    I’m definitely more of a solo runner or with just one other person. Larger group runs use to stress me out when I first started running so I stopped doing them and have not attempted to pick them up again.

  6. I’ve always been a solo runner. I know there are benefits to running with a group, but I’ve always wanted to just be able to do my own thing! Sometimes I run with my husband so its nice to have someone to chat with (and to push the stroller for part of the run!)

  7. Rachel says:

    I have one training partner I’ve been running with since before COVID which has been really great, but I really, really miss running with a group.

  8. Laurie says:

    I do most of my runs with my hubby. I really miss both running by myself and running with a group. Group runs from our running club should resume soon. I am excited about that!

  9. I like both, for different reasons.A big advantage for group running, though, is the chatter with others. Not only is it fun, and the time passes a lot faster, it’s great for learning how to breathe more effectively because it takes a lot more effort to talk while running.

  10. Group running is new to me, and I really love it. I never thought that it was an option to run with others since I run early in the mornings and I’ve always thought of myself as slow. But then I met another runner a few weeks ago and hooked up with the neighborhood running group and it turns out that there are many women in my neighborhood who will run whenever and at whatever pace and I’m loving these new friendships. I still enjoy my solos as well. It’s not all or nothing, I still run by myself to meet up with the group, so most of my runs end up being 3 by myself and 3 with the group.
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  11. Laura says:

    I love solo runs or runs with just one other person. I’m an introvert and solo runs are really refreshing for me!

  12. I actually do love running with a group. But I’m not comfortable with that right now. It’s too easy to forget social distancing.

    Luckily, I’m ok on my own too — it does have its benefits. Like choosing which day, where, and what time I run.

    I get the best thoughts on the runs sometimes! Lately I’ve actually stopped & made notes so I don’t forget those great ideas before I get home!

  13. I am so missing group running. Since the pandemic started I have only run once with two other friends. I love chatting as we run or challenging each other.

  14. I liked doing my long runs with a group when I ran with Team n Training. It helps distract from the boredom. But I run alone now and I like it but having another person for those endless miles would be nice.

  15. Catrina says:

    I am definitely with you in “Team Both”.
    I love running with friends, but at the same time, I really appreciate time alone.
    I never listen to music or a podcast as I need some headspace while out running. It’s so refreshing for body and soul!

  16. Andy Waring says:

    Although I’m quite happy running on my own (and do do most of my running this way), I do like the occasional group/club run.
    I find the running in a group ticks the social interaction box as well as motivating increased effort keeping up with better runners. I’ll try to ‘group’ runa at least once a week.

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