How I Learned to Love Group Running
I have always been a solo runner.
When I first started running a few years ago, I did it for something to do after work. Truthfully, I lived alone and was lonely and a little bored. It started as a power walk that progressed into a jog that progressed into a run. I never did Team in Training, and I never joined a running club — I just ran. And when I ran my first marathon, I trained alone, trading stories with my friend Bill who was also training for it — but in NYC.
Occasionally, I’d run with others, but it was a rarity. I always shied away from group running. I thought it made me mentally stronger, but I also worried. What if I wasn’t fast enough? What if they weren’t fast enough? What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if we had nothing to talk about? What if, what if, what if? (I am a little bit of a worrier.)
However, this year, I have become a part of a Sunday running group. And suddenly? My solo runs seems a little bit longer, and I look forward to Sunday runs the most.
I put my fears aside, and now Sunday runs are my favorite. Running with a group makes the miles go so much faster. I know everyone always says that, but I never realized just how true it was.
We had 16 miles on deck for Sunday, and even though we were running through a snowstorm, I was so engrossed in conversation, I barely noticed. The two hours and change flew by, and I could hardly believe it when we were looping back to our cars.
It makes running in tough conditions, like the snow and cold, a little better. You’re not alone, and you’re not the only one being pelted in the face with snow. And I honestly can’t think of many other reasons I’d get out of bed before the sun on a weekend. But I do it without even questioning it or complaining.
And I realized that part of being a group is adjusting to each other’s needs. If someone needs to slow down or needs a bathroom break, then we slow down or take a bathroom break. We’re in this together.
I do still think solo runs are important — it’s where I figure out all of life’s mysteries, and also I think it’s good to get lost inside your own head sometimes.
But I can’t justify drinking a mimosa in the parking lot after when I’m alone. That’s a little weird, and I usually have to go to work after anyway.
I mean, not that we always do that. But it’s a nice perk at the end of the run. It sure makes the last few miles pass a little quicker, knowing what is waiting for you.