Last year, when I was training for my first half marathon, I did it almost essentially on my own. My shorter, morning runs were with a couple of friends on the treadmill, but for the most part my longer runs were alone (some times a friend would join me for a small chunk of the course). It was so hard to get motivated to wake up early and get outside and train, no matter the weather. I remember my last long run–the weather was chilly and rainy and I was thinking of pushing the the run back (I didn’t have anyone to run with, so there was no one to worry about disappointing). But I got through it. It was excruciating It was demotivating. It wasn’t fun.
So this winter, while I was contemplating running half marathons, I started thinking about joining a running group. I was a member of one on Facebook, but I hadn’t met up with them. Then another local running group tweeted their run was going to be over part of the course from another half marathon in the area and I jumped aboard. (Another downfall to running by yourself is not being able to branch out to try new running routes because you don’t know the area that well and are afraid to go to the unknown by yourself.)
I loved it! I might not have ran with someone by my side at all times, but to see other people along the course (either behind or ahead) and knowing there would be someone to cheer you on as you pass them, made me feel awesome. Now I cannot wait until the group run locations are posted for the coming Saturday run, where someone will coordinate the location and then have everyone post how many miles they’re going and their pace.
Because of these two running groups (shout out LexRunLadies and John’s Striders), I feel stronger and more confident in my runs. I’ve explored parts of Lexington and Midway that I never would have before, and I’ve loved every minute. I’ve been inspired by running with a 60-year-old marathoner, or a mother of a college-aged daughter who looks younger than me, and those who are even just running a few miles compared to my double digit runs.
The past few Saturday mornings, I haven’t wanted to wake up at 5 to get my runs in, but I did because I know I posted on the wall that I’d be there and how many miles I needed to get in–I’m afraid to let anyone down, even if they don’t know me very well yet. I know we’re all “suffering” together waking up early on a supposed “day off” and sweating through our layers of clothes, even though it’s barely 20* out and snowing.
I do enjoy my (shorter) runs alone, especially on beautiful afternoons after work, when I need to clear my head or just want to run without worrying about someone keeping up with me. But it’s good to know I have a support system of runners who knows exactly what it’ll take to achieve the goals I’m pursuing.
Do you run alone, or with a running group?