August Miles + The Running Dilemma

August was the first month that didn’t include any track practices, social runs, or races. I was able to go on one long run with a friend, but besides that, my running life had me prowling like a lone wolf.

Week 1: 1-6: 25.85 miles
Week 2: 7-13: 20.49 miles
Week 3: 14-20: 27.07 miles
Week 4: 21-27: 44.42 miles (The most I’ve ran in a week!)
Week 5: 28-31: 20.58 miles
Total miles for August: 138.41! (The most I’ve ran in a month!)

Mama Lone Wolf

To run alone, or in a group...that is the question.

For me personally, solo running has always been preferable to social running. Maybe it’s because I’ve only had a little experience of running with others. The beginning of this year I joined a local running club and made some fellow running friends which has been the extent of my social running. Currently, I am doing some training with a friend for the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon. There are definitely pros and cons to both solo and group running. Whether I’m in a group or simply with another person, I find myself distracted and mentally scattered, which sometimes leads to a not-so-good run. If we’re talking, I may find myself out of breath the duration of the run. Sometimes I feel swift and comfortable following the other person’s (or group’s) pace, allowing them to take the lead, but then I may regret it while feeling exhausted trying to keep up. When I am with someone else, I either feel pressure to keep their pace or guilt for asking them to slow down a little bit. 

On the other hand, running with others can force me to push myself in ways that I never knew. I may reach a speed that I didn’t think was possible or learn a different training method that really works for me. Finishing a tough long run with a friend brings you both a sense of accomplishment and builds up confidence. At group track practices, the friendly competition helps me break through workouts that I wouldn’t feel like doing alone. People are supportive and cheer each other on, offering advice and sharing experience. 

Comfortable pace of a solo run.
Solo running allows me a much needed therapeutic and meditative time, obviously, by myself. As a stay-at-home mom, getting time to myself is necessary for my sanity and ability to be a happy mom! I go through mental processes, evaluations, spiritual journeys, and learn more about my identity with each run. I find myself lost “in the zone” so often that I’m nearly on autopilot. My body is in sync, my legs are strong, my breathing is natural, and I feel as if I could continue running forever. Keeping a strong pace, yet knowing when to ease up, is something that I’m only able to do while running alone. 

So which do you prefer, to run alone or in a group?

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