Monday, June 9, 2014

To Run Alone or Not?

I am sitting here, trying to remember if I have ever run with anyone other than The Captain….

When I first began running, in the late ‘80s, I ran with our English Spring Spaniel, Penny.  Eventually, after several years,  The Captain started joining me occasionally on Saturday mornings.

When I first began running I borrowed a book produced by The Running Room for their new runners from a girlfriend of mine in who lived in a different city.  She mailed it to me and I do recall making a running date with her for several weeks down the line when we knew we would be getting together.  But by the time we saw each other again, she had given up running.

Eventually we got a different pooch, another Springer Spaniel, Scout, who ran with me faithfully, too.

I honestly don’t have any friends that run.  They bike. They play tennis.  They golf. They sail. They walk.   But pretty much everyone I know thinks I am crazy because I still run.  I do work with a woman who runs, but she is much faster than me and doesn't live anywhere near me. 

From time to time I think about joining a running group.  On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings I see a large mixed group running past our apartment.  They seem to be in groups of 2s and 3s and they chatter away and look like they are having fun… and I think perhaps I might like to try it too... but then I realize I am not ready to commit to showing up at a particular time every week, and would flake if it was raining or too windy.  And I am always afraid of being too slow and not fitting in anyway.  I think joining with a friend would be better… but if I had a running friend, I wouldn’t need the group!

When I committed to training for a half marathon a couple of years ago, The Captain decided he would do it too and he started running with me quite regularly.  Since then, I bet I can count the number of solo runs I have done on two hands.  Even though I dictate the distance and the route, he is normally agreeable to lacing up his running shoes and going along… or if he has something else to do, I will make a compromise on the schedule and find a time he can go along  with me.

But not today.

We originally thought we would spend the morning on the golf course today… but The Captain has had a cold brewing over the past few days and this morning woke up with quite a cough.  I think he is better off resting than walking the golf course, so I decided I would head out for a short run before breakfast… alone.  Kind of exciting, actually.  Lame, I know.

But after all of the sad events I have been reading about lately concerning runners and walkers being injured, or attacked, I made sure to take some time with my preparation.

I  put my cell phone into the hidden pocket of my new Fit Plus Sound Solutions running capris, and I did tell The Captain what my intended route was and when to expect me home… and off I went. It was quite a different, and very enjoyable run, because I was alone.

I ran on the bark trail around the perimeter of the park and really enjoyed it.  When I run with The Captain we run on the sidewalk across the street from the park because he doesn’t like the bark.  And, because there was no one to talk to, I listened to the screeching of the peacocks wandering in the park, and the honking of the Canada Geese flying overhead, and the heron chicks calling to their mamas from their nests high in the oak trees.  I ran faster when I felt like it, and slower when I didn’t.

When I arrived home, I went through my normal routine of water and stretching, and then we made breakfast and some plans for the rest of the day before I showered.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I love running with The Captain.  I love that he is willing to go just about whenever I want and wherever I want.  But every once in a while,I do think it is good to go alone.

When you run alone you can work on your pace or tempo. You can take walk breaks when you want. You can sing out loud! You can change the route or go longer, or cut the run short.  You can stop and take pictures or pet dogs you meet along the way.  You can be totally alone with your thoughts.

I would love to know what you think about running solo, or with one other person, or with a group.

Do you take any safety precautions when you run solo, such as:
  • taking your cell phone along
  • telling someone where you are going
  • altering or planning a particular route
  • taking water or food along
  • wearing your Road ID


  1. I mostly run alone. I always have my phone and ID and almost always carry pepper spray. That's more for dog protection, but it has other potential uses that I'd like to not have to try. I recently started finding more running friends and can't wait to get back out there. It's good safe. Sometimes I feel silly carrying the pepper spray but I know I'd be so mad if I didn't have it and something happened.

  2. For me, it definitely depends on the person. There are very few people I actually want to run with!

  3. I typically run alone. One day a week I meet a friend for a social run. If I am doing a long, long run I will run get my husband to meet me for the last 6 miles (that's all he's good for, lol)

  4. Glad you enjoyed your solo run! I mostly run solo and love having that time to decompress. I do all of the safety things you mentioned above, including telling someone how long I should be gone.

  5. I always take my phone and run in a well trafficked area in my neighborhood. I live near a park and a university campus and feel perfectly safe running in both during the day.

  6. i'm definitely a solo runner. groups make me nervous and i always feel like i cant enjoy myself

  7. I've done a post on the pros/cons of running solo or with others. I love both. For the longest time I never ran without my husband, but finally the day came when I didn't have a choice. I learned to love my solo runs so much that I couldn't think about running with someone. Then I found a running partner in my neighborhood and we ran most days together. It was nice to have someone to complain too when it was cold, dark-thirty, someone to laugh with, vent, whatever. Great way to start a day. But then I still looked forward to those nice, quiet solo runs.

  8. I like both for different reasons! It is nice to have some alone time and it is also nice to have some friend time.

  9. Yep, I take precautions as I often run alone. I did have a grabbing incident happen to me and offered several tips on my blog - many of which you mention at the bottom!

    I mostly run alone for convenience. There are running groups near me but I have tof it in workouts when I can, and the travel time to/from the groups is hard with three little kids and a job. So I tend to run right out my front door when I can find the time between other things we have scheduled. I'd love to have a weekly running time with a buddy planned.

  10. 90% of the time I run alone, but have definitely started running more with others lately and really found that it's been great for me to enjoy running in a different way. I doubt I'll ever want a partner all the time but it's one of my favorite ways to connect because I feel like we can talk about anything while running.

  11. Glad you enjoyed your solo run:) I usually run alone. If my run will be longer than an hour I will bring my phone. I do wear my Road ID but I don't do a whole lot more as far as safety since I run through populated neighborhoods. I probably should though.

  12. i do both, but i most enjoy running with one or two good friends. it's way more fun and it's a great time to catch up!

  13. I think it really depends on my mood. Solo runs happen most often, as sometimes it's hard when your friends or family members don't run at the same pace you do (unless you're just out there for fun that day)

  14. I run alone 99% of the time and always have my Road ID on me and usually my cell phone. If my husband is home with the girls then I just wear my road ID. I usually tell someone that I'm going for a run and where I am planning to run to. I always enjoy running with someone else since I don't get to do it that often.

  15. I run alone 99% of the time and always have my Road ID on me and usually my cell phone. If my husband is home with the girls then I just wear my road ID. I usually tell someone that I'm going for a run and where I am planning to run to. I always enjoy running with someone else since I don't get to do it that often.

  16. I run most days with my mom, so I feel ya on the whole running alone thing. I also don't want to join a group bc I am afraid of being the slow one! If my mom doesn't run with me I do run alone, though my town has apretty busy main street so I feel comfortable running there. I would never run on a trail or anything like that alone though. I just have more motivation when I have my mom or a friend too!

  17. I personally love working out a lone! I cannot have any distractions. If I am go work out out doors, I make sure to go in the BROAD day light! And somewhere heavily populated!

  18. The biggest upside to working out alone is that you can listen to your motivational music, and get into the groove of things. I like working out with other people if I haven't seen them in a while. That way we have a lot to talk about, and pumping the weights or a slow jog is a great excuse to do just that.


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