The Peaceful Runner Newsletter #45
June 10, 2014

Is Running Solo Better? 

Dear Friend,

Welcome to our June Newsletter on Running Solo! 

Do you prefer solo running or with a running group? Both types of running have distinct benefits. I will explain my preference below. 

We would love to hear from you. What is your preference? Please add comments below.


Quote of the Month: 

"We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly - spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order."

-- Susan Taylor


Is Running Solo Better?

Do you prefer solo running or with a running group? When I first began running, my answer would have been a resounding "with a running group!"

When I first began running, it was always with others who were interested in learning how to run. Over time these other runners developed into great friends and great runners. I love the social aspect of running.

There is a camaraderie among runners that non-runners could never understand. I guess it is an acknowledgement to each other of all the pleasure and pain that we experience as runners. Some days we get deep satisfaction from a euphoric running experience. Other times we can only endure what can be a painful test of our will power. It is part of the life of a runner. 

We continue to push ourselves when it becomes difficult as we continue to develop and strengthen our mental and physical prowess. All runners understand this. We therefore have a natural empathy and fellowship towards other runners. It makes for great conversations later over a well deserved coffee or beer! The social benefits of running are truly a blessing. Having the support of other runners can be very motivating. We are more inclined to stick to our training plans when we know others are depending on us.

If you have never ran with a running group, I highly recommend it. It is a great way to push your running limits and you will probably develop a number of lifelong friendships. 

Transitioning to Running Solo

Running Solo

I was very lucky to enjoy many years of running with a particular group of running friends up until I relocated to another country four years ago. Since then I have been doing mostly solo running. 

In the beginning it was very difficult and there were a number of reasons for this, e.g. a very hot climate, an unfamiliar area and it was mentally difficult running alone as I had never done it before. I could have made it somewhat easier for myself if I listened to music while running or if I ran indoors on a treadmill, but I had decided years before that these were two things that I did not want to make part of my running.

I enjoy listening to music but for me personally, I want quiet time while I am running so I can increase my awareness and strengthen my mind and body connection. I believe that the more we develop our strength in these areas, the more we can enjoy running and the less we will be concerned with injuries. 


The reason I decided not to run on a treadmill is that I want to run outdoors whenever possible, even in extremely hot or cold temperatures. Also, I feel that running on a treadmill is not natural running as the machine projects us forward mechanically. Thus far I have been lucky and have not had to resort to treadmill running. Although during a few Canadian winters, I have had to resort to an indoor track when running conditions outdoors were just too dangerous. 

Over time running solo became easier and I believe that I am mentally stronger because of it. One thing that has really helped me while running solo is taking scheduled walk breaks. I still take them when I am running by myself. There are many benefits to taking walk breaks, but when running solo, it helps break up the run into smaller, more mentally manageable distances. For me, walk breaks are great motivators!

Now, I can actually say that I enjoy running by myself, although I still enjoy running with others and I do every chance I get. 

I have come to realize that there are many benefits of running solo. It is quiet time to myself when I try not to think about anything. I can just enjoy the feeling of running, being outdoors and being aware of my surroundings.



It is often while I am running by myself that I will suddenly get an idea that I hadn't thought of before or a solution to a problem that I wasn't even thinking about. I feel that my thoughts are more clear while I am running even though I am not consciously thinking about anything (if that makes sense). 

I have experienced runners high more often and running solo allows me to be more flexible in my running schedule and in determining my running routes. I can also easily change my route if I feel like doing a shorter or a longer run than I had planned. 

In the end, I have decided that I like a mix of both. I enjoy running with friends and it definitely makes the longer runs much easier. However, I would miss my solo runs now if I did all my runs with others. 

These solo runs are my quiet time for discovery. A chance to get to know myself better, to discover my weaknesses, to gain confidence in my mental strength, to stay present, to enjoy nature, to be grateful, to feel connected to the earth and the sky. I guess my solo runs are really my time for running and meditation.

So now it's your turn! Do you prefer to running solo, with friends or a combination of both? Please add your comments below. 

As always, keep running and stay happy and peaceful!

With love and peace,

Jackie


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