When I began running, I was a solo runner. I ran only on the treadmill. I listened to loud music and challenged myself in ways I never thought possible. My goal was to run fast, rarely far. It was a meditative form of running for me back then and some days I wish I could go back to running in such a way. It was a simpler time.
But one day I made the leap and started running outside. It was really scary at first. I didn’t like it. I found myself working harder than I had on the treadmill. The terrain was difficult to contend with — the hills, the cracks in the sidewalks. When I was done with my run, I saw I had run faster than I ever had on the treadmill. It was exhilarating and I was satisfied. I was challenged in a new way and doors opened that I never knew existed in the first place.
Over time my running style and preferences changed. I began to make it a point to run with others, I had a blast improving my endurance. I enjoyed planning long runs with friends. Running on the treadmill came out of necessity during the winter or when it was raining, but my preferred location was on the roads or trails. No longer a solo sport for me, running became one of my favorite ways to socialize with like-minded individuals.
I’ve found the social aspect of running to be one of the most satisfying parts of the sport. Sure, I love a good, hard run. Yes, I absolutely love snagging a PR like I did over the weekend. But more importantly, I love running with friends. Hard runs with friends, long runs with friends, seeing friends at a race — it’s all an incredible part of the running experience. I try to encourage my runners to run their long runs (at least) in a group setting. It’s amazing for morale and running with a group can help pass the time. But they don’t always listen to me. So today, as a coach and a runner, I’m here to give you six reasons running with friends is an amazing aspect of running.
6 Reasons Running With A Friend is Amazing
They say there’s safety in numbers. And it’s true. Since the news of the woman who was attacked in Seattle has circulated the interwebs, I’ve seen an increase of “safety talk” in the myriad groups I’m in. Everything from not wanting to run trails alone to “should I carry a gun” questions. Aside from a working knowledge of how to defend oneself should you find yourself in such an attack, the second best way to protect yourself is to run with a friend or two. An attacker is much less likely to pursue multiple people than a solo runner. Not only that, but your confidence will soar when you’re with others.
Running with a friend is straight up fun. If you plan to run with a buddy, you’ll likely plan a minimum of 30 minutes with that person you may not otherwise have. Think of all the jokes and laughter available in a 30-minute timeframe! And for longer runs, the sky’s the limit.
But if fun and laughter isn’t your thing, talking to a friend is therapeutic. Perhaps you have work-related stress and just need to vent it out to an unattached third party. What to do? Talk it out on your run. There’s research to suggest runners are better problem-solvers than non-runners because our brains are wired differently. Imagine the power of two (or more) runner brains working to solve a problem. The options are limitless.
Running With A Friend Presents Opportunity for Growth
4. Check your pace
If you tend to run fast when you’re alone, running with a friend can help slow you down. I’m one of those people that will run fast during an “easy” workout and end up running far too fast if left to my own devices. But running with a pal slows me down and helps me enjoy the time on my feet, rather than grinding it out to get it done.
5. Push yourself
Likewise, if you tend to drag a bit when you’re alone, running with someone that’s just a tad faster than you can be a great motivator. This is particularly beneficial if you have a speed workout and need some additional encouragement or an external push to keep moving forward.
A long run can be grueling. There’s no stating that nicely. But a long, grueling solo run is much different than a long, grueling run with a friend or two (or three). Safety? Yep. Fun? Check. Therapy? Yes. Slow down? Of course. Speed up? Sure, why not! When you run with a friend or a group on a long run, you get to fully enjoy the time out there — even if it’s painful, the weather sucks, or you’d rather be at home snug in your bed.
There are many more reasons why running in a group is great than the ones I’ve listed here. These are just a few ideas. But I speak from personal experience that running solo versus running with a friend or a group is vastly different. If you’re normally a solo runner, I highly recommend seeking out someone to run with or looking for a running group nearby. And if you normally run with a group, running alone has benefits, too!
All forms of running are wonderful and they all offer unique experiences. I encourage you to experience all different types of running. It will benefit you as a person and as an athlete.
Happy running. 🙂
TALK TO ME!
Do you enjoy running with a friend or a group?
What’s one thing you would add to this list?