Tuesdays on the Run: Solo Running vs. Group Running

Since it’s the week before vacation and I’m slacking on running and workouts, I’m linking up with Tuesdays on the Run, hosted by Erika of MCM Mama Runs, April of Run the Great Wide Somewhere and Patty of My No-Guilt Life.


This week’s topic is Running Solo vs. Running with a Group, and this is certainly a timely topic for me, since I just had my first ever group run on Saturday!

I’ve pretty much always been a solo runner. My first forays into running in high school were just to supplement my track training, or for weight loss. I was slow and clumsy and didn’t want anyone to see me, so I ran after dark or early in the morning. As I started running more, I was always worried about pace–either being too slow or too fast for the person I might be running with. And I’m also naturally a bit shy, so I worried about finding stuff to talk about while running with a friend or group. I would hate to feel awkward or weird while trying to do something I enjoy. There also might be just a teeny, tiny bit of control freak inside of me, and not being in charge of my own route/pace/time etc weirds me out.

Thankfully, my first group run really showed me that I don’t need to worry about any of that. There were about 25 runners, ranging in age from early 20’s to 60’s, and with all paces and abilities. There were track stars and run-walkers, multiple marathoners and people who’d never completed a 5k. As we stood around exchanging small talk and waiting to get started, I instantly felt like I belonged–we were talking about the best headbands to keep your hair out of your face, which shoes we like or don’t like, races we’ve run, races we want to run… It was like talking with all of you guys, but IN REAL LIFE!

I was also delighted to find that I knew not one, but two people! One woman works in my building, and the other is a woman I interviewed with several times at a local company before I got hired at my current job. Her name is Michelina (Mich, for short), and when I met her at my interviews, I thought she was super cool. I’m so excited to actually hang out and get to know her. We ended up running the entire route together, with a guy named Judd, who as it turns out, is my neighbor!

We settled into a comfortable pace and just chatted away. Judd and Mich are both easy talkers, so I didn’t feel pressured to come up with things to say, and I never felt awkward. The miles FLEW by, and I completed my fastest non-race 5k in weeks. It was also really nice to run somewhere new. I run the same route pretty much every day, and while it’s scenic enough in its own right, it’s easy to get bored with the same view. On Saturday, we were out on the Ti-Haul trail, which is GORGEOUS–well-maintained packed gravel, plenty of shade, and not too hilly. I’m going to have to drag myself over there to run more often!

I’m so, so glad I’m getting to experience group running. I’ll still be doing most of my runs solo, but twice a week I’ll have the opportunity for fun conversations, new routes, and challenging workouts.

Do you have a tough time making conversation with new people?

If you run with a group, what’s your favorite part about it?

28 thoughts on “Tuesdays on the Run: Solo Running vs. Group Running

  1. allisonfiorini says:

    I love both running solo, and with a group! I have a pretty nice group of runner friends. My favorite part is how we push each other. A lot of times, we run in silence because we are pushing the pace. I love how it doesn’t matter what happens, there is nothing awkward. We are all in the same boat. We can run in total silence or chatter away depending on the day. If one of our stomach’s is feeling off and someone needs to make a pit stop on the side of the road, there’s no judgement (that’s usually me, ha!). Running friends are the best – they end up feeling more like siblings or family because of the bond you share!

  2. prairieprincessrunners says:

    I do at times…depends on how social I feel. I really did plan on running with a few groups this summer…but alas injuries. Maybe I can find a good group like you have for the latter part of summer before my winter on the treadmill begins.

  3. Anna @ Piper's Run says:

    I love both for different reasons. Solo for some time to myself but with my running buddy or a group to be social, learn and have fun with others. I’d love to do more group running but my lifestyle just doesn’t permit at the moment.

  4. dgobs says:

    I’m so glad that your run club is so awesome!! Sounds like the perfect group 🙂 I was really hesitant to join a group for all the reasons you listed. I’m super awkward when it comes to talking with new people, and I still feel a little awkward with the Shammies sometimes… that’s just me I guess! But I do love running with them, and thank god for the ones who are easy chatters who make me feel less ridiculous! 🙂 (And any good tips on headbands for keeping hair out of your face?? I feel like it’s a never-ending quest!)

  5. SuzLyfe (@suzlyfe) says:

    I have to say that originally I didn’t want to run with others for pace reasons but also that “what if I don’t know what to say?” bit. Then I realized that you just need someone to start the conversation–it’ll flow from there. Thus why I love running with Erica–she is a chatter–I tell her that it is like listening to my own personal podcast!

  6. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    Yay, that’s so great that the group run went well! I am horrible at making conversation around new people, it always comes out so awkwardly. I am still afraid of running in front of people sometimes and it’s been a few years since I started. 🙂 Hope your group stays great!

  7. piratebobcat says:

    I love running with a group. Even if I don’t know anyone there, I know we’ll get to chatting along the route and then have new friends! Especially for long runs. I do need a couple short runs by myself just to clear my head doe!

  8. Jessica @ VEGGIE RUNNING MOMMA says:

    I’m definitely a solo runner. I can’t even remember the last time I ran with someone else.. I’m not a super social person. but when I see another runner I definitely want to ask them to be my running friend. haha so I could definitely use the companionship on a run. hmm.. oh the struggle. lol

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