Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Miss Independence


Independent? Me?

Last week, while training with Becky, I met another woman who is also training for Chicago. She's also a nurse practitioner, my age, my pace, and I commented that we needed to talk "training". She told me she's running long runs on Saturday with the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA). I replied that I couldn't participate, that I work every other Saturday. And yes, that I like to run alone.

George Thorogood sang it...



Just substitute the word "run" for "drink" and you've got it...

And there's that...
Last year for my marathon training, I did run all my long runs alone. I do this for all my race training. I actually enjoy this. I most recently ran a virtual half marathon by myself. You can read about that here.

So many people like to run with a group or a partner, and I think about this a lot. But there's a couple of legitimate reasons that I like to run by myself.

And there's that..
My race, my pace. I like to run my pace. I never know what a run is going to bring. Some runs are fast, some are slow. I don't want to have to adjust my pace to someone else's. Whether they are faster or slower, it doesn't matter. I don't want to have to worry about slowing someone down or making someone run faster than they like.


A little less conversation, a little more action please...thank you very much. I'm not really an Elvis fan, but seriously. When I run, I like to listen to my music and tune out. And run. Besides, talking while I run messes up my breathing. Unless I'm running slow. Which is not what I want to do on a training run.

And speaking of music, I like to listen to music on a training run. If I'm running with someone else, I can't do this. Can I?

Oh God, no!
My...ummm...GI issues.. And there's that. It had to be said. Sometimes I have to make a pit stop and this can be distressing to me. The last thing I'd want is to embarrass myself while running with someone. I need to deal with this, alone.

I love the idea of training with a partner. I do. Companionship, camaraderie, moral support...it's all good.

But not for me. Above all, the main reason I like to run alone is that running is the only time of day that I'm by myself. For me, it's a time of reflection and self-assessment. I cherish those runs. And I look forward to them.

How about you? Do you like to run alone? Or do you prefer a partner or a group?

I'm linking this post with DebRuns and Wednesday Word! It's Independence Day this week, and our word of the week is Independent. Check out all the other posts to get their take on this word.





59 comments :

  1. Solo I go, says Ho. Sorry, no coffee yet. Yes to all of your reasons!

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  2. As I've mentioned, I spend most of my time by myself. And I'm sort of a loner by nature - or just weird - but that is probably why I like running in a group. The other reason? I definitely push myself harder, which s mostly good. I don't listen to music & yes, I can be a bit of a Chatty Cathy.

    OTOH, I have (mostly) no troubles running by myself, either.

    I guess it's good I swing both ways!

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  3. Yep, sounds familiar! The exception I can point out is that a running buddy can be your lookout if you do have to stop behind a bush! I've had that happen , and my friend just got used to that being her job. :-)

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Well, there is that! And runners do understand that need to stop!

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  4. I think it's great that running alone is your time! Being a stay at home mom I really like the social aspect of running and tend not to push myself enough on my own. Have a great Wednesday

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    1. I think I push harder on my own, because when I'm in a group, I'm afraid of pushing the others!

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  5. This is my fourth year running, and I don't think that, other than a handful of 5K races, I have run with anyone else more than a half dozen times. I sometiems wish that there was someone in my neighborhood who runs at about my pace and style, with about my level of experience (age is a non-factor), but decided recently that I'm probably better off alone, for many of the reasons you state. All of them, actually.

    At times I feel that having a partner would be beneficial for good companionship and encouragement, someone to commiserate and celebrate with, someone to help push me when I really need it and for me to do the same for her, but that seems unlikely. Ideally, it would be a once-a-week occurrence, with the other two weekly runs done solo, but I am content with the way it is now.

    I know that a pacer would help. In my last 5K race when I was still gunning for a sub-thirty minute event, though I did not reach that particular goal on that day (I did a month later!), my dear friend Sharon pushing me ("You've got this, Connie! Pick up those long legs and RUN!" I can still hear her and it's still my all-time favorite running memory), I ran my best mile ever, 9:06 minutes.

    Like chocolaterunsjudy, I am a bit of a loner, yet my dear friends mean everything. And I am, or at least think I am, independent.

    If it sounds as though I'm thinking out loud, I am.
    Another great discussion.
    Thanks.

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    1. I ran with my sister last year on our trip to Charleston, and I was really pushing her, even though I was holding back. That's so hard for me!

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  6. When I choose to run I like to run alone too... As a novice runner I always feel like I would hold more experienced runners back and I also like to listen to music and focus on me.

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  7. I can relate to all of your reasons. When I started I ran with someone, she was faster and I always felt like I slowed her up. I then started training for my 1st half and did all of that on my own and loved it. We would occasionally meet up and run our own pace which I really really liked. I had her there to be accountable and to make sure we both got back in the car safely but she ran her pace, I ran mine. All in all I do like running alone mostly. No waiting on anyone, I can change up my route in a split second without having to ask or tell anyone and I can go longer or shorter. :)

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    1. I like the idea of meeting someone but running my own pace. Like you said, it keeps you accountable but you get to do your thing.

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  8. I usually run by myself, say 98% of the time. I never run with headphones except on the TM. One of the reasons I don't run with them is (ironically) that I can't monitor the subtle changes in my breathing. Anyway, since I don't run with music, I don't miss the musical motivation when I have to chat with someone. In group runs sometimes I'm "forced" to run faster to keep up, and sometimes way slower. If I run with a faster group, it never seems too difficult as we are chatting and laughing most of the way. The slower group runs make me take a step back and really run a slow recovery pace which helps me have fresher legs for my runs the next day. I do like running by myself as I can use that time to mentally unwind. Just the other day, I came up with a solution to a problem that had been weighing on my mind. In our connected world, running solo is a rare chance to be alone with my thoughts and clear my head.

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    1. I do a lot of thinking on the run! I also come up with a lot of blog posts while I'm out there...

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  9. I have done almost every race alone and usually run alone, but for the next few months I have talked run buddy into 10K Friday, until my work hours go back to 5 days a week :) My bladder is weak so I do have to pit stop sometimes, last Friday run buddy couldn't believe I was going to duck behind a bush, but these humidity runs are tough enough, I am not going to hold it. She'll have to get used to it!

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    1. Well, that's all part of running with a partner!

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  10. I run mostly by myself ...it is easier to schedule & I don't have to worry about pace or distance. Sometimes it is fun to run with someone else.

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    1. I would agree with that...sometimes its good to mix it up.

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  11. Yep, I'm pretty solo on most of my runs, as well. For one thing, no one seems to want to meet me at 4:30 am (I have no idea why - ha!) and for another, I definitely like to stick to my own pace; I definitely enjoy running with other folks for long runs, when I'm not as concerned about keeping a particular pace and I'm going to be out there for awhile, but there are some days when I just would prefer to be alone. I totally get it!

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    1. Well, there's a lot to be said for that early morning wake up call!

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  12. I run solo most of the time. With my schedule and having no one else to take care of the kids, it's hard to get together with others for a run anyway.

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    1. I think that's how I started running alone...it was hard to coordinate with other runners when the boys were little. Now I'm just used to it!

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  13. I too enjoy running by myself, at least most of the time. Its my me time. If I run with anybody else, its with my husband, but that's been happening less and less lately, which I'm okay with, since he's turning some of his fitness focus to activities other than just running.

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    1. Sometimes it's nice just to have your own thing, isn't it?

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  14. I couldn't agree more with this post. I spent a month or so trying to convince myself that I wanted to run with someone else or with a the running groups but it just wasn't the same. And as you mentioned theres no polite way to blast music and zone out when running with someone else.

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  15. I prefer to run alone as well but if someone wants to join me, I don't mind. I just know that won't be one of my "training" runs.

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  16. 95% I run alone, but I am joining a running group that starts in August for training for the LA marathon, because I think that once I'm running over 12 miles, I'd really like to have some conversation on those longer runs.... I agree with everything you say... I want to be able to run my pace, I want to listen to music, I need time to sort out my life, etc... but I think it wouldn't be bad to have some company for really long runs (I've done this before initially when training for my first half)... and maybe just meet a few new running friends.

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    1. I think having company on the long runs would be good too! Especially if pace isn't as important (it's more about getting the miles in, for sure!).

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  17. This past 6 months of running solo made me appreciate it so much more. But I do admit its fun running a long run with a good friend to vent and help pass the time. My long run pace isn't fast enough to make it tough to talk, lol.

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  18. I like running alone and with a buddy. I have a friend that I meet up with about once a week. We used to do all of our long runs together, but now our runs are more of a long-ish social run and I really look forward to them each week. All of my other runs are alone. As for the ones we do together.... sometimes one of us will have a bad day and either the other one will slow down or will help the one having a hard day push through. It's give and take. Other days one of us (often me) will have GI issues. It is what it is, and most runners go through those types of problems at some point. I totally get why you run alone, but maybe y'all could try a run sometime just the two of you, on a day when she's not with the CARA folks? You never know :) I was super nervous about running with my running buddy three years ago, but it worked out... it can be kind of like dating. You could tell her you want to do it on a trial basis, and if one of you feels like it doesn't work out than that's alright.

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    1. I think it might be ok to do the long runs together.

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  19. I run most of my runs with two of my friends. We were thrilled the day we all started running together. It was great to find someone who was my pace. We have a definite understanding that if you feel good, go. We always want each other to do their best so we get that each day brings a different workout for each of us. Long runs we all stick together since we do them at our HR pace.

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    1. I love all your pictures of you and your running friends. I wish I had some local running friends, at least for the weekend long runs. But I do enjoy my solo runs...it would be nice to have both!

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  20. I used to always run alone, but then I found a friend who runs the same pace. I wouldn't want to do every run with someone else, but doing a long run with a friend really makes the miles fly by as we chat.

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  21. I do 95% of my runs alone. Treadmill or trail or road. I have a very specific workout schedule and it is too hard to try to coordinate my schedule with people who may or may not be doing the same workout/pace as me. And I like the thinking time. Bike rides, however - I really enjoy riding in a group. Safety (visibility) in numbers and I push myself harder when trying to keep up with the boys!

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    1. I rode today, and I needed the solo time. But I think a group ride would be safer, for sure!

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  22. The races I've walked I've not known anyone else there so I'm always alone.

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    1. I used to run races alone. As I've met more runners, there's usually someone I know at the start or at the finish to help celebrate! But on the course, I"m by myself.

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  23. I'm a true solo runner, but lately I've been enjoying my group runs with my half marathon training group. It's helping me make more running friends and it definitely pushes me to be faster! I do have to say that I completely bombed my long run on Sunday (I had no idea I was coming down with a stomach bug at the time) and it was super embarrassing to be doing it with someone else there to see me have a meltdown. I think I'll stick to doing most of my runs alone and using group runs to push me to be a bit faster!

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    1. I smiled when I read this because I would have felt the same way!

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  24. I am 100% with you on this! I always feel bad running alone but I love it! I like my music, my pace, my route! I'm a little selfish but glad someone else out there is like me!

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    1. I don't think it's selfish--I don't want to hold anyone back either.

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  25. Yep, I am definitely a solo runner as well! I'll run with my husband when we are traveling, but that;'s about it. Even with him I feel bad when I want to slow down. I like to go at whatever pace is feeling right on that day. I do think it would be good for me to try some group runs, but I really like just being able to go out and run whenever I want, wherever I want.

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  26. Ha.. I'll be honest, I read until I came across the Bridesmaid gif of the bathroom scene. LOL I literally spit my coffee out on my desk. HA! My favorite scene...and worst running nightmare ;) haha

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  27. I run by myself because I crave the alone time to sort things out, but I never thought of the added benefit of no witnesses for GI issues. Poor you! I can see where that would be a definite perk of running alone.

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    1. As long as I make it to a portapotty, it would be all good.

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  28. Although I tried running with a group this past half marathon training, I really do prefer running solo. I'm totally with you on that!

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    1. I'm going to try to do some group or partner runs for my long runs this time around. We'll see...

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  29. When I used to run, I preferred to run alone as well. I didn't really count it as my alone time though. I just knew I'd hate having to run at someone else's pace (whether slower or faster) since I usually just liked to go with the flow.

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    1. I'd have to say that I run alone for both reasons!

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