Solo Runs vs Group Runs, Which do you Prefer?

When I started running one of its appeals was the solitary nature.  Morning runs allowed me work PP (3)through issues and plan the day while bathed in golden light.  A good run often set the tone for the day.  I often use post-work runs to destress.  Knocking off a few miles after a rough day is cheaper than therapy.

I’ve tailored runs to my work schedule, a late-morning start time allowed me squeeze in five or six miles.  Finishing up early meant a twilight run and more than once I’ve headed out for a few miles in light-falling snow when a blizzard was in the forecast.

Upon joining a team most of my runs were still solo, or maybe with Esther.  I showed up for on race day, posted my times, scored a few team points when I could and went home.  That changed at last year’s Cherry Tree 10 Miler.

Showing up unprepared with pre-race butterflies swirling more than usual, I spotted another blue and silver singlet with a big Q on the back — just like mine.  It was Myrian.   Myrian and I knew each other on a quick hello and goodbye basis.  Since we both were equally unprepared we ran the rolling 10 mile course together dragging each other up Prospect Park’s hill three times.

Last season I decided to become a more social teammate, joining weekend long runs, track workouts and hill repeats.  Socialization took time — group running is about compromise.  What route, what pace, and what time are we starting?

kings park (2)

I quickly learned who was chatty — running 10K tempo runs while maintaining a non-stop dialogue.  I learned the teammates who ran a twenty miler barely uttering two words.   We also learned we were chasing Esther during recovery runs if she stopped at Starbucks for a Chai Tea Latte first.

While I still run solo, group runs have made me stronger.  It’s hard to bail on a run after you said you would be there or posted it on the team Facebook page.  It’s harder to sneak in a walk break or two if as part of a group.

This week served as reinforcement, with a calendar of races I met Reggie, another teammate at the track for a tempo run Wednesday night.  On a damp and ugly night, where I might have bailed for an evening of channel surfing we clicked off seven miles.  Turning laps in a rolling fog, and getting stronger as we went, we put up negative splits.  Yes I can get used to this team running.

got miles



  1. at this point I prefer solo runs…it is just what I am used to now on the flip side running with others help you improve I guess

    • I still love solo runs, I’ve dome some of my best thiking “on the run.”. However I’ve come to appreciate the camsraderie of gruop runs. Do what works best for you but being open to new methods have paid dividends both socially and as a runner.

  2. I agree, while I still enjoy a good solo run every now and then, I just recently started running in groups and I love it! The biggest thing would be the accountability of showing up and not skipping a run as well as being pushed while I’m running. I’ve been toying with the idea of actually joining a running club but I’m kinda nervous I’d be too slow….do you like yours?

    • I love my running club. It took three teams to find the correct fit but it was worth the wait. Our Group runs tend to fall into subgroups of runners that run fast moderate and slower. So members will also call one another on days and we don’t have training rent scheduled to run together. So I do recommend joining your team if you can find one that you connect with.

  3. i like a mix of both. I love belonging to a running group as it reminds me that running is bigger than myself and encourages me to get out even when the weather sucks, I’m tired, etc. However, I also like running on my own, as I know what training I want need and what I want to get out of each run. As a result, I usually run 3 times a week with a group and 2-3 times on my own.

    Often, I will meet up with my group for a Sunday long run and follow the route, but run the route on my own before meeting up with the group at the end to compare notes (and usually head out for breakfast!)

    I agree that finding the right fit with a group can be difficult. it took me 2 or 3 clinics before I found the right one and even then, it took several weeks before I felt like a was part of the ‘team.’

    Here are some more of my thoughts on running with a group:

    • Great post Yuri!!! Although I prefer group runs, you are not always going to be able to run as a group. Solo runs, especially in the morning are where I do my best thinking. Group runs with the right group require less effort.

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