I’m often asked a lot of questions about my running habits.
These questions come from casual acquaintances, students, strangers at social gatherings, colleagues, my kids, and just about anyone making idle chit chat. How often, how far, what’s my pace, why run, how many races, best time, and marathon versus half (I’ve done neither) are the usual questions.
Recently, I was asked why I prefer to run alone.
I know many thousands of people prefer to run with a good friend or training partner. Someone to share the experience and their life with whilst conversing as the miles tick by. A training partner is great for motivation and encouragement. They can be that person to phone you up and simply say “Let’s go!”. Or they can be the coach right there with you as you push each other to crest that hill or dig deep to the finish or help each other to just keep stretching one foot out in front of the next.
A run pal can also allow you a captive sounding board to bounce ideas, secrets, and hopes off of. The act of talking and running forces you to curate your phrases to be as economical and concise as possible so as not to literally run out of breath. They can listen, advise, and talk through problems. A run friend is a committed friend who will see you through the thick and be there at 6am tomorrow to help you through the thin (and the 10k loop!).
Many other runners prefer the formal run club. I’ve never tried it. My guess is that it is an ideal place to meet like-minded, like-paced people who become your “team” instead of partner or coach. I like the idea of having a broad support system where many people are battling through similar run problems together. Everyone striving to reach their own personal goal, but also working to see the entire team reaches its collective goals.
But why do I never run with a group or even a run bud?
I run for purely selfish reasons.
I run specifically to be alone.
I like my company, and rarely do I get the chance to be in my own company unless I am out choosing my route and running my pace. My successes are mine, my failures too. The only witness I have is my GPS. I prefer to let my mind go and wander with my feet while I run. I’d rather converse with my conscience, mull over problems, and delve into ideation during this “me time” than talk about my day or someone else’s situation or gossip about this and that while I run.
Running without an audience makes the run, for me, more personal and thus more meaningful. I am happy, thank you very much, to be alone on the run. It is my selfish indulgence. I indulge in the lonely run.
No audience runs are #runhappiness.
And, yes, I know it sounds pathetic.