What’s Best: Running Solo Or With A Buddy?

Delving into the pros and cons of running with others

It’s always fun to run with a mate. You chat, you laugh, you catch up with each other’s lives and vent your innermost thoughts.

But then again, it’s always lovely to run by yourself. Peace and quiet, nothing to hear except the thud of your trainers and the in/out of your breath.

Is running meditative or sociable? Me time or “oh it’s you!” time?

Let’s sort through the pros and cons of running alone vs running with a training partner.

The case for: running alone

Running by yourself is the simplest way to tap into the freedom of running. Whenever you’re ready, lace up your trainers and go. No need to wait for someone, discuss routes, or stick to a plan.

Running by yourself means you can be totally selfish – in a way we all need to embrace sometimes! You can stick to your training plan, run at your own pace, or alter your run to cater for an unexpected change in mood.

And then there’s the mental wellness side of things. Running alone can be the most indulgent way to enjoy the silence and solitude of a run. Headphones or not? Up to you. Stop to admire the view? Go for it. The memories are yours and yours alone.

The case for: running buddies

Arranging to run with a friend or running group is the ultimate in accountability. If you know your motivation is low, or you’re likely to feel too tired to run, your buddy will get you out the door.

And it feels safer, too. Running with others can give you the confidence to go out early in the morning or in the evenings, knowing there’s a strength in numbers. Should anything happen to you, your running buddy will be able to call for help or assist you back onto your feet.

If you want to push your running to the next level, choose a running partner who is slightly faster or stronger than you. They will naturally pull you along to their level – and you’ll work harder on tough sessions like hills and sprints with someone by your side.

The downside of running alone

People who run alone find it harder to push the pace and challenge themselves to harder training sessions. It’s much easier to fall into a one-pace plateau when you’re a solo runner. And if you always run by yourself, you may struggle to adapt to the dynamic of a race. The crowds, the noise of other runners, the subtle art of pacing yourself.

When to turn down the offer of a running partner

Despite lots of reasons to enjoy running with other people, there are times when it’s best to go it alone. When you’re feeling tired and need a very gentle run, or when you just want to enjoy the solitude. Or if you’ve had an overwhelming week and need half an hour to yourself.

Do you prefer to run alone or with a running buddy?

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