Thursday, April 14, 2016

In Defense of Running Alone

Alone? Yes. As in by yourself? Yes. Like, without anyone else? Yes. Not even a group? Right.

This is an older pic, my arms are way more awesome now

 I like running alone. It's how I've done it for most of the time I've been running. Now that I do run with groups regularly and I like it for it's own reasons, it's very different from running alone. On long runs, when I'm with a larger group, I still end up running alone but with the security in knowing that there are others nearby. Actually, on short runs lately I've ended up alone, mainly due to the fact that I'm heart rate training after recovering from being sick, which means I'm super slow.

Anyway, when I talk to other women runners about running alone most of them just don't get it. They want to be with others, they want to chat to pass the time on a long run. Some of them don't want to be alone because they fear for their safety. I think I was made differently from those women.

I've had several instances when a woman I know has casually mentioned running together, "we should run together some time." Being the polite, afraid of saying no person that I am, I say "yeah, that would be, urm, great," and avoid making any definite plan. Or I'll invite them to join the group I go with, that way they'll have someone else to talk to when they realize that I'm 1. Slow 2. Not so chatty 3. Way too chatty/annoying. And I like our groups to grow and help each other progress toward our goals.

It's not that I don't like you, it's just that I like being alone for 75% of my runs. Join me for those other 25!

This post is for those that don't get it and for those that can't seem to explain it to others.

Why do I like running alone? Well, I'm with small children most of the day, running gives me time to relieve stress, unwind, decompress, free my mind, have some quiet, so many things. I don't have to answer questions, I don't have to even think about kids. I often run first thing in the morning and it lets my day start off positively, it makes me feel more capable of dealing with whatever my kids (sometimes literally) throw at me. Other times, I run in the evening, as soon as my husband gets home from work. Often times, those days have been extra stressful (perhaps because I didn't get in a run in that morning) and I need to get away from the children before I lose it.
RoadID helps me feel safe

Running lets me think about nothing else but running. I can't do that when I run with other women. They talk, they chat, they even talk about *gasp* kids. That's all fine and well, but sometimes I just need nothing. I need quiet, I need alone. Can you tell I'm an introvert? Introverts need alone-time to recharge and running alone lets me do that.

I also like to listen to things. I like to listen to music and to podcasts. Sure, I can listen to music around my kids, but I can't give it the focus I'd like to. Years ago, I used to spend hours just sitting and listening to music, nothing else, just listening (and no, I never did drugs). There's no way to listen to podcasts with little kids around, can you imagine? Check out my favorite podcasts and playlists here.

Some people run with groups for safety. They are concerned for my safety when they learn I run along, especially that I run alone when it's dark. I'm not scared. I really don't worry about this. I run in pretty safe neighborhoods and I don't announce on social media the where, when, and if I'm going to be alone. I vary my routes, no one can stalk me and know I'm going to be at a certain place at a particular time. The only runs that are the same are the ones with groups. I run near other people, a lot of my runs are alone but in locations where there are plenty of other runners, walkers, or riders. I carry a light if it's dark and I always wear my RoadID. Maybe that's not enough for a lot of women to feel safe, but I just don't worry about it. I guess I can't explain why, but it's not that big of a concern to me, what's the likelihood of something happening? Maybe that sounds careless, I don't know. The only time I've feared at all for my safety (other than from animals) was when these two large, 20ish guys were doing this run/walk thing near me late at night. One of them would come up behind me unannounced and it unnerved me. What did I do? I yelled at him. I told him he needed to say something when he came up behind someone. He apologized and all was well. Of course there's also mace and tasers for those who need that sense of security. Some people walk with sticks, I joke with them not to hit me.

Do you run alone? Why or why not? Do you ever fear for your safety on a run?


  1. Nice post, I always prefer running alone. Then, yuo are at the pace you want to run. I hate not knowing if I am going too fast/slow for others. Plus, I can be in my head all by myself.


    1. Yes, pace is another great reason to run alone!

  2. 100% agree. I run alone for nearly all of my runs. I love that time as my alone time. I love listening to podcasts or getting lost in my own thoughts. I like going when I want and not worrying about anyone elses schedule. I like running the route I want to.

  3. I prefer running alone as well. I like that quite, I like my music, I like the me time when I can only focus on myself and be a bit selfish at least once a day. Thanks for sharing and getting it. About the only time I run in a group is when I run in a race. :)

    1. Thanks for the comment, it's good to know there are others to be "together" with in running alone.

  4. Definitely both. I like to do easy general runs solo or with a group, just depends on the day. But I pretty much always do my key workouts solo, as I'm the only one doing those paces and specific workouts!
    Kyle @ SKORA Running

    1. That definitely makes sense, I didn't even think to talk about pace much in my post.
      I do like doing track workouts with a small group though, and as long as the group is small we can do our own thing without getting in each others' way.


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