Whether you’re heading out on a run for the exercise, to free the mind, mid-week training or just for a bit a fresh air, an outlying question remains to who you’re running with; a friend or friends, a group or is it just you and the open trail? And pending on the week, the urge to run alone may be far grander on a Wednesday than over the weekend and running with a group could lead to post-run gatherings at the brewery. Everyone can speak to the acceptance of an adventure partner differently and even if you prefer to run on your own with your own thoughts (or Siri’s), there is a time and place for everything and that includes the potential footsteps of others.
The Lone Wolf
Running, biking, and/or simple exploration will help to ease the mind and commonly we find ourselves on the trail to free ourselves of stress, anxiety, and confusion. And often putting rubber to the pavement (or dirt) is the answer to all the world’s problems. At a moment’s notice the urge to frolic can rise from out of nowhere and you simply don’t have the time to wait on friends that may or may not want to lace ‘em up. Running unaccompanied also offers up the opportunity to detail out the perfect training segment. Because you’re by your lonesome, there won’t be anyone else to slow you down, speed you up or force you to take a left when you’re veering right. It’s you and the trail, you and the road, you against you and maybe that app on your wrist.
Finding the Lewis to your Clark is like swiping on Tinder these days. You hear some things, you see some things, but you truly don’t know what’s coming until the shoes are tied. And then there is a difference between going for a hike with your drinking buddies versus a casual run with your training partner, but both serve their respective purposes. Getting outside with your best bud is a great way to catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives, rag on the bs of work, or count the steps till happy hour because communication in stride is not something you excel at. It’s also pretty fun to push the pace a little because if he or she is your friend, there needs to be a winner... even if it’s just by a few steps. And then there is hitting the trail with your glorified teammate. They are there to keep you going, to keep you on track and maybe push you a little further while getting you ready for the unknown. And keep in mind, running with a friend/friends will always be safer - strength in numbers from city streets to mountain peaks.
With the Squad
A weekly group run, a reason to get outside and meet some new outdoor enthused friends or maybe it’s just a way to hold yourself accountable… amongst the flock. The group proponent offers up all the attributes of a tandem run and can prove to be so much more with the comradery of a community of like-minded individuals. There is bound to be someone amongst the gathering that you can go stride for stride with or if you’re just looking for conversation with post-run coffee or beer, the group run provides. Participants will range from elite superstars, some just trying to justify the forthcoming brunch, newcomers to town looking for friends, and even those that have scheduled it into the weekly routine. The group gathering can be everything you need and want it to be or as a little pre or post-adventure high five. In theory, everyone is in attendance for the same reasons and most commonly to get outside and break a sweat.
So on any given day of the week, are you running on your own, in tandem or with the Facebook group you happen to stumble across? Really, there is no one answer to what is best for you versus the next step counter. You will find where you’re happiest, where and with who you need to be in stride with, and what kind of companionship is best suited for the results you hope to find. Just get outside and push your body a little further than it wants to go because when it’s all said and done, the couch will be that much more comfortable.