It feels like at least once a week, someone on social media comments about how the beauty of running is meeting people and running with others. For me, these comments always make me take a deep breath, and step away from my phone. There’s a lot wrapped up in how and why people run, and running with others isn’t always the reason.
One of the things I love about running is that it’s accessible, and I can easily fit it into my life, whenever, and wherever that may be. This means that more often than not, I’m running alone, and almost always (this time of year) before the sun rises, or after the sun sets. The life I’ve chosen doesn’t give me the luxury of setting run dates or meeting run groups that meet to run at 6 am or 6 pm. Would I sometimes like to join NRC’s Friday morning Brew Crew (even if the name reminds me of one of my most hated baseball teams)? Yes. Because I love coffee, and I love Bongo East coffee even more, but 6 am runs don’t work well for 8 am meetings.
Solo running for me is more than it not fitting into my work life. I am an extroverted introvert, which means I like being around people, up to a point, but if I don’t get time away from other humans to recharge my batteries, I will shut down. Running is one of my favorite ways to recharge. Time with my breath, pushing my body, feeling every step, and relishing the time of day when most of the world is still asleep. Am I less of a runner because I enjoy this time alone? I don’t think so. I still love cheering my friends on in races in person or virtually from afar. I love my weekends with my Oiselle Teammates, and random texts, or DMs about how training is going, or our favorite post-run bath food, because you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a meal in a bowl while sitting in an Epsom bath. But getting out of the house, or up at an obscenely early time to get in a run on a hotel treadmill before leaving on an early flight, that’s what matters. It doesn’t matter if I’m running with people or not. It matters that I run.
So if you’re a solo runner, run proud. You’re no less of a runner if you can’t or aren’t interested in running with a group, or even a running partner. Be safe, but run however you want to or can. Just run!
Are you a solo or group runner?
AM or PM runner?
Favorite race to cheer at?