Long-distance running – with people, among people, or the heck away from everyone else?

There are people who like to run with other people and other people who want to run alone. This is a preference and it’s as strong as the individual and their circumstances. For many people, this preference is not an either/or scenario because humans are annoyingly complex and labels don’t always last very long.

Take me, for example. I am comfortable either running solo or at least ostensibly with a group. There are times that I enjoy chatting with another runner (provided I’m not gasping for air due to the pace). But, honestly, there are plenty of other times when I’d rather be listening to a podcast or some music while I pound the pavement.

I did a quick poll on Twitter, asking some fellow runners about their preferences for running with other people. This poll probably has the scientific validity of, say, many political opinion polls in terms of predicting what people will actually do, but it does spur some thought.

The people who responded generally seemed to be split on their responses, though more people seemed to be running solo than not. People who would run with other people liked the company but also the encouragement and accountability that comes with running with other people. Other people tended to run solo due to their schedules, their particular needs and their preference.

Two respondents gave a similar response which really caught my attention, something I could agree with. Both respondents, who happened to be mothers, cited running time as “me” time. This could be interpreted in different ways: time to be away from all other people; time to get some temporary distance or respite from duties and responsibilities; time to do something ostensibly selfish (but in reality healthy and wise).

I like running solo because it creates an environment that I can largely control, especially my contact with other people. As an introvert, alone time is precious and often necessary. That combination of solitude, time to think, time to enjoy a podcast or music, and time spent challenging my physical limitations and gradually reducing them… well, what’s not to like?

I have a feeling that I’m going to prefer running solo as I get closer to marathon distances in my training program. In my limited experience, when I get near the edges of my endurance and energy I stop doing non-essential things and that includes talking. My energy and concentration goes into keeping moving. But other people may look at this differently.

How about you? Do you prefer running with other people or without, perhaps even running away from other people?

About markdykeman

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6 Responses to Long-distance running – with people, among people, or the heck away from everyone else?

  1. I prefer to run solo, especially when training for races since I get to run on my time. Plus I am not the fastest runner and feel like running groups will out me lol. However, I do enjoy racing with others and love the commendatory between runners at events.

    Liked by 1 person

    • markdykeman says:

      Hi Lauren, thanks for your comment, the first on this new blog! I’d say that the desire to control your schedule and situation is one of the big reasons for running solo. I really appreciate that in many aspects of life, not just running. Over time, as I meet more runners, I think I will be enjoying the comradery as well. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. comradery* sorry for the typo!


  3. Natalie says:

    I’m a mother and an introvert and I see myself in this so much. Running is my alone time, time where I don’t have 2 little humans relying on me. I think as the marathon training distances get longer, I won’t mind running with a group. We will know each other enough by then to know who is “in the zone” and not really up for small chit chat. I’ll also be bringing my music too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • markdykeman says:

      Good for you, Natalie! I’m also an introvert and a parent, so I think I understand what you are saying. Thanks for checking out the blog.


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