Running may be an activity that delivers a variety of personal benefits, but that doesn't mean you have to participate on your own.
Certainly, you can hit the open road at your leisure and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet away from the madding world and the many demands of your daily life.
However, you could also choose to run with friends or join a local running club if you're looking for a way to turn your fitness routine into a social activity, killing two birds with one stone.
How can you determine whether solo or social running is right for you?
You'll have to consider several factors, including your goals, your personality, and why you enjoy running in the first place.
In the meantime, here are a few of the benefits you could gain from each type of running.
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There is a common misconception about solo runners that they are somewhat aloof. This couldn't be further from the truth. Often, solo runners tend to be a bit more driven and focused, and they like to have total control over their running routine. There's nothing wrong with this, and there are several benefits to be gained from exercising with numero uno.
As stated, solo runners retain all the decision-making power when it comes to their training regimen, including when, where, how far, and how fast to run.
Do you want to schedule your runs at the whim of others?
Do you want to succumb to urban jogging when your heart yearns for the beauty of a natural trail?
What if other runners are slower than you and you're forced to match their pace, preventing you from getting the most out of your exercise?
When you run on your own, you can get the workout you want every time. You can set your own pace, run sprints if you want, and generally ensure that the precious time you devote to exercise delivers optimal results.
There are other benefits, as well. If your life is stressful and obligations at work and at home are overwhelming, running provides an opportunity to clear the clutter in your head. Running with others could add to the mental clutter, especially if your friends are Chatty Cathys.
When you run solo, you'll get a little time to yourself, with no bosses asking for updates, no kids begging for toys, no phones vibrating every ten seconds, and no other runners talking your ear off. You can plug in your favorite playlist and Zen out with zero distractions.
Although running solo can infer many benefits, you also stand to get a lot out of running with a club or your closest mates.
For one thing, it's all too easy to get bored when you run on your own, day after day. Sure, varying up the terrain and your running routine can help, but having someone to talk to while your run could make the miles fly by faster.
You might also find that running solo leaves you with little competitive edge.
There's no better way to up your game than a little friendly competition. By pacing a runner that's faster, you can push yourself to do better and improve your performance along the way.
You can also learn a lot from your peers within the running community. It's not so easy to watch your form when you run solo, but other runners will be happy to point out issues with your gait that could help you to improve, and offer up tips and tricks from their own experience.
The good news is, you don't necessarily have to choose one or the other.
You can run solo on days when you feel like you just need to get away from it all and clear your head. At other times, you can run with a club or with friends to up your game and work in some social time.
One of the best things about running as a sport is that it's so flexible. If you join a team, you'll always work out with teammates, whereas opting for a sport like swimming is distinctly solitary - once you're in the water, there's not a lot of chitchat going on.
With running, you can have your cake and eat it, too.
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