9 Great Benefits Of Running In Groups – Running In A Group vs Solo Running

by | 27 Feb 2021 | Outdoor running, Running motivation

People run solo, people run in groups. Some train in groups but race solo. Or train in groups and race in relays. Or……nevermind, you get the point.

I run solo but I have run with friends. When I’m out there I will see lone runners but I’ll also cross paths with a couple of people running together or see running club members training in the field.

Running is great, solo or in groups. Some runners get more out of it if you leave them alone, running with their thoughts. Others prefer the comfort of like-minded runners who may be just a few friends or a larger group at your local running club.

What are the benefits of running in groups? I can’t say it’s better or worse than solo running, it’s just different. Why do some people prefer the choice of running in groups? Do they know something that lone runners don’t?

You’ll train more regularly – a great benefit of running in groups

How many times as a solo runner did you look out of the window, rain dancing on the window pane, and thought, ‘meh, I’m not doin’ it’.

If you run as part of a group of friends it is always likely that a natural leader will simply call you and say, ‘I’m pickin’ you up in 15, wait downstairs’. You don’t say ‘no’ to that.

With running clubs it’s even simpler. ‘Saturday. 9am start’. You may feel you are under pressure but your body will enjoy it. You will get fit and maintain fitness. And those factors, together with having fun, are the whole trademark points of the running game.

Getting hints & tips from others in your running group

This can be a massive time saver.

All those hours spent on the internet searching for the right shoes, finding answers in regards to all your running clothes questions, agonising decisions about sports drinks, let alone training plans – all can potentially be answered there and then. When running in a group somebody may also recognise that something’s not right with your gait, give you good advice regarding your shoes or correct your running form.

local park ideal for new runners
Runners like to share their opinions and offer advice based on their experiences. And if your club has a good running coach as well, that really can be priceless.

Put simply, running in a group, especially with more experienced runners, provides an opportunity to lear a lot about running in a short period of time.

Motivation

We are all super motivated runners in the beginning, sparks are flying, the shoes still smell like a shoe factory. Then after a few weeks when we still haven’t run faster than lightning and the stubborn wheel around the waste is still circling like the Saturn wings, that’s when motivation can falter.

But instead of sulking at home help is often at hand from your supportive running buddies who will give you their support when it’s needed the most.

Group running will bring the sense of accountability and togetherness, both motivating factors. You will all cheer each other during races or harder, longer runs. That will also motivate you to stick with your training and continue running with more confidence and determination.

In other words, if you are struggling with motivation to keep running, consider running in a group! Joining a group or running with a friend may help you stay committed.

You’ll try new things

Solo runners enjoy their freedom. When running alone we can decide what we like to do and how to do it, all based on how much we enjoy it. Many runners stick to their routines, have fun with them and don’t look further.

But that’s how we can miss out on some other stuff that is also part of the running process.

Hyde Park in London is a great place to run

Have you ever tried Fartlek (‘speed play’ in Sweedish)?

No? There you go.

Imagine five of your care-free running friends out in the fields. The agreement is that each one will take turns and decide on the tempo for a short period of time. Your faster friend is likely to give you a good run for your money but when your turn comes you can do your own thing and take revenge (in a good way, of course).

Fartlek, unlike interval and tempo runs, is quite loose and unstructured and alternates between moderate to hard running with easy efforts thrown in throughout. You can run fartlek on your own but it’s much more fun when running with friends.

That’s just one idea, runners are likely to come up with more of the new and fun stuff.

Emotional support

Physical exercise is very beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing. But many who feel lonely will be unlikely to take up running in the park where they might feel they could be even more isolated or judged.

Running in groups can help reduce anxiety and potential distress through continuous support and encouragement. Like minded people can help you relax, open up and enjoy yourself more.

And if you are running in such an environment, the people who run alongside you can offer great emotional support making your running a valued and cherished part of your life.

You’ll discover new routes

People like to share ideas. Even if your running group friends all live in the same neighbourhood you are all likely to come up with different running routes suggestions.

Sometimes you think you know the area and all of sudden a friend offers the route that will boost and spice up your running.

I love running in London thanks to fantastic parks and sights
A single new route or a tweak to an existing one can keep your running mind fresh for weeks. As a group you may decide to travel to different spots and explore them when running. Solo runners like myself also tend to drive to different locations away from home to explore and experience different running scenery.

Both options are fun but running away from home in a group can be and may feel……

…..feel safer while running!

Sometimes we may feel unsafe in an unfamiliar area or a trail which suddenly becomes alien and remote. Solo running has its rules and we need to be mindful of our safety, especially when running away from familiar home area surroundings or in the dark.

Here’s where group running makes a difference. Even for people who like to run alone, the safety aspect IS one of the main advantages and benefits of running in groups.

A group of friends will provide physical as well as psychological shelter. And in an unlikely event of tripping and falling, or twisting your ankle in the middle of a trail, being alone could be way less fun.

Making new friends

When joining a running club you are likely to meet new friends, share new experiences, gain new knowledge and it will feel like a fresh start.

Clubs often change members, people come and go, and social interaction will always make your running experience more vibrant and interesting with your changing running network. And new people will bring new ideas and may refresh some old runs and running habits.

And after the run you will probably hang out and have common interest to discuss in full – your love for running.

Entering team events – easier if you are part of a running group!

Group running is just one application form away from racing events.

OK, your entire group is very unlikely to be granted places behind the start line at the coveted London Marathon but there are many races across literally most of the countries in the world where a bunch of friends can have a great day out.

London is full of fantastic running routes

Photo by Luchi Cheng on Unsplash

Cross-country is a firm favourite everywhere but there are also relay races (and relay night races) where you’ll be running laps, and point-to-point racing where each will cover a distance and the rest will jump in the car and wait at another spot. Friends can also join ultra races where you can run, walk, eat, rest, walk, then run some more (if you still can) for anything from 50km onwards.

There are options aplenty, imagination is yours, go for it!

Running is the most popular fitness activity. More people run now than ever before. The age of marathon runners have expanded, parkruns are hugely popular and it’s absolutely great to see so many people of different ages and abilities participating in this brilliant healthy pastime.

Whether we run solo or in various groups, on sandy beaches, in town parks or country forests, inside at home or in the gym, it all counts, it is all equally valuable and precious.

The idea is to do it as often as we can, wherever we can, alone or with whoever we can.

Happy running!

Cover image by Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

Do you prefer running with a someone else, a friend or a group of runners? Any particular reason? 👇

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I hope that sharing my story, and what I have learned along this journey, will inspire you to get started and to keep going. To keep striving and being the best you can be. In running and in life.

Be.Your.Best.

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