Running solo or with a group?

Forrest

I discovered that I love running about 7-8 years ago when I moved to a new apartment near a lake. This place is so beautiful and quiet with lots of biking and running trails.

I went walking and biking a lot at first but I saw so many joggers that I finally took up the courage and decided to try it out. I never was so good at running, I got tired too fast and I thought that it’s just not for me.

Nevertheless I kept going running and after the first few runs which pretty much felt like torture for me I slowly improved my endurance with each run and I slowly started liking it.

I went running for several years alone because I had my own pace and did a training plan with Endomondo customized for my fitness level which involved a lot of walking breaks at first.

The first time I went running with a group was last year when I did a class with a professional trainer. It was a group mixed with beginner, intermediate and advanced runners so I sort of expected that it will be too hard for me to keep up. We did lots of exercises to improve our form and the group split up when we were running, the advanced were way ahead of the intermediate and beginners.

I signed up for the running class this year too but this time the beginners and advanced were split in two separate groups so that the trainer can adjust the pace based on the needs of each group correspondingly.

Even though I am running since a few years now (but still with walking breaks) I chose the beginner group with the possibility to switch to the advanced group. My initial choice was actually good because I ended up staying in the beginner group.

I expected that we will mostly walk and run only a bit at first but this group is more at an intermediate level and we are actually doing more running than walking with a few exercises and stretching in between. The trainer runs with each of us separately, discussing our running technique, our form and giving us suggestions.

The trainer leaves us to define the pace for the entire group and our speed really depends on who is running in the front. Sometimes we are too fast for my own personal liking and I have to switch to walking when I feel like I can’t anymore but the trainer keeps an eye on all of us and slows down the fast runners when he notices that one of us can’t keep up. Other times he really pushes me to my limit though and doesn’t let me walk but encourages me to keep running. This is what I really like: the trainer keeps us in a group no matter what. Never leave a man behind! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But I am always being careful and slow down or walk when I feel that I need a break. This is not the right place or time to be too proud to admit that I can’t handle the high speed.

What I notice in my group is that nobody wants to be the one to slow down the others, so we just try to keep the pace even if it’s close to or even above our maximum limit. This is really important to consider though, because a group that is too fast and way above one’s limit is not good for the health and can lead to injuries or something even worst.

Another important aspect to consider is wearing a heart rate monitor. The trainer always asks our heart rate and adjusts the pace of the group accordingly.

I absolutely love both running alone and in a group but it really depends on my state of mind.

Running alone gives me the opportunity to clear my head, listen to good music and admire the scenery. But on the negative side, I feel like I am not pushing myself far enough, my pace is usually slower and I probably take too many walk breaks.

Running in a group has the advantage that I can connect with the people in my group, we chat, we laugh and we push each other. It’s always a challenge, especially if there are faster runners in the group.

Do you prefer running alone or with a group?

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