Do you run alone? You’re in good company. And if you prefer things that way, you’ve probably already discovered lots about yourself that you never knew before, including the realization that solo runs are your prescription for sweeping the day's cobwebs from your brain!
You’ll be happy to learn that there’s nothing about running with others that can’t also be experienced when you're on your own. In fact, running alone changes people — in most cases, for the better. Not convinced? You will be when you finish reading this list.
Run alone and decrease your risk of injury.
No mystery here: if you’re focused on your run and not distracted by a buddy sharing a juicy bit of gossip, you are more likely to be on the lookout for the sorts of natural (and man-made) barriers that lead to trip-and-fall accidents. Besides, you get to undertake your run on your time schedule, not theirs.
Run alone and stick to your routine.
Take the amount of time you require to warm up, run and cool down at your own pace, not the one set by the people with whom you run.
Cementing your routine and fine-tuning it to fit your personal needs, training plan and stamina results in routine solidification that is especially important to runners who have very little personal time to spare.
Run alone and you’ll gain confidence.
If there’s nobody around to notice your mistakes, be a witness when you hold back or make judgements about your time or distance, you get to make “course corrections” that improve everything about your run.
Building confidence by running alone takes a little time but it’s worth your effort.
Run alone and develop tactics to deal with training highs and lows.
Your mental state is enhanced and coordination between head and body are synchronized when there’s nobody around to tell you to “buck up” if pain brought on by daunting races assails you.
You wind up being your own cheerleader when it’s only you on that trail.
Run alone and you can’t help but relax.
The pressure’s off and you don’t have to be anything but yourself.
There’s a lot to be said about clearing the mind that has nothing to do with far Eastern meditation practices, yet that’s exactly what you achieve as your body sets its own pace - on autopilot - while your brain gives you permission to calm down, let go and be at peace, no matter how chaotic the rest of the world may be.
Run alone and kick start creative thoughts.
Whether you’ve pushed yourself into a burst of endorphins or you simply feel exhilarated by the quiet calm surrounding you, it’s possible to see clearly what you can’t see when a cacophony of clutter and noise assaults your senses.
Start a business. Design something. Figure out how to surprise someone in a most creative way. How is it that this rush of ingenuity can flood your head? Freedom to think with enthusiasm and abandon so nothing seems impossible.
Run alone — truly alone — and escape technology.
Even if you suffer from today’s craziest social disease, FOMO (fear of missing out), you are given the choice to turn off your electronic devices, let your e-mail messages languish and ignore ringing phones, beeps and signals that plague your days and nights.
Is it easy to remove yourself from this loop of vigilance? Not at first. But it gets easier if you permit yourself to disconnect.
Run alone and forget about competing with anyone but yourself.
There’s plenty to be said about running with partners or a group, but human beings are wired to compete, even if that trait is buried so deeply, you can't find it.
With competition comes stress — a good kind of stress when you're competing in a marathon where every fibre shouts, Win! But when you run alone, there’s no one to beat, to better or to lag behind, and this feeling alone has the capacity to change the way you train.
Run alone and test your resilience.
Are you worried that if you run alone you’ll miss the kind, encouraging words usually supplied by your running buddies? Don’t be. Solitary running can help you build resilience, teach you to motivate yourself and do so as a result of solving problems on your own, turning challenges into opportunities.
Resiliency has many faces that include limit testing that has been known to push an average competitor into a proud one — even when there’s not a soul around to affirm it.
Run alone and expand your universe.
Are you sick of listening to friends and colleagues rave about the hot new group climbing the music charts, the book that just made the best-seller list or the latest news? Fret no more. You can use your solo running time to catch up on audio books, your favourite singer or late breaking news so you’re as well-informed as anyone, on or off the trail.
Enriching your mind keeps your brain from ageing, so next time someone asks why you’re running alone, tell them you’ve discovered the fountain of youth and leave them wondering what the heck you mean!
What's your best-kept secret for great solo runs? We promise not to share if you ask us not to do so!