When I started running it was on a treadmill at the gym I belonged to. I saw other people running around me and felt very out of place, but still did it and felt good. I hardly ever ran outside – it was always too hot or too cold, or at least that’s what I thought! Because of this, I was very comfortable running alone, even when I started running outside more often (and anymore exclusively). Alone gave me an escape to mentally let go of or ponder things going on, or just zone out from it all. It was therapeutic which I think we can all relate to.

After i started doing 5ks and my friend Carrie started running, we would go to races together but could never run together because we are a good two minutes per mile difference in pace. I trained for my first few half marathons alone, mapping out routes through the neighborhoods I lived in. I was fine with it, and had no idea what I was missing out on. Once every now and then Niki and I would get together for a run which was good because we are close in pace and she could push me a little bit. Our schedules made doing this often challenging so it was only a couple times here and there.

Then along came Team In Training, where every week I was getting together with other people training for the same races I was, and with all different paces. I started getting used to running with certain people and got used to The long runs where I could talk about my week and gossip or get advice about something. The therapeutic feeling I used to get running alone I now get when I go out with my various running buddies. And even better, if I don’t run with someone often, those long runs together becomes an awesome way to catch up on life. On those long runs with friends I’ve even gotten in the habit of not taking along earphones and am now seldom listening to tunes during my solo runs during the week.

Today I went for a short run with Casey. I’m so proud of her for giving running a shot earlier this year and discovering how enjoyable it is. We’ve been doing short runs every couple weeks and our schedules work that we are going to try to get together twice a week and on one of those days mix in some circuit training.

How often do you run with someone else or a group? How often do you run solo? What are your favorite things about each?