Since I began running about 3 years ago I’ve primarily been a solo runner. Not so much by choice, but because I didn’t really have any friends near me in New York that ran!
I had tried to look into local run clubs or organized groups runs, but I never found anything closer than about 30 minutes away, and I just could never rationalize driving 30 minutes to go for a short run!
I remember training for my first marathon and struggling through those long 18 and 20 mile runs just thinking how brutal and boring they were!
This marathon training cycle I’ve been fortunate to do my 2 longest runs so far with company – and boy does it make a difference!
A few weeks ago my friend Pat came down from Boston so we could do our long run together (and he got suckered into helping us move some furniture!). Pat had 20 miles on his training plan that weekend since he’ll be running the Berlin Marathon this weekend and I had 16.
We stayed together for the first 10 miles and then Pat sped up a bit to do his second half at his marathon pace and I finished up my last 6 miles.
The first 10 miles of that run went great, but after Pat and I split up, I have to admit it all went down hill.
The arch of my foot was hurting and I was getting some new and mysterious sharp pains in my right knee to the point that by mile 12 I had to stop and walk. The next few miles were an ugly combination of running, walking and stopping to stretch.
I was immediately disheartened and worried about my upcoming marathon, but I tried to remind myself that I had literally just moved the day before and that the past week had been extremely busy and stressful.
I was definitely worried about the 18 miles I had planned for last weekend, so I was excited when I mentioned my long run at run club last week and both Allison and Stacey offered to meet me for part of it!
They both had 9 miles on their training plans, so I decided I’d start off with 6 miles by myself, have them join me for the next 9, and then have Jason join me for the last 3! (I strategically planned for Jason to be with me at the end in case my run took a turn for the worse and I was a whiney mess!)
Well, everything went according to plan. I enjoyed a solo 6 miles in the cool morning air, just taking it all in (and thinking about how I actually live on Cape Cod!)…
…Stacey and Allison joined me for the next 9 miles, which honestly FLEW by!
Not only were they great company, but they were great about helping to make sure we were sticking to the pace I had been hoping for on this run. We couldn’t stop saying how excited we all were to have each other to run with! (Allison just moved up to the Cape from New York also, but we didn’t know each other until we got here!).
15 miles into my run we made it back to the bike path parking lot and Allison and Stacey handed me off to Jason for my last 3 miles!
Of course Jason was starting on fresh legs and I was already 15 miles in, so he was picking up the pace a little more than I had been running, but surprisingly I was able to keep up with him pretty well!
We made it to our turn around and before I knew it my dreaded 18 mile run was complete!
Honestly, this run went soooo much better than I had anticipated that I actually checked my Garmin several times to make sure I had really run 18 miles!
It’s funny how recently I’ve gone from being a completely solo runner to doing almost all of my runs either with our Tuesday night run club, with friends or with Jason! I’m definitely loving the company and the motivation to push a little harder on my runs!
Do you prefer running solo or with friends?
Do you run with a group or run club – if not, would you want to?