A Little Help From My Friends

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.

Moving Pat

Pat & I after our run!

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!)…

Shining Sea Cranberry Bogs

Mist over the cranberry bogs at 6am!

…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!).

18 Miles with Stacey and Allison

Stacey, Allison & I (photo by Stacey Hedman)

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!

Bike Path River

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?

30 thoughts on “A Little Help From My Friends

  1. I love running with people! Definitely makes me push myself harder and the time flies by…but everyone I know who runs is too fast for me (AND leaves me for Cape Cod…just kidding!)

    I’m glad your 18 miler went great! Yay for running buddies and beautiful scenery! 🙂

    • Oh my goodness, why is everyone commenting that people run too fast for them?! Seriously, most people (not all…) don’t mind slowing down to run with a friend – Pat is A LOT faster than me, but slows down so we can run together all the time!

      • Wow, he must be ridiculously fast! I know people will slow down, my friend has done it for me for 2 races and Nicole has done it for me (and seems to be willing to do it again – Yay W&D and WDW Marathon!) but I still feel guilty. I mean, hell, even Doug barely wants to slow down for me, and he’s bound to me for life! lol

  2. That sounds like a great way to deal with long runs! Do you talk a lot when you’re running with others? I always wonder if other people like talking and running, or just running together. Your pictures are SO beautiful from this run!

    • It’s funny, when I used to only run solo I’d always thing, “Yikes, if I run with people I’ll have to talk…that sounds hard!” But now that I’ve gotten used to it, it’s really not that bad and it’s a good way to gauge your pace!

      And yes, we are very fortunate to have this GORGEOUS bike path right near us – it’s 10 miles so perfect for long marathon training runs!

  3. I’m a solo runner because in high school I never felt fast enough when my team went for a run. I was always frustrated at the end. If I could find a group who ran my pace and intervals, I think I’d enjoy it a lot.

    • It’s important to feel comfortable with the pace the group is running, but at the same time most people won’t mind slowing down to run with a friend (I think as adults we run more socially than the “team” environment of high school!).

  4. I definitely prefer running alone, mostly because I feel like I run way too slow for anyone else! Plus I like to do my own thing and often take walk breaks.

    However, when my husband and I trained for a marathon together, we found a few great loops that allowed us to pass each other over and over again, which I loved.

    • You and Josh didn’t even run together when you were training for the marathon?? Didn’t you run the race together though?

      I hear you on wanting to sort of be on your own schedule as far as walk breaks and stuff go though, I used to be much more concerned or hesitant to do long runs with people when I used walk breaks, but I’m attempting to train for this marathon without walk breaks so that helps.

    • Very true! I have a friend that got hurt running on a trail last year and fortunately she was with a group that was able to help her out of the woods and back to her car – very lucky she had people there!

  5. I’m training with a running group for the first time, and it makes all the difference in the world! Running with a group has allowed me to explore new routes, hear about different ways of doing things (nutrition, clothing, etc.), and make new friends. I’m asthmatic and have issues with one of my knees, so it makes me feel safer too. I don’t plan on training for marathons on my own again!

    • I agree, now that I’m getting used to running with others it’s really hard to think of doing those really long runs solo! And like you said, the safety issue is so important!

  6. Looks like a pretty place to run. And I love running with others. It makes the long runs go by sooooo much faster. And the short runs pace is so much faster. Win win. Going to a group run (with tacos) in the morning!

    • Oh my goodness, the path we do our long runs on is GORGEOUS, I just love running there!

      And I soooo wish I could get the tacos in your pictures after my runs! (Although tonight some of my running friends and I are going to this great little place on the water for fish tacos! : )

  7. I’m another one who is hesitant to run with others because I’m slow (but on the other hand, I agree with you that you’ll slow down to run with a friend as I have a friend who is just starting to run and I’ll slow down for her but its hard for me to believe that others will slow down for me – doesn’t make sense, I know!). But wow – how nice to have that bike path so close!!

    • See! I used to feel bad if a “faster” friend slowed down to run with me too, but now I totally realize sometimes slowing down is worth the company! I’d gladly slow down to run with a friend!

  8. only started running this year along with my wife. Finished my first 15k race this past Saturday; that was my first race experience as well as running with others. When my wife and I are home together and the kids are in School we run together; however we both work shift work so that doesn’t happen very often and makes it very difficult to commit to a group. I kinda like running by myself I set my own run/walk pace with my Garmin and don’t have to worry about anyone else and I can just de-stress. Who knows though I may want to run in groups later so I wont kill the idea completely but for now I am happy where I am 🙂

    • Congrats on your 15k!

      I used to have the same problem, because of my old job it was very hard to commit to meeting a group at all so I did most of my runs solo early morning. Now that I’m more comfortable with my running I find that especially on long runs I really do enjoy the company!

      Running by yourself is great though, it’s not often we have time to ourselves!

  9. Well done! I’m almost always a solo runner, mostly because I’m worried about me screwing up the other person’s run, or vice versa. At least if I’m by myself and a run goes slowly/badly, I only have myself to be mad at.

    That being said, I’m open to the idea of a running buddy, but like what used to be your situation, I don’t have a lot of running friends and very limited options for run clubs. Oh well!

  10. I run with a club, but usually end up by my self. It’s hard to find someone who runs at my pace, not that I’m fast.
    Having people around helps me keep up my pace. Having a club run is a committment to go run that I hate to break.
    Ice that foot!

    • Yes, I agree, knowing that Tuesday nights is run club keeps me accountable to actually run on Tuesday nights! And I notice I do those runs a little faster than I would on my own which is great!

  11. I love that photo of mist over the cranberry bogs! Beautiful!

    When I first started running I always ran with a buddy, and I’ve found that now I struggle more when I run solo… I take longer and more frequent walk breaks and I don’t push the pace as much. When I run with someone, I worry that I’m going to slow them down so that usually spurs me on! I also don’t usually run with music, but if I did maybe I’d do better solo. I’m also part of a run club, but I usually end up running alone when I’m running “with” them because I’m so much slower… so it feels a bit like it defeats the purpose sometimes!

    • Thanks – I really need to head out to that path with more than just an iPhone one day, there is so much gorgeous scenery!

      I actually prefer podcasts to music when I run, it seems to make the time go faster!

  12. I wish I had a running buddy! I’m still doing solo all the time, but I know some day it will change 🙂 I’ll enjoy the solitude now and then enjoy the company later when it happens! Yea my body gets out of what too after travel/big life changes….

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