Is it better to train alone or in a group? What are the advantages of having company while running compared to training alone? In this article we will compare the two different methods and try to find out when which type of training makes sense.
Exercising in a group is beneficial in many ways. Here are 6 reasons why you should find a group of friends to go running with.
The advantages of running in a group
Many runners find it more fun to run in a group instead of alone. You share the common joy of running with other people, have the opportunity to have a conversation, set common goals if necessary, and celebrate together accordingly if they have been achieved. When we run in a group, we are also a bit more distracted, which means we focus less on our legs and therefore notice less fatigue.
Running with friends can awaken your ambition. In general, this is not a bad thing, because it tends to make you always give your all and push your limits to keep up with others. However, make sure to properly classify the athletic level of the running group: It is best if the group is as homogeneous as possible in terms of performance level. Otherwise, you risk injuring yourself by overexerting the body. The point is to reach goals and sweat together, not to compete against each other.
Running in a group increases motivation. When we have a commitment to fulfill with other people, we are less likely to skip a training session just because we don’t feel like leaving the house, are tired, or it’s too cold. It is no longer a personal choice, but a regular commitment to a running group. Continuity is an important aspect of training and running in a group helps us maintain it.
Playing sports with other people helps strengthen relationships. The time we spend with our sports friends each week gives us the opportunity to make new friendships or strengthen existing ones. You motivate each other and share the same passion. If you don’t have any exercise-savvy friends in your area, there are many running groups, websites, and apps that can connect runners looking for company in the same geographic region.
Another benefit of running with company is safety: having someone by your side makes you feel safer during exercise than if you were alone in the woods. In the event of discomfort (such as an injury or feeling unwell), it’s reassuring to know someone is by your side.
Learning from others
Finally, running in a group provides an opportunity to learn from each other. Together you can discuss running technique, clothing, personal experiences, ideas and tips. Remember: there is always something new to learn!
The advantages of running alone
In the first part of this article, we presented the various advantages of running in a group. However, this is not always the best choice. Running alone also has its positive sides, because in the end, running is an individual sport where personal performance is the main focus.
Focus on yourself
The first advantage of running alone is that you can focus entirely on your own performance: Cadence, posture, technique, breathing, speed and intensity. The ability to listen to your own body and react accordingly is essential and can be trained well when running solo. In addition, no compromises have to be made. Specifications from the training plan can be implemented 1:1 without adjustments, which allows you to pursue your own goals more efficiently.
Time to think
Another important aspect, is being alone with your thoughts. Spending an hour in silence can be worth its weight in gold. The time can be used to think about important issues or problems, or simply listen to your favorite music.
By “freedom” is meant the following: complete independence in choosing the day, the place, the time and the type of training. While the “commitment” of the running group is motivating, it can also be stressful. You are also free to adjust or postpone the training at short notice.
Running in a group is a great way to make your training more lively and makes sense for “normal” running as well. We are more relaxed, can learn something from others and overcome our athletic limits. But important training sessions (like intense runs or intervals) should be individual training sessions where you can focus on your individual pace.
So, from a purely rational point of view, it would make sense to make your training as individual as possible – for example, by following a tailored training plan. However, if training in a group leads to improving the continuity in your training, then such trainings make perfect sense!