My running mindset has changed a lot ever since I joined my local running club a couple years ago. I used to almost exclusively run by myself, occasionally with friends but I didn’t understand the point: we’re running so we can’t chat, we’re probably both listening to music anyway and we can’t keep our paces the same.
Now, I prefer running with a group. I also rarely run with music, even when running alone (though I still love to make motivating playlists for races), and carry on some of the best conversations while running. I’ve made this almost-180 shift by discovering the power of a group. Running together makes the miles pass by quicker–sometimes we don’t even think about them–and magnifies the sense of accomplishment.
We train in pace groups as a club, and I know it’s the only way I had the discipline to accomplish some of our longest marathon training runs. I’m leading a half marathon pace group this season, so I do actually have to keep an eye out for the route (no more cruising along in the “peloton”), but I am still getting many of the other benefits.
When I thought about the extra miles I had to do alone after today’s group training run, I reached a clear decision. No solo long runs this season. I’ll do what I can with groups and friends and make the rest of the gains cross training. That’s how today’s planned 20 became 10 (6+4), and why I feel great about it: running with a group keeps running fun.