This month’s Just Run Round Up asks an interesting question: do you prefer solo runs or group runs?
Both group runs and solo runs have their pros and cons, but exactly what those pros and cons are differ based on the runner you ask.
I always felt as if I was strange for enjoying solo runs. Others raved about the camaraderie of group runs and running clubs, while those did not appeal to me. Despite the fact that I cherished the community I found through running, I wondered, am I weird for wanting to run alone?
The answer is no, and the reasoning is simple as to why some runners prefer solo runs and others enjoy group runs: introversion versus extroversion.
I am an introvert (ISFJ, according to Myers-Briggs), a key reason as to why I prefer solo runs. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that introverted runners likely tend to prefer solo runs, while extroverted runners likely enjoy group runs.
Introversion isn’t shyness, arrogance, social anxiety, or misanthropy, despite how it might appear. We aren’t unhappy with alone time, we’re not depressed, and we’re not loners. Introversion is an innate craving for quiet time and a tendency to introspection. Introverts enjoy socialization, especially with smaller groups, but then need time to recharge. While extroverts are energized by other people, introverts are energized by alone time – such as time spent on solo runs.
Running lends itself well as a sport and form of exercise to introverts. It can be done completely alone, without joining a team or participating in an exercise class. Running is quiet, self-guided, and refreshing. It’s socially acceptable to run alone, and seldom do people approach you while you are running.
While I started running for exercise, I quickly was hooked on the quiet space it provided me. I started running as a freshman in college. As an introvert, I needed a respite from the sudden constant surrounding of people in the dorms and classrooms. Running provided that: an extended period of quiet coupled with freeing movement, allowing me to recharge.
As an adult, I still prefer solo runs. This is not to say that I dislike running with others; I love the runs I share with my husband, relish runs with friends, and enjoy getting to know others through running. I immensely value the community I’ve encountered through running. I’m a running coach – I love working with others and celebrating their accomplishments.
It’s not that I don’t want to run with others – it’s that I truly enjoy solo runs. Chances are, if you are an introverted runner, you agree.
Introverted runners enjoy solo runs for many reasons:
- Quiet “me time” to recharge and think
- Carrying on a conversation can be draining, especially since introverts prefer meaningful conversations over small talk
- Large group runs are overwhelming, especially if you don’t know a majority of the people
- Some introverts are afraid to let others down or to be embarrassed in public, adding unwanted stress and pressure to a group run (what if we’re late, slow, or have to stop for the bathroom?)
- Some introverts tend to be sensitive, and solo runs provide an escape from the real world
Meanwhile, extroverted runners tend to love group runs because:
- Camaraderie and socialization energize you on the run and make the miles pass by
- Large groups are enjoyable
- Knowing others are waiting for you provides accountability
- Solo runs can be boring
- Training with others provides motivation to push hard
(These are black-and-white categories; some introverts prefer running buddies and some extroverts prefer to run alone, and ambiverts may relish both types of runs.)
So when it comes to deciding between solo runs and group runs, pick the type that you most enjoy. One type is not superior to the other, and you shouldn’t feel pressured into a group run if you prefer solo runs or vice versa. Ultimately, which you prefer is likely based on your personality.
This assessment of solo runs versus group runs is my own opinion – so let’s hear now from the other runners in the Just Run Round Up!
Do you prefer group runs or solo runs?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?