Why You May Want to Ditch Your Running Buddy

If there’s one word that describes life as a 20-something| it would have to be “busy.” Between work| friends| family| and the gym| it’s tough for me to find a second to myself. Don’t get me wrong ¡ª I love spending time with other people| but there are some things I just prefer to do alone. While happy hours and brunches are way worse when it’s a party of one| running is something that is just easier to enjoy when I’m flying solo.

I’ve tried breaking a sweat with my friends and even my boyfriend on occasion| but at the end of the day| I’ve come to treasure the time when I’m alone with my music and the road in front of me. Sure| there may be other arguments for or against having running buddies| but for me| it’s all come down to six reasons why I would rather just run on my own. Whether you prefer to run as a team of one or to head out with your best friends by your side| these ideas may inspire you to shake up your routine.

1. You can take “me” time

After a long week at work| there’s nothing quite as cathartic as a long run outside. The stress of life seems to just fall away as I hit the pavement. Getting moving is one of the only times of the week I really get Zen time for myself| and I treasure it.

2. You can go with the flow

I love to run| but I’ve learned that setting an exact distance just doesn’t work for me. Some days| I plan on heading out for half an hour only to find I am ready to run forever; other days| from the minute I start| I’m just ready for my run to end. When I’m on my own| it feels so much easier to just listen to how my body feels: there is no pressure to do something I’m not crazy about.

3. You can skip the side conversation

Yes| it’s important to make time in my calendar for my friends| but I’ve found that a running date just isn’t the right situation. For me| the temptation of a full-on catch-up session is too distracting| and I know I can’t focus on making the most of my sweat session. Instead of slowing myself down| I would rather pump out an amazing run and meet my girlfriends for cocktails afterward.

4. You can jam out

For me| the secret to an amazing workout is great music. Rocking out on a run is the best source of motivation and inspiration| plus it keeps me from getting bored. Popping in my headphones while running with a friend seems a little mean (I don’t want to ignore her!)| so it’s easier to just jog and jam out on my own.

5. You can set your speed

It’s always awkward to start a jog with someone ¡ª how do you set the pace? Inevitably one person will be faster or slower than the other| and if you’re trying for something more than a casual jog| it can be tough to get on the same page. If I do want to get in a little exercise with friends| I would rather walk it out and save the run for when I’m on my own.

6. You can avoid unhealthy competition

I admit it: I’m competitive ¡ª and while it may not be totally healthy| being totally outpaced has managed to ruin a great workout. I’m proud of my strength and endurance| but once I ran with a buddy who managed to kick my butt despite being a couch potato. As I huffed and puffed up the first hill| they waited at the top| stretching. Instead of feeling challenged or inspired| I wound up spending the rest of the run feeling defeated and ready to cry. I’ve learned that| to keep my emotions out of my runs| the simplest solution is to be my own best competition| racing against my own times instead of other people.

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