Friday, March 28, 2014

Pros and Cons of Running With or Without a Partner



My original post for today was going to be about dreams - not your hopes and wishes kind either. But as I was out on my first solo, dark-thirty run since the time change, my mind was wandering around as is typical. I started thinking about all of the pros and cons of running solo vs with a partner. 

When I came upon the Clinton Bridge, I realized I didn't have anyone to marvel at the lights with. But at the same time, no one would be miffed at me for stopping too long to take a picture. 



I know I've mentioned it before, but when I first started running about 6 years ago, I only ran with Jason. I finally weened myself and then only ran solo. Then I met Amy about a year and a half ago (a little longer than that) and we ended up running 2-3 days a week at first. But as I got faster, we ended up running most of our runs together - or some day it'd be 4-6 miles together then a few solo. 

Unfortunately, my reliable running partner doesn't live two blocks down the street from me now. That coupled with the time change has left me not exactly wanting to head out solo in the pitch dark of the early morning. Oh, and the near dog attack and knowing that there is currently a new pack of strays wandering around the neighborhood all make me a bit leery. 

And, honestly, I feel like having a constant running partner has become somewhat of a crutch for me. So for the past month, I've changed my running times to lunch or after work and have actually almost dreaded the thought of them. 

Of course, once I get out there I'm perfectly content. It's just the initial idea of getting out there … alone. I've made myself almost scared in some ways. Of course, when I come upon the stray dogs during the day, I can quickly change my route and am very happy about my daytime running situation. 

I know some people only run with a partner or in groups and others only run solo. I thought I'd do another Pros/Cons list for Fun for Friday.

Running without a Partner

Pros
  • Me time
  • Time to think, reflect, let worries slip away
  • You can run your own pace
  • You can start at whatever time you want or need
  • Easier to cut the run short or go longer depending on how you're feeling
  • Focus on your training needs
  • You can stop and take pictures without worrying about messing up someone's groove


Cons
  • Safety concerns
  • It can get lonely especially if you're not having a great run
  • Less accountability


Running with a Partner

Pros
  • Someone to talk to, laugh with
  • Can hold you accountable for getting out there when you don't want to
  • Can hold you accountable for pace - sometimes holding you back or pushing you harder
  • Safety in numbers
  • Can really help you out when you're having a tough run
  • Can make the time fly by
  • Someone to share the scenery with - like spectacular sunrises or silly sites like a giant fish tank on the side of the street. 


Cons
  • Sometimes you need the quiet
  • Can easily get caught up in someone else's pace or training
  • Less flexibility on start/end times


I didn't include pros/cons of group runs because I've really only run with groups twice. Would love to hear pros/cons of group runs for those who participate in them frequently. I would imagine it would be a similar list to running with a partner. 

Do you prefer running with or without a partner or maybe a mix? 

I know that there are times when I really need that solo, me time. It's time I crave, especially if life is a little tough. But sometimes I also want that time with someone to maybe talk about the rough situations, or to just chit chat about pretty much anything, everything, and even nothing at all.