Training solo vs. in a group (Read 170 times)

    Hey everyone,


    I'm writing up a blog post about the benefits of training in a group versus by yourself (The end conclusion is to find a healthy balance between the two and to also experiment and find what works best for yourself). While I have my own thoughts about this topic, I'd love to get some input from the community here. So, what do you define as the top benefits of these two different training philosophies? Go...

      Runners run


        I prefer solo tho haven’t tried a group. I don’t want to socialize nor want to feel pressured to keep up or be polite and slow down for someone I like. At the same time I do like seeing other runners out  bc it forces me to push harder/motivates me to keep going/pretend to look tough.


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            Caffeine-fueled Runner

              The vast majority of my training since 2013 has been solo,  I've gone and run with a group of friends and I find that the group tends to do something other than what I'm specifically trying to accomplish on a given run.  And I've learned, over time, what the specific runs are trying to build or accomplish for race day.  Losing a day or two of training time to group dynamics as opposed to solo running for specific training goals probably won't hurt much in the long run.  But I've found very few people who are willing, for example, to go out in the heat of the day and do interval repeats at nearly full output.  They are fine at an easy conversational pace (but prefer early in the day)


              I've found that the race, itself, tends to be a solo event and in those smaller marathons where the field gets spread out beyond 10 to 12 miles, the ability to manage one's experience and monitor one's body under solo conditions is a real benefit.  If you've practiced it in training, you know what you are dealing with.  I guess not tuning into your body's signals and the suffering you are experiencing in a group run could be a good thing because you are distracted.  But in my most satisfying marathons, when the legs start to feel tired as I am hammering over the last 10K, and particularly the last 5K, having the sense of "I know this sensation" because I was tuned into it during training and not having the experience diluted as part of a group run is a powerful drive at the end of the race.


              I've never done larger group runs where you might be able to find a group running your pace, but I do have friends that will only run with others or groups (or they just don't run at all) as part of a social spirit in running and that's fine for general fitness and maybe to "survive" a marathon or half-marathon.  I, however, like to do more than just survive it.

              PR's--- 5K  24:11,   10K  49:40,   10-Mile  1:26:02,  HM  1:56:03,   Marathon  4:16:17

              Maniac #11112, Fanatic #14276, Double Agent #2335

              Still kicking

                I'm a loner in training, and go absolutely solo. I'm not interesting in making someone else modify their pace/distance for me, and I have no desire to modify my pace/distance for someone else. I also like to fart and burp and spit and shoot snot and pee in the bushes and grunt and cuss a lot. Not so easy in a group.

                I'm also on Athlinks and Strava

                  I've always pretty much done the solo thing.... post college.


                  I do miss "track practice" tho.


                  seems many of the pros these days are training in groups....


                  my schedule is all over the place, but I would like to start trying to incorporate group runs/workouts in the future.


                  I may start attending a speed session track workout group, although part of me things I need more miles vs. speed work., maybe both.

                  300m- 37 sec.


                  Are we there, yet?

                    For intervals and long runs I prefer running with a group.  With intervals runners can take turns leading the group to hit pace, and having others to keep pace with helps.  Of course this only works if the group are relatively evenly fit.  With long runs, especially since I don't listen to music or podcasts or use headphones in any way, having conversation helps the run go faster and helps stave off boredom.

                    For easy runs, recovery runs, and even tempo runs, I prefer solo because I allow perceived exertion, how I feel, and personal whim to determine pace, length, and course.

                     2022 Races:

                          03/19 Pistol Ultra 50K - 7:27:25

                          04/02 Alexander County 6-Hour - 25.146 miles

                          05/14 3 Days at the Fair 12-Hour - 35 miles

                          05/28 What the Duck 12-Hour Team - 31.68 miles

                          07/02 Merrill's Mile 6-Hour - 21.7844 miles
                          09/03 Hainesport 12-Hour - 38.6607 miles
                          10/08 One Day at the Fair 12-Hour - DNS



                    Old , Ugly and slow

                      I always run alone

                      first race sept 1977 last race sept 2007


                      2019  goals   1000  miles  , 190 pounds , deadlift 400 touch my toes


                        Put me down for Solo.  I always run alone.  Everyone I know hates running, lol.  I live in a small town, and I can drive 30 minutes to near by town, and join their group, or I can be 30 minutes into my run.

                        "There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." - Bill Bowerman


                          ... I'm not interesting in making someone else modify their pace/distance for me, and I have no desire to modify my pace/distance for someone else. 


                          +1.  When I run with a group or even just one friend, I am always running either faster or slower than I'd like.  My problem is I don't know how to say that without sounding like a curmudgeon.  A friend sent out a group text earlier asking who wanted to run tomorrow morning.  I ignored it until a couple of them had made their plans and then someone said "Brilliant, are you in?"  I replied, "I'll text you in the morning and let you know." Which is code for "I'm not going to drive to the park to meet you only to have you two go out too fast for me and I'm watching you in the distance so why don't we skip me driving to the park?"


                          I feel better after reading this thread - I didn't realize this board was full of fellow curmudgeons. 


                            I am definitely a solo trainer.  There are times when I prefer to be with several other runners and those times are when I'm doing intervals on a track .  In those cases I like to find a subgroup of runners that are running on the slow end of the interval targets I'm shooting for.  You have to be strong enough to resist racing your intervals by keeping up with runners going too fast for you.

                            Daily training runs I prefer solo but don't mind one or two others to keep company.

                            Long runs I always prefer solo as that is my time to do the random train of thought thing.  Really enjoy my solo Sunday AM runs.

                            I've never understood the groups of 6 or 7 runners or more out on a run. Not my thing at all.

                            Half Crazy K 2.0

                              I'm a loner in training, and go absolutely solo. I'm not interesting in making someone else modify their pace/distance for me, and I have no desire to modify my pace/distance for someone else. I also like to fart and burp and spit and shoot snot and pee in the bushes and grunt and cuss a lot. Not so easy in a group.


                              +1 to all this except for peeing in bushes. I'm classy, I stop at McDonald's for that.

                                Good training partners are a rare find but when you get them, they are absolutely Golden. They can help you train harder, keep you from flogging yourself too much, pick you up when you are feeling like crap.


                                Solo training is good when you don't have those good training buddies. It is better to go solo if the group training becomes racing or doesn't meet your training goals. This is why a good number of people synch up for workouts and go solo for easy runs.


                                I used to stress out about this issue a lot but these days I find that any running is good running. I even think running with a dog can be good training. 


                                My fastest races have come from consistent training with people who are near my pace or slightly faster.

                                "Shut up Legs!" Jens Voigt