8 Powerful Benefits of Running Solo

Your shoes, your tunes, and the open road. Here's why running alone has its upside.

March 16, 2017
woman running park

Adapted from Runner's World Train Smart, Run Forever 

Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of benefits of running with a partner, but sometimes you just want to lace up your shoes and hit the road solo. We get it. 

More: How to Start Running

Keeping safety in mind, running on your own can be a powerful training and mindfulness boost, so go ahead and spring to the starting line. Here's why you should give it a shot: 

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"Me" time

Life is crazy busy. Among chirping cell phones, pinging e-mails, talkative coworkers, and a crazy family schedule, it is often tough to find a second for "me" time. After a long day at work, there is nothing quite as cathartic as a long run outside by yourself. The stress of life seems to dissolve soon after you hit the pavement.

More: The Truth About Sleep Running

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No pressure

No specific distance, no specific pace, no specific course. On a solo run you can simply listen to how your body feels. Running without regard to where, when, or how fast can be very liberating. The sense of freedom when going out for a run by yourself can be tough to match.

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Your pace

Unless you have a training partner with a similar fitness level, you will either be forced to run too hard or too easily. To counteract that, some days you may wish to run alone so you can run at just the right pace for you

More: 5 Elements of Efficient Running Form

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Post-injury return to running

When you run on your own, it is easier to pay attention to your form and effort. Running by yourself can be especially important if you are returning to running after an injury and need to listen to your body to avoid a setback. Listening to your body is important and sometimes easier to do when you run alone.

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Competition-free

As runners, most of us have a competitive side, but training runs need not always be a race. However, some partners always make a training run a race. Everyone knows that runner who has to be positioned one step ahead. Yes, it is annoying.

More: 73 Thoughts Every Woman Has On a Long Training Run

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Flexibility

Having a plan is a good idea; however, having the freedom to modify when and where you run can be done more easily when you are running alone.

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Meditation

Running alone can be meditative. You can think and concentrate or completely clear your mind and let it spin freely. Running alone also helps you achieve "flow," defined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience as the state of complete absorption to the point where everything else simply falls away. Achieving flow is almost always a solo endeavor.

More: What Really Causes That Runner's High?

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Race-day preparation

Ultimately, running is an individual activity. Getting to the finish line on race day is something only you can do. Solo runs prepare you to be self-sufficient on race day: You'll get accustomed to knowing your body (when to hydrate and fuel) and, more important, finding and maintaining your pace without relying on your training partner's help.

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