Runnin’ SoloPosted: August 31, 2010
I’m sprinting like a star, you can’t stop my shine,
I’m loving lap nine, my head’s in the sky,
I’m solo, I’m running solo, I’m running solo…
…Now I’m feeling like I should
Never knew cardio could feel this good
Stopped saying can’t, switched to “I could”
Back in the game, who knew I would?
I’m runnin’ solo, I’m runnin’ solo, I’m running solo.
Last night, a week after my humiliating foray back into running with Mr. Man (I got sick and lightheaded and quit before we even hit 3/4 mile – talk about an embarrassing time to wimp out!), I finally felt like heading out for my first real run in just about a month.
To my surprise and delight, I completed the three miles without stopping. I was absolutely miserable for the last quarter mile, but I made myself power through it. Sure enough, the familiar giddiness and strength of a runner’s high appeared right on time, and I remembered why I missed running. After the wretched showing last weekend, I was seriously questioning if I even enjoyed running and was considering abandoning it in in pursuit of another form of exercise entirely. Last night I chose not to set a timer or do any sort of speedwork – instead my goal was simply to prove to myself that I could complete the track without a walk break. After proving to myself that I really do have a runner somewhere inside of me (albeit a slow and sporadically motivated one), I’m looking forward to working my way back into the sport.
Meanwhile, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not a social athlete. Being such a people person in every other aspect of my life, this actually didn’t make sense at first, but after thinking it through, I realized I’m best channeling Jason DeRulo and ridin’…err…runnin’… solo.
You don’t have to match your pace to someone else’s. Working out alone lets you really evaluate where you’re at with your own body and fitness level and adjust your pace accordingly; speeding up isn’t about making it a race and slowing down isn’t letting your partner down. Also, if you’re highly competitive like me, you may find yourself pushing yourself at a level you just aren’t at physically, and in retrospect, I have a sneaking suspicion that trying to go step-for-step with a 6’3 ex-football player was setting myself up for failure – and potential injury.
You can really zone out. One of the key reasons I run is to have some me time and blow off the steam of the day. Cranking my iPod and letting my mind wander to address any mental issues I need to work through are things I can’t do while trying to hold a conversation with a partner. The extra breath expenditure gets your winded faster, and having to keep up a dialogue is the last thing I want to fuss with while I’m having “me time”.
You can focus on the technical and physical aspect of the run – the wind on your face, the strength of your legs, the pumping of your arms, and the rhythm of your breath as your lungs work in conjunction with your muscles.
As much as I love the idea of running with a partner, I do eight million times better alone. I can think of three runs I’ve completed with a running buddy and only one that I felt good about after I finished. I can safely say that I have no desire to pair up for running again the near or forseeable future. I’ll even go so far as to say I hate the idea.
Do you prefer working out alone or with a buddy? Do you find that your performance at the gym is greatly hindered (or bolstered) by a partner?