2020 was probably the absolute worst year to run a marathon for the first time. But I did it! I’ll admit running solo, especially long distances, wasn’t fun. So I wanted to share some tips to make your solo runs a little easier.
1. Find online support. I chose to raise money for Smile Train as I trained for my marathon. Having a Facebook group to see other’s runs and their fundraising progress was really encouraging. Although I knew none of these people personally, it was great to connect with them virtually. Do a quick search on Facebook for running groups. Here’s another resource you might want to check out https://www.runtothefinish.com/running-community/. Amanda has a great running community!
2. Re-invent the running buddy. If you don’t yet feel comfortable running next to someone, why not meet a friend at the park and run a different course? Or meet your workout buddy at the gym for some accountability. Take your dog, even if it’s only for part of the run. Or loosen up and take your kids or roommate with you, even if they are new to running. When I trained for my marathon, I didn’t have a running buddy but my family did bike with me. Having someone along with me made those long runs much easier.
3. Listen to something new. Maybe you’re a strictly music person during your runs so you can chat with your running buddy. But if you’re running solo you may want to listen to something more engaging. Try a podcast (maybe one about running!), pick a book, or maybe a motivational speaker. I listened to The 80/20 principle by Matt Fitzgerald. I highly recommend it!
4. Mix up your runs. Running alone, especially for a long run, can be boring! But trying new types of runs keeps things interesting. For example, during my 3.1 mile runs I’m currently doing a 4-minute warm up then 2 minutes fast/2 minutes slow running pattern. Not only does this help train cardiovascular fitness by raising intensity, it also keeps me from getting bored and helps me set achievable goals.
5. Schedule your runs at the beginning of the week. When I trained for my marathon I was running a lot more miles that I usually do. But when I decided at the beginning of the week when I was going to do each run, it made all those miles look much less intimidating. Then I could plan my other weekly activities around my runs.
I hope these tips help you enjoy those solo miles as we continue to navigate these strange times. Just think how thankful we will be for group runs and races once they return!
Have a solo running tip? Share it below!