I made it through another week of training and still want to run!  calxc

One of my biggest struggles with running since quiting in college has been missing having people to run with.  In high school and college you have a group of guys (or gals) to do every workout with.  You are rarely dragging yourself out the door alone. More importantly there is always someone there to distract you from the pain.  Unfortunately once you are no longer on a competitive team these people become much harder to find.

runningaloneWhile running groups seem to be cropping up everywhere these days, there are typically no people in these groups who can run anywhere near my pace.  This leads to a no win decision of running by yourself or running super slow.  I am a firm believer that we all have a natural pace.  This pace can change drastically depending on what kind of running shape one is in, but the principle remains the same.  Your natural running pace is a balance between your desire to finish any run as quickly as possible and the level of pain you experience as you run faster.  Thankfully/unfortunately my natural running pace is quite fast.  This means that running medium runs with slower groups ends up being more painful because it forces me out of my natural pace range.  As a result I end up avoiding running groups once I have determined there is no one who can run at my pace (I wonder if other runners doing the same thing is why there are none of us in these groups ….)

The one major exception to this policy is long runs.  While I have learned to distract myself with podcasts on my runs, nothing beats human company on a long run.  No matter how interesting the podcast is, it will never distract you from over an hour of running and trying to maintain a steady pace.  With that in mind I set out each Sunday to the Sunnyvale Sports Basement in hopes that someone will show up to run with.  Thankfully many weeks there is someone there who is right around my pace.  The rest of the time is a decision between running a little slower than usual with company versus at pace but alone.  I almost always choice with company and am always glad that I did.

What’s your take: at pace alone or slower with company?