Runners World provides an article each and every month about running alone vs. not running alone. Every month they tell you running in groups is good, but you shouldn’t just run in groups so you can still do races and stuff. Balance is important. You’re welcome for not having to buy the magazine now.
I’ve never run with other people unless you count the last 2/10 of a mile at a 10k where a friend decided to run with me yelling, “shut up and run faster!” Why? Because I was scared shitless of running in a group. What if it turns out that I don’t run? What if they make fun of me for thinking I could run? What if I can’t keep up?! OH MY GOD I’D DIE.
So when an email went out about a group run near me at a convenient location for a 10 mile run… I signed up. I usually sign up and then never go. The shocking part is that this time, I went.
And I loved it.
My training plan said just do 7 miles today but I was toying with the idea of doing a 1/2 in mid-March so I thought I’d up the mileage if I wasn’t dead at the end of playing catch-up with these people. We looped back to the starting point so the 5 milers could go their separate ways and since they were running towards home anyway I stayed with the group which had dwindled from 8 to 5, not including the 8 minute mile people who had just disappeared completely. When three more dropped out and the group leader was informed by the other runner that I had done a marathon last month, she informed me that I was going the distance because she said now she knew I was f$#king batshit crazy so an impromptu 10 mile run shouldn’t bother me.
I had conversations. I had fun. And guess what? The miles went by really quickly! I didn’t look down at my watch once, just kept up with the people around me at what running stuff always calls “conversational pace” (which I finally know what that is) and I loved it. It was great, aside from the one annoying guy who spent 2 miles talking about how he didn’t believe in running clothes and insisted on wearing his cargo pants, a flannel shirt, and a sweater and kept telling me we were fighting for last place. Trust me, asshole, I could smoke you but this isn’t a race it’s a pleasant long run so back the f@%k off.
Moral of the story: If you’re feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious about running in a group, get over it. Just be sure to ask in advance about pacing and if it seems reasonable to you then go for it. GO FOR IT.