When we first moved to D.C. in 2008, we were lucky enough to fall in with Pacers Silver Spring’s Fun Run group, which meets at the store at 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for 5-milers throughout the city.
I’d previously resisted running with a group, but found that it was a great way to meet new people, and to challenge myself by running with people who were faster than me, forcing me to push the pace to keep up. It was great for slower days, too, in that “misery loves company” kind of way.
Post-ACL-tear, I never really got back in the group-run groove. Part of this stems from the discovery that I really benefit from a mid-day break in the form of physical exercise. But I suspect that deep down, it also has a lot to do with ego—seeing the people you used to run with whiz by you can be demoralizing, if you let it be.
Last night, inspired by a few other friends coming back from their own running hiatuses, I did my group run again. And you know what? It was fine. I settled in with a group of four–some new running buddies, some old—and relaxed into a pace that ended up being about 9:30-minute miles. We did one of my favorite routes, and the miles flew by as I focused on little more than my own footfalls (it’s easier to focus on your own footfalls when someone else is minding the route). The experience reminded me of all the benefits of running in a group—the camaraderie born of shared pain and matching headlamps—and kind of made me forget about the downsides.
Do you run with a group? Why, or why not?