Friday, September 19, 2008

Personal Running vs Social Running

I had a funny phone conversation the other day that made me realize just how much my approach to running differs from those of my those of my friends who run “recreationally”. It went something like this.

“Hey, it’s getting kind of dark outside. I just wanted to make sure you’re still up to meeting up at the park for a run.”

I don’t care. It’s totally up to you.

“I don’t mind either. I’ve already gotten six miles worth of interval running earlier today so this will strictly be a hang-out run for me.”

Oh. Well, if you already ran today, we can skip it and do it sometime earlier on the weekend.

“Really? Okay. So you’re NOT running today? How about tomorrow or the next day?”

I’ll just wait ‘til we run again this weekend. It’s too boring to run by myself…

Hmmm. Can you all pick out which words were spoken by me and which were spoken by my female friend who is obviously not in marathon training? I know it’s a rhetorical question so I’m not going to answer that. But it got me to thinking, if I wasn’t “in training”, would my approach to running be the same as hers? Could I ever associate running strictly as a social event to be shared among friends? Does this difference reflect the fundamental dichotomy between recreational running and race training or is it simply a Venus and Mars thing?

I think these are all intriguing questions with very individual and personal answers. For me, when it comes down to it, I thinking running has always been and will always be an individual pursuit. This is not to say I don’t enjoy running with friends or with a big group. I’m all about using running to build stronger connections with people in all walks of life. What I’m saying is that, in my opinion, social running is an extension of personal running. If I’m not spending time alone out there on the road for training, for recreation, or even just for dissociation, then I don’t think I can enjoy the time I spend running with other people. Heaven forbid one day that I should restrict my running to only when called upon by others to run with them. I doubt I’ll even consider myself a runner when that day comes.

I don’t think there are right or wrong answers when it comes to these questions. After all, it seems there are more reasons why people run than there are runners. But I think they are all fun to think about and I’d be interested to hear what you all have to say in the comments.

As far as my training goes, like some of you guessed, I’ve been putting on too many fast miles lately. As a result, my marathon training has been thwarted somewhat by a kinda, sorta injury that I’m trying to R.I.C.E. through. I think I’ll be okay. I’m just warning you all that my weekly update will be rather lame this week. Just F.Y.I. Have a good weekend everyone!


Kirsten said...

Oooh...take care of that injury!

2.5 years ago if anyone had told me that I'd ever be anything other than a casual runner I'd have told them they're nuts...and now I'M the nuts one...running even when not chased, running even though I'm not "good" at it, training for a marathon even though I started my 18 week program with a crabby knee (which has since been almost cured by OTC orthotic insoles), running when the windchill is in the <0 range and on deep snow or glare ice. Sane people don't do that.

I must say that I love my easy runs with some other women runners I have found in the area, but I like my solo runs just as well.

Betsy said...

It's not a Mars/Venus thing, because I'm more like you. I really prefer to run by myself. I like to go at my own pace and not have to worry about what anyone else is doing. And I generally prefer not to talk during my runs.

RICE and feel better, Lam!

*aron* said...

i feel the same way... i like to run by myself and then the occasional runs with people are fun too!

hope you are feeling better soon!

runner26 said...

If I’m not spending time alone out there on the road for training, for recreation, or even just for dissociation, then I don’t think I can enjoy the time I spend running with other people.

I might almost agree with you here. I love running alone; I'm not one of those people who needs group motivation. But I like the social stuff that goes on with running, too. So a group run now and then can be refreshing.

sRod said...

Social running? What's that? Heh heh.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Yikes. I guess I have my answer to whether or not you want to meet up for a social run while I'm there. :p hee hee. I totally understand. I wouldn't want to be bother with me either. :D slow, slow, slow and I know how you feel about junk miles. Well, I'm pretty much 100% junk right now, just trying to hang on to some semblance of running while I figure out what is really wrong with my hip and try to enjoy running a little. I will salute you while in your city and wish you well with the Ricing.


Denise said...

I have been asking myself similar questions, not so much the social verses solo, more the fun verses goal oriented...
Its not a Venus Mars thing at all I think, its more of a general take on life - I think you run like you live your life... if you are a goal driven person, you will run like that as well... Same goes for pack running verses solo...

Jack said...

I have been reading Denise's blog lately and noticed her mention of your blog. I have been racing about five years, and trained solo the first 3 years. However the last two years I have been running once a week with a running club to add variety. I just finished my last marathon of the season and find myself looking forward to more frequent sessions as winter approaches. But I know I'll be back out there alone in January, pounding the trails when most will still be hibernating.

Clicky Web Analytics