Going Solo or Lots of Legs?

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This Saturday I set out to smash another mile stone (bring on stepping back next week).  As part of my training plan I had to run 18 miles this weekend … that’s only 8.2miles  before I have covered the entire marathon distance!!!!!  This was going to be first long run I would attempt on my own, without the comfort of any of the wonderful TNR ladies as most were heading off to Brighton to smash the Brighton Half Marathon!  SO the plan – 12 miles by myself and then 6 miles in  The Action Duchenne Love Run 2014 to support one of my friends in her first 10km race.

Setting out on Saturday morning I was pleased to see that the sun was shining, however on setting out I also discovered that the wind was going to be best friend and my worst enemy!   Unfortunately for the first 15 minutes (the time I usually find you get settled into your pace) I was battling the wind head on … and losing … but you had to laugh, I must have looked ridiculous trying to fight against it … resistance training right?  But sure enough I turned a corner and then I literally went flying, whilst dodging a serious amount of branches/twigs/trees on the way, the wind and I had become best friends again!

The route I had planned was going to take me down and around Regent’s Park – perfect for a bright Saturday morning! En route around the outer circle I got to say hello to the Giraffes, meerkats and zebras.

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Whilst running around  the inner circle I got to perve on some pretty impressive buildings and enjoy all the very “posh” looking dogs out on the their morning “trot”.

Back up to Finsbury Park I found my friend and joined 400+ runners ready to lap Finsbury Park for The Love Run (full race recap here).  It was great doing my final miles with lots of other enthusiastic (and slightly fresher looking) runners, plus to have crowds spurring me on got me smiling thinking about Manchester Marathon crowds!!!

Quite excitingly I managed a sprint finish and only clocked 2 minutes slower than my 10km PB – not bad considering I had run 12.5 miles before?!?!?!  All in all it was a great run and I actually felt pretty strong crossing the finish line … though bring on a step back week next week with only 13 miles on the schedule! ;D!

On this weekend’s run I got to experience running a long distance on my own as well as running with 400 other people which got me thinking …..

  • Running Alone: Prime time to listen to music, catch up on radio shows (my favourite running soundtrack right now – MistaJam’s show!), zone out, have some “me” time
  • Group Running: Prime time to catch up with friends!
  • Running Alone: I find a have a faster pace, though this isn’t always a good thing, according to my plan I should be running up to 1:30 minutes slower than my marathon pace.   According my Nike+ GPS watch I averaged 30 seconds faster?!?
  • Group Running: Easier to keep to a steadier pace, more people to tell you to SLOW down!
  • Running Alone: Not as easy to distract you from noticing the tiniest niggle, ache, pain
  • Group Running: May experience a niggle but you can talk about it and it’s most likely someone else is sharing it and you forget about it and carry on talking about food ;D!

Do you prefer running alone, switching off and getting into a zone?  Or are you all about the group run, making it as much a social event as a training session?

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