I’ve been running mostly alone for the past 18+ years (not including my stroller running years). There have been periods of time where I had running friends that were close but for the most part even when I had friends that were close the times that I had to run weren’t exactly conducive to meeting up with friends. And if I am honest, I like running alone. I may complain about it from time to time and feel sorry for myself on really long runs when I’m tired and know that the run would feel easier if I had someone by my side, but even then, it’s not all that awful.
Running alone means I have a lot of time to think and overthink.
When my youngest, Colton, was in preschool I had roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes to run and do anything else I needed to get accomplished without him in tow. My runs didn’t feel all that enjoyable because when I was running I was calculating how much time I could cut from the run if I ran faster or how many miles I could squeeze in if I just ran some of my errands with him.
My to-do list would consume the majority of my thoughts on the runs. Sure almost 3 hours sounds like a lot of time but any parent can tell you that window of time can fly by in an instant.
My runs didn’t feel all that enjoyable and instead felt like something else I had to check off on my to-do list. One day I decided that I needed to take back that time and make the run truly an escape. I quit thinking about my to-do list. It took practice, in much the same way that it takes practice to bring your thoughts back to your center when you are meditating, but once I got the hang of it, it made every run that much better. Once I felt I mostly had mastered that, I started adding on things I wasn’t allowed to think about during the run. Essentially I attempted to leave any stressors at home and used the run as an escape in order to recharge.
Colton is in 4th grade now and I still don’t allow myself to run through my to-do list while running. I don’t think about who I need to email back or that project I’m late on, I don’t run through what I need to get at the grocery store or how much laundry is piling up. I literally leave my worries at home and allow myself to enjoy the run.
Yes there are days I’ll find myself running on rage or getting upset about things outside of my control, but for the most part I try to keep the run as my escape. 10/10 recommend.