As training gets underway in preparation for the IMT Des Moines Marathon half and full distances, runners have some important decisions to make. Do I run longer, slower runs? Maybe I should try shorter, faster runs? Or run alone? Run with a partner? Run with a group?
Next month I will start incorporating longer runs into my training plan, adding two more miles onto my longest distance every two weeks. I hope to finish June strong with a 10 mile run and then start a prepared training plan in July incorporating a minimum weekly mile goal as well as the increased long run distance every few weeks.
But all half and full marathon runners know that training is not only about the distance of your longest practice run, but it’s also important to rack up the miles every week for months in advance. Although I love my time running outdoors alone, it can get lonely and even boring. Running with others can help alleviate this, and there is always safety in numbers, right?!
For my long runs (8 miles or more), I prefer to run alone. But for the shorter runs (8 miles or less) several times a week, although I am cool with going solo, I don’t mind having running partners to pass the time with. I also don’t mind if those shorter runs aren’t my fastest miles which opens the doors to more people I can run with. Right or wrong, I have always gone with the training theory that you just need to get the miles to add up in the end, and it doesn’t really matter how fast they are.
I know other runners who prefer to run alone the shorter mile runs, but then prefer the accountability and support of a partner or running group for the greater distance runs.
I guess part of what you decide to do might depend your goal too. If your goal is to PR, then you might focus more on running quicker, shorter runs, rather than my theory of not caring how fast your shorter distance runs are. And honestly I don’t care that much about how fast my long runs are either, but my goal is always to finish without walking and not really caring that much about how fast I am. My last full was 4:19 and I was just fine with that.
I recently ran with a friend and her running group and it was a wonderful experience. It had been awhile since I ran with anyone and I really enjoyed not only getting 6 miles in pretty easy since we did run quite a bit slower than my norm, but being inspired by runners of all levels. Definitely a good time.
When I trained for my first marathon a few years ago I had a few running partners who I am thinking I need to set up some planned runs with once my plan starts.
So I am curious about what you prefer. Do you like to run alone? Do you prefer to run with a partner? Do you run with a group? What is your opinion on how fast or slow your short or long runs should be? Comment below!
And as always, happy running!