Why I Prefer Running Alone

Jordan Mendiola

Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash


Ever since I started running for my health and no longer my cross country team in college, I’ve preferred to go alone. After being deployed for nearly a year with my battle buddies from home, I know for a fact that I prefer running alone.

The running community is outstanding. It really is. So many people are motivated in their unique way and have lots of great tips and motivation to share. At the same time, going alone presents a more personal challenge — a more intimate workout with your mental and physical.

For nearly four months, I ran by myself, and I felt free to pick the times I wanted to go, and when I finished, I headed back immediately.

For nearly two months, I tried running with other people (which helped with motivation), but the planning process was too lengthy for me, and I felt like I wasted a lot of time pre-run and post-run.

I don’t consider myself a loner. I’m very social, but running is my form of “me time.” Will I run with you? Sure! Do I prefer it? Let’s talk about it.

Planning is Great But Feels Like a Chore

When I get my work schedule for the week, I like to plan out the day’s I’ll go running and what times I prefer to go. Since the days are reaching as hot as 110 degrees, I prefer running early in the morning or after 6 PM.

Planning your workout schedule should be fun and something we look forward to. But when you have to match your schedule up with someone else’s, this means you have to move your workout sometimes.

One of my best friends in the Army loved running around noon on our off days. He preferred to get the workout done earlier in the day, which makes sense. However, I don’t feel like it’s worth burning alive in the hot sun at midday (exaggerating but seriously, it is hot).

Some days, I feel like running 30 minutes earlier than planned, or I get into a perfect movie and prefer to finish it, so I go later than expected. The flexibility of running alone leaves you accountable to only yourself, which makes it a lot more enjoyable.

I Run Slower & Take Extra Time

As a person who’s been extremely active since he was two-years-old, I have grown to be one of the fastest in my unit. In a non-narcissistic way, I dislike waiting for people after my run.

As soon as I finish up, I like to drink my water and do a cool down jog back to my tent. It’s satisfying only to hit the road when I’m ready to grind and leave as soon as all the hard work is complete.

I don’t mind running with my friends, but when they’re constantly trying to have a conversation throughout our run, it gets a bit irritating. Let’s run now, and talk it up afterward, no problem!

Don’t get me wrong. I love supporting my buddies during our two-mile-run tests. However, if I’m working on my physical goals and trying to maintain an active lifestyle, I would much rather prefer the soloist journey of it all.

If I Need Motivation, I’ll Reach Out to Other People

As with any goals, we all need support sometimes. It’s encouraged to ask for help when we need it. For the two months I ran with my buddies, I had low self-esteem and little motivation to workout on my own.

Without my buddies during my times of self-doubt, fear, and pure laziness, I may not have returned to running.

The acronym team stands for:

T — Together

E — Everyone

A — Achieves

M — More

Having self-awareness on my motivation levels allows me to know when I need to reach out for help. Remember, there’s no shame asking for support!

Some prefer to have a support system. Others prefer to go alone. When it comes to working out, I advocate for the solo route.

The advantages of running alone include personal scheduling, quick and efficient workouts, and always have the option to run with people.

Everyone has their preferences, and as long as you’re self-aware and whether you go alone, with your dog or your friends & family — you have all the reasons to be proud of yourself for being active.

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email: mendiola1829@gmail.com

Chicago, IL

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