Solo Runs Vs. Group Runs: Confessions of an Introverted Runner

Solo Runs Vs. Group Runs

This month’s Just Run Round Up asks an interesting question: do you prefer solo runs or group runs?

Both group runs and solo runs have their pros and cons, but exactly what those pros and cons are differ based on the runner you ask. 

I always felt as if I was strange for enjoying solo runs. Others raved about the camaraderie of group runs and running clubs, while those did not appeal to me. Despite the fact that I cherished the community I found through running, I wondered, am I weird for wanting to run alone? 

The answer is no, and the reasoning is simple as to why some runners prefer solo runs and others enjoy group runs: introversion versus extroversion.

I am an introvert (ISFJ, according to Myers-Briggs), a key reason as to why I prefer solo runs. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that introverted runners likely tend to prefer solo runs, while extroverted runners likely enjoy group runs.

Solo Runs Vs. Group Runs

Introversion isn’t shyness, arrogance, social anxiety, or misanthropy, despite how it might appear. We aren’t unhappy with alone time, we’re not depressed, and we’re not loners. Introversion is an innate craving for quiet time and a tendency to introspection. Introverts enjoy socialization, especially with smaller groups, but then need time to recharge. While extroverts are energized by other people, introverts are energized by alone time – such as time spent on solo runs.

Running lends itself well as a sport and form of exercise to introverts. It can be done completely alone, without joining a team or participating in an exercise class. Running is quiet, self-guided, and refreshing. It’s socially acceptable to run alone, and seldom do people approach you while you are running. 

While I started running for exercise, I quickly was hooked on the quiet space it provided me. I started running as a freshman in college. As an introvert, I needed a respite from the sudden constant surrounding of people in the dorms and classrooms. Running provided that: an extended period of quiet coupled with freeing movement, allowing me to recharge.

As an adult, I still prefer solo runs. This is not to say that I dislike running with others; I love the runs I share with my husband, relish runs with friends, and enjoy getting to know others through running. I immensely value the community I’ve encountered through running. I’m a running coach – I love working with others and celebrating their accomplishments. 

It’s not that I don’t want to run with others – it’s that I truly enjoy solo runs. Chances are, if you are an introverted runner, you agree. 

Introverted runners enjoy solo runs for many reasons:

  • Quiet “me time” to recharge and think
  • Carrying on a conversation can be draining, especially since introverts prefer meaningful conversations over small talk
  • Large group runs are overwhelming, especially if you don’t know a majority of the people
  • Some introverts are afraid to let others down or to be embarrassed in public, adding unwanted stress and pressure to a group run (what if we’re late, slow, or have to stop for the bathroom?)
  • Some introverts tend to be sensitive, and solo runs provide an escape from the real world

Meanwhile, extroverted runners tend to love group runs because:

  • Camaraderie and socialization energize you on the run and make the miles pass by
  • Large groups are enjoyable
  • Knowing others are waiting for you provides accountability
  • Solo runs can be boring
  • Training with others provides motivation to push hard

(These are black-and-white categories; some introverts prefer running buddies and some extroverts prefer to run alone, and ambiverts may relish both types of runs.)

So when it comes to deciding between solo runs and group runs, pick the type that you most enjoy. One type is not superior to the other, and you shouldn’t feel pressured into a group run if you prefer solo runs or vice versa. Ultimately, which you prefer is likely based on your personality.

This assessment of solo runs versus group runs is my own opinion – so let’s hear now from the other runners in the Just Run Round Up! 


Nellie – Brooklyn Active Mama 

Angela – Happy Fit Mama 

Running Solo vs Running in a Group - Is one better

Allie – Vita Train for Life

Group Runs vs. Solo Runs

Carly – Fine Fit Day

[Tweet “Group runs vs solo runs: which is best for your #running personality type? @vitatrain4life @happyfitmama @BklynActiveMama @CarlyPizzani and @thisrunrecipes answer #runchat #JustRun”]

Linking up with Coaches’ Corner and Wild Workout Wednesday

Do you prefer group runs or solo runs?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?


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22 Responses

  1. Great points! I kind of think of myself of an introvert but over the years I have really enjoyed adding group runs into my mix. It makes the miles go by faster for sure! I’m off to go meet some friends for a run right now. 🙂

  2. I am with you- I am also an introvert and enjoy solo runs for the reasons you mentioned. I just don’t have the desire to run with others regularly, at least at this point. I really like the alone time without feeling any pressure while running.

  3. I am a total introvert (everyone thinks otherwise!) and I NEED alone time. That said, I wish I had the option more of running with just a friend or two, like I used to when I first started running and didn’t have a fierce training plan and two kids!
    I do really enjoy being solo most of the time and for all the reasons you mentioned 🙂

    1. Being a “social introvert” is so hard because everyone does think otherwise! I can imagine an half IM plan would make it especially difficult to coordinate – but so worth it because of how much butt you kicked!

  4. I am definitely an introvert–even though everyone says no way! I like my alone time both on and off the road. Plus running alone allows me the ability to focus on what’s happening during my run. I do run with a friend on occasion, but those runs are more just for fun.

  5. I used to feel the same way too! I liked my alone time and time to just relax and enjoy myself on runs. Lately, I found a good group with similar paces so I have been enjoy some recovery and speed workouts with them. Like you said, it’s whatever you find yourself most comfortable with!

  6. Yes! I can totally relate… I also find as an introvert I use my solo runs to recharge. Especially since becoming a parent- there is so much less quiet ‘me’ time in my day!

  7. It’s really funny, because I am definitely an introvert. Put me in a group situation — a party, say — and I feel like I’m “on” & it can be really tiring (although I did meet my husband that way).

    But on the run? I actually turn into a chatty cathy! Maybe because I do spend a lot of time on my own.

  8. I agree, running has become an opportunity for productive me time. While introversion isn’t always social anxiety, I think they can be related. Group I know, fine. Group I don’t know – not even a common interest of running might get me out there

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