How Running in a Group Setting Helped me Reach my Goals

If you’re a lone wolf runner and getting started you need to hear this . . .  

By Rosa Perez 

This is the story of how I went from a lone wolf to running with a pack. 

I have been running for almost 10 years. For most of them, I believed I could train alone. I would research training plans online, adjust them to my work and training schedules, and then train for 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons, all by myself. Did it work? Sure. Was it the most enjoyable of efficient experience? Not really.  

When I decided to train for my first marathon, I knew I would need help, but when COVID happened and all group runs were cancelled.  I went back to my lone wolf mentality. I thought, ‘I have trained alone for so long, I can train for this marathon alone’ but I was wrong.  

My Instagram had become my fitness diary (and it still is). I started sharing the highs and lows of marathon training. After a truly awful long run, I shared my struggles in a post. A group of amazing runners reached out and invited me to run with them, and I happily accepted. They became the best support system I could ask for and that I so badly needed. They provided me with tips, help, and they got me to the 2021 virtual finish line. Without them, I would not have finished my first marathon. I owe my first 26.2 miles to them, and I will be forever grateful.  

What do I do now? I have a group of friends who support one another through training season and we show up consistently for a ourselves and for each other. We also try and join different run clubs.  

My heart is fuller since I changed my mindset, and my journey, filled with more joy.   

Lone Wolf running? Here is my advice.  

  • Be flexible: Run when and where you are happiest and test different nutrition. Your running journey can change along the way. Stay curious.  
  • Seek help: Talk to dietitians, running coaches, chiropractors. They want to help.  
  • Find your tribe: Find running besties that will support you and seek to understand your process. 
  • Find what brings you JOY: This is the most important. Make sure what you choose to do during training brings you joy so you don’t burn out.  

See you all in January!