Saturday’s Long Run – Fail or NOT?

Hi Everyone,

More ramblings about group runs.

So most of you know that I started running solo, then found group runs and have been doing them almost exclusively for some time. You can check out a pervious Blog here about Group Runs.

So presently my Co-Coach Chris Peiffer and I are coaching a group of runners that either plan to run a Half Marathon or a Full Marathon this Fall as part of the Dave’s Fall Marathon In Training (MIT) Program.  Coach Chris is technically the “Half” coach and I am the “full” coach, but we switch off the duties as needed with our schedule.

Last Saturday for our Long Slow Distance run, we had 10 miles for the Half’s and 18 miles for the Full’s on the schedule.  Coach Chris could not be there so I recruited Renee Small, a very experiences coach and THREE time IRONMAN to assist.  We set out on our run, it was bit warm at 60 degrees for mid September in northwest Ohio, but we were doing fine.  We settled into our 10:40 pace that is right where we needed to be for our LSD run pace group.  We talked and generally caught up on everyone’s last few weeks and then talked about our upcoming plans. We laughed and generally had a great time.  We even engaged one or two in our group to participate in the conversation that are usually very quiet.  The miles seemed to fly by and before you knew it, we were nearing the finiching point. After the 10 miles we averaged a 10:40 pace.

On these runs, both the Half’s and Full’s run together.  Our head Coach designs our runs to end up back at the starting point to drop off the Half’s and then the Full’s continue on to complete the balance of their miles.

So at the 10 mile point Renee lead the group back to the parking lot to stretch them out and I planned to carry on for the additional 8 miles.

As it turned out, there were no Full marathoners that came to the run that day from our group, due to other activities and local races, so I would be running the miles solo.

Ok, running solo is not that bad right?  It was only 8 miles! I could do this, right?  All things that flashed through my brain. I usually bring music if I know I will be running solo, but I did not think that would be the case today.  The plan was a 4-mile out and back, surly, I’d meet up with John’s group and then I could jump in with them, so I set out.

By now it was really warming up, in the mid 70’s I’d guess.  Miles 11, 12 and 13 seemed to drag on and I was finding it difficult to hold the 10:40 pace, and had to drop back to a 10:45 / 10:50 pace.  It was getting HOT I told myself to justify the slower pace.  Mile 14 was the turn around point and I could tell that John’s group was not ahead of me?  How could that be?  His group was faster and they had passed us on the first 10 mile loop. Seriously, I have 4 more solo miles back to the car?  Ok, this would truly suck, but I could do it, right?

I made the turn and was still loosing pace, now at a 10:55.  What the heck was going on?  I was at 15 miles or so, this should not be this difficult.  I’ve run 18 miles and over before with no problem.  I finished up mile 18 dragging my sorry ass into the parking lot at an 11:03 pace.

I spend the next few days re-hashing this run and I just keep thinking that it had to have something to do with running alone.  Was there actually something about running in groups that somehow aided in running longer miles?  No, that’s just crazy talk.  I’ve read dozens of books by all the big runners and surly someone would have discussed that.

Then low and behold, a friend posted this article on Facebook today and I read the article and of course if it’s on Facebook, its got to be true, Right?  NOT.  But then I read the study in the link.

2. Run with a Group!
“There’s a reason most elite runners train in groups, and it’s not because of the smell. Running with partners provides accountability and can reduce perceived exertion during both easy runs (by providing a dissociative tool through conversation) and hard runs (by providing an associative tool through focus on pacing).
Studies haven’t reached a complete consensus on the circumstances when group running reduces perceived exertion. For example, a 2016 study in the Journal of Exercise Physiology found that higher perceived social support within a running group reduced perceived exertion, but that running in a group didn’t make interval workouts faster across the study participants. Other studies are all over the place. The takeaway seems to be that group dynamics and individual personalities matter.
So, simply finding warm bodies to run with may not be enough. You must also care about the people you run with. Consider joining a local running club with the intent of not just finding running partners, but cultivating relationships. Friends can make the miles fly by.”


So while I’ve know for a long time that running in a group was much more enjoyable, I now know that there are actually some facts to support that.

Shameless Plug! Looking for a group to run with?  Groups are forming now for the 2018 Dave’s Running Marathon In Training (MIT) training program, registration is open at Dave’s Running.

Thanks for listing.

Until next time …. Happy Running!


Do you run in groups?  If so, do you find it easier or at least more enjoyable than running SOLO?


Love to hear from you.  Drop a comment below. 














  1. I do love having a running partner or group, but having a “set schedule” is tough with the family dynamic at this point. For the MIT, not having most the of the runs in Toledo itself (BG, Maumee, Swanton) would make it impossible for me to be consistent. Eventually I’ll be able to join a MIT group, and I hope you are coaching!

    For now, I trudge along on my lonesome. Music is the only saving grace, and sometimes that doesn’t even work!

    Keep up the great coaching!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think a training run can be seen as a fail. It doesn’t always go to plan, but in a twisted kind of way, you want that at least once during training so that you have the reassurance that you can cope with curve balls thrown at you. I run solo all the time. I always have and I’m OK with it, but I used to see other runners out when I went for my run and now that I leave so much earlier I don’t cross paths with them anymore and I have found this training cycle a lot harder. I call it the art of distraction. Whether its music, company, conversation or just thinking about or hoping to touch base with someone else, it takes your mind off the miles and any discomfort you are feeling. So while a lot of it is born in the mind, I think it’s a very real thing and I can totally see how running with a group helps with that. As does having music or some distraction. You did the 18 miles. Check it off the list as complete. At least you know you won’t run the marathon alone so that’s free of the risk of slogging it out solo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting.. I’m typically a solo runner, but don’t mind running with others. Sometimes it seems to help me get through the miles more quickly. Do you know what this means exactly?
    ‘hard runs (by providing an associative tool through focus on pacing).’
    I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around what that is lol like since everyone is going together at the same pace they encourage each other on??


  4. Sorry you had a tough time with your long run. It is hard to go from a group, then running solo! I do the majority of my runs solo, because it works better with my schedule. I am running with a friend tomorrow though for part of my long run, so that will be fun to catch up with her – but hopefully she won’t run too fast for me!! I’ll just let her do the talking 🙂 Time to start planning for 2018? I saw they have some nice swag for the upcoming MIT!

    Liked by 1 person

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