Tips for Running Alone

Stay safe and beat boredom

When running by yourself, it's important to take safety precautions and to also have plenty of strategies for beating boredom. Here are some tips for running alone:

Try some self-talk.

Woman running
John P Kelly

If you're running alone and struggling, give yourself a pep talk. Tell yourself that you're not physically tired -- you're just mentally fatigued and you can push through it. Say to yourself things like, "I'll have some water in five minutes -- that will make me feel better." You may want to keep repeating a mantra, like, "Think strong! Be strong!" If you're doing your longest run ever, remind yourself how proud you'll feel when you're finished.

More: Mental Strategies for Long Runs

Let someone know where you're running.

Before you head out for your run, make sure you let someone else know where you're running. Also tell them approximately how long you'll be running for.

More: How to Stay Safe on the Run

Stick to well-traveled routes.

Woman running
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Running by yourself is not the time to try out an new, unfamiliar running route. Stick to your tried-and-true running spots, so you don't have to worry about getting lost or risk putting yourself in an unsafe situation. Choose a safe route, where you know they'll be lots of people around.

Carry identification.

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Put your driver's license and your medical insurance card (in case you get injured) in your pocket or wear an ID tag on your shoe. If you're wearing an ID tag or bracelet, make sure it has an emergency contact number on it. Whenever possible, try to run with your cell phone, and save your ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers.

Be visible.

Running Against Traffic
Chase Jarvis

It's easy to miss a single runner on the road, so make sure you're visible. If you're running in the early morning or at night, even at dusk, wear white, yellow, orange, or other brightly-colored clothes. Also, make sure you have reflective gear on. Although some items (running shoes, jackets) already have reflective pieces on them, it doesn't hurt to add more. Some runners also run with a small flashlight to make sure they're seen by oncoming traffic.

More: Reflective Gear for Runners

Use strategies for battling boredom.

runner with belt
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Running by yourself can be a lot harder mentally than running with buddies. Try some of these ideas to mix things up:

  • Try doing a fun interval workout. Pick a landmark in the distance, such as a tree or a stop sign, and pick up the pace until you get to it. After you recover for a minute or two, choose another landmark and speed up again.
  • Listen to music or audiobooks. Just be careful to leave one earbud out or keep the volume low enough so that you can hear everything that's going on around you.
  • Play some mental games in your head to keep your mind occupied. Or try these way to distract yourself while running.

More: Ways to Get Out of a Running Rut

Do a targeted-pace workout.

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Running solo is a good opportunity to do a workout that's very specific to your pace and running goals. So take advantage and do a specific track workout or speed workout where you're trying to hit certain paces. You can do your own thing and not worry about having to speed up or slow down for your running partners.

Also see:  8 Rules for Safe Speed Training

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