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RUN WITH OTHERS OR GO SOLO?

WANT TO GET FITTER AND FASTER? IS IT MORE BENEFICIAL TO RUN IN A GROUP TO UP YOUR GAME OR, IF YOU’RE USED TO RUNNING ON YOUR OWN, WOULD IT BE BETTER TO KEEP IT THAT WAY AND JUST WORK HARDER? CHRISTINA MACDONALDFINDS OUT

GROUP RUNS

If you’re a regular runner, you’ll know that running alone can be great for clearing your head, solving problems and enjoying precious ‘me time’ that helps with stress relief and improving mood. However, the benefits of running with others shouldn’t be underestimated. “One of the reasons many people cite as a reason for giving up running is that they find it boring,” says John Brewer, a professor of applied sports science at St Mary’s University (stmarys.ac.uk). “Running in a group can provide friendship and a chance to engage in conversation while running, reducing the boredom factor.”

That said, the benefits of group training extend well beyond this – especially for those looking to get fitter and faster. Running alone can be an isolating experience and while you can still improve if you’re willing to push yourself a bit harder, you’re less likely to have the motivation to push those boundaries on your own. “Running in a group provides motivation, and helps you to sustain a good pace when things start to get tough,” says Professor Brewer. “With others around you, it is harder to ease off, and easier to maintain a higher training intensity.”

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About Women’s Running

Get inspired with our November issue of Women’s Running. Read our exclusive interview with cover star Chrissie Wellington, who shares her journey from amateur athlete to becoming four-time World Ironman Champion. Turn to page 48 and you’ll discover how you too can take your running to the next level – find out how one woman approached her first ultra and get all the tips you’ll need to up your distance. Struggling to find time to run for half an hour a week, never mind train for an ultra? No problem. We’ve got some great time-efficient sessions for women with manic lives. If running is strictly off limits for you at the moment due to injury, try our three cross-training plans to keep you sane – and your fitness up – while you recover. And if speed is your focus this autumn, don’t miss our expert advice on getting faster, as we show you how to find your top gear. Enjoy all this, plus all of the usual kit picks, inspiration, recipes, workouts and more!