Recently, I've been running in a small group - some friends wanted to come out training, so we teamed up to run together.
Running with relative novices, I found out some things I'd forgotten about my progress over the last few years, which was helpful. I also started to realise that I need to run on my own - at least some of the time.
In a group, the pace, distance and scheduling of the run are all dictated by the group. When runners have different abilities, some will be slowed down while other will - hopefully - improve with the encouragement of the group.
There are advantages to the group - increased motivation being the most obvious, and a regular schedule being another.
But I spent a couple of years running solo, practically every day, at my own pace. I never have to consider anyone else when I'm out on my own. I just run where I like, for as long as I like, as fast or slow as I like.
Today, the rest of the group decide to run at time that wasn't convenient for me. So off I went by myself - and it was great! I ran an old route I'd not used for months. It was really tiring, because I've been running shorter distances in general, and at a slower pace.
What am I taking away from today's run? I need to get back into big long runs again, and I need to regularly run on my own, at my own pace, with my own thoughts.
I'm not about to drop out of the group effort, but those weekend session need to include time for me to head for the hills and see the world.
That is why I run, after all.