On the Run

6 Tips for Solo Running – From a Solo Running Veteran

Written by Charlie

With social distancing in full effect, here are some tips for solo running. As a solo runner of many years, these have helped me not go crazy on my runs!

For many countries, running/cycling solo is one of the few activities still allowed under the various self-isolation/quarantine policies. If you are in one of those countries, it is time to start your solo running! Here are some tips to help keep you going crazy doing all these runs by yourself! 🙂

Tips for Solo Running – How to Keep it Together on the Run!

Read: Running List of Canceled Marathons

…From a Solo Running Veteran

I have been running solo for more than 5 years – every.single.run. This wasn’t by choice but more due to my location and schedule. Fortunately, I picked up a training partner a few months ago but now we are back to solo runs again. So, I have learned a thing or two about solo running – and am still of a sane mind!

Safety Thoughts

If your locality does not allow running right now, do not go out and do that! Make sure you are following the rules for your city/country. Also, be aware of those that are trying to get some walks in as well. This is especially true in parks – don’t crowd them out and remember to keep your appropriate distance from them.

Head in a Different Direction

Chances are pretty good that you do a couple/few runs a week solo anyway so you probably have your preferred routes. Now that you are doing all your runs on your own, one of the things that can mix it up a bit is to run in a different direction.

Run in a different direction to see something new and keep the run fresh!

This can be taking a totally different route, driving to a new area and running from there, or heading for the trails. One of the great things about trying out a new direction is setting your sights on a place that you have never run to before and to just start running.

Often, one of the big detriments to runs that go on unfamiliar routes in the past is that the traffic can hold you up. Well, there are not as many people out and about now so this is a great time to test out some of those routes.

Try some of these:

  • Trails
  • Drive to a new spot and head out from there
  • Start running in one direction and keep going straight past your normal turn

Tip: If you have one of the latest Garmin watches (like the Fenix 5 Plus series, Forerunner 945, Fenix 6 series), they have mapping features where you can pick various routes. Take a drive to a totally new spot and pull up those routes on your wrist to test out a new area.

Tip #2: Pull up Google Maps and pick some place on the map that looks interesting. You can click for walking directions and it will give you a safe walking route and the elevation profile. You can then share it to your device to track your progress.

Grab a Set of Earbuds and an Audible Subscription

Listening to audiobooks is a great way to pass the time on solo running

While music can keep you going for a bit and works for many, listening to audiobooks is an incredible way to spend time solo running. When I start a book, I will only listen to that book when running. It makes me really look forward to the next run when I am in the middle of an interesting book.

Plus, many books will run from 5 hours to 11 hours or more. That means you can get a week or more out of each audiobook. Not bad!

If you have a watch like an Apple Watch, you can load the audiobook right to your watch. Then, you could leave your phone at home and still listen on the go.

Of course, you could still listen to music but the audiobooks may make the solo running part easier. If you don’t want to pay, podcasts can also be really helpful.

Audible has a deal now where you get 2 free books in the first free month – $14.95 each month after (this may pay me a commission if you sign-up)

Throw in Fartleks, Hills, Intervals, Etc.

Fartleks are “speed play” that let you intersperse some speed workouts into your runs. Basically, you get to just try out different speed routines and vary up your running workouts.

This is something that could go along with your interval workouts or other workouts. You don’t need to turn every run into a workout like this (and you shouldn’t make every run like that either) but if you throw in some intervals/fartleks in the middle of a mid-run/long-run, it can definitely make your run not as boring.

Even if you do not have a race on the horizon (and not many runners do right now), this is a great time to work on workouts now also. It can be hard to do intervals with a running partner at times if you do not share similar paces. Now, you can go at your own paces and get the workouts in!

Hills can be a great way to break things up as well. It is hard to do long hills but going up and down is not just a good workout but will help build your endurance. Hill workouts are also great now if you are not in the middle of a race program since you won’t need to worry about hitting certain paces.

Race Yourself on a Route

With no marathons for quite some time, it is always nice to be able to keep a good edge for a future race. If you are only able to run the same couple of routes, try to race yourself on that route.

Some Garmin watches have the ability to race yourself with a pacing partner on the same routes. Otherwise, just check your time from the last run and try to beat it this time.

Work on Techniques

Some Garmin watches can give you extra training metrics to help with your techniques

Again, no race in the future, no problem! This gives you flexibility to try and improve on some of your techniques. This can include the following:

  • Breathing
  • Stride length
  • Cadence

Fortunately, the watches we have available today can help us with all of that! I know that many Garmin watches can do things check your stride length (may need additional accessory) and cadence. This can be great to work on improving both of those factors.

Breathing is a huge part of running efficiently as well. This can be another time to work on your breathing to make sure you are getting the smooth breaths that can help for more intense workouts.

Get Out There!

When you are not having to go out to meet a running partner, it can be difficult to push yourself out on your own. This can be especially true if you do not have a race right now. I know this is always true for me!

But, if you are working from home now and unable to go to stores/etc, this is an absolutely perfect time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Start pushing yourself to keep a running routine. It will get easier each day and it will become a part of your new schedule.

If you have a smartwatch that has functions like the Apple Watch, use these runs to challenge your friends as well. Use something like Strava to keep up with each other and encourage your running friends in their runs. It will definitely help to give you a kick if you see that your friends are getting out there!

Bottom Line

Right now, solo running is one of the only allowed activities in many parts of the world. It can be lonely but it can certainly be done! Hopefully, the above tips that have worked for me over the years will help you not go crazy on your own solo runs!

All you solo runners – throw in some of your tips and helps below that help you on the run!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • For those that aren’t used to solo running: Bring a phone and ID on every run. Also, as the weather warms, bring fluids with you or be certain that you can obtain fluids as needed.