How To Run Solo

By Vanessa Wallace. Vanessa is a 2019 Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon Ambassador, and lover of selfies, cows and dance parties on the run. You can read more from her blog at


I have many friends and follow many social media accounts of people who constantly share about their weekly, or sometimes daily group runs!  When I share with other people that I am a self proclaimed lover of solo running, I often get many responses asking “how on earth can you run that long by yourself?”  I run almost every run, multiple days a week, alone. I’ve run every distance from 2 mile shakeouts to marathons by myself and consider it my happy place. I realize though that is not the norm for everyone!  While part of my love of solo running is simply because it is a personal preference, I’ve found some great ways to love solo running even more, and ways to encourage those who are seeking the motivation to lace up and get out alone when there isn’t someone waiting to meet you!


Listen to something great

I find that the miles pass by really quickly when I have a good playlist or audiobook in my ears.  I’ve invested in a great pair of headphones that make it easy to hear my surroundings, as well as the ability to tune into something that will get me through whatever workout.  What do I tune into on my headphones, you ask?

  • Listen to unique music that you don’t normally listen to during the day.  When I trained for my first marathon, I listened to the cast recording of the Hamilton musical during my long runs which engaged me through a storyline and made the miles fly by!  I love tuning into a good cast recording while on the run, and hearing an entire audio performance of Broadway performers!
  • Listen to an audiobook.  I only listen to my audiobooks when I am running, so if I hit a good point in my book when I stop, it makes me excited for the next time I get to lace up so I can hear what’s next!
  • Listen to a great playlist.  I love the Mixcloud app because it is free playlists of all different lengths, where DJ’s mix their music looping into song after song.  It is nonstop, and so you don’t ever have a silence gap between songs and feel motivated to keep going!


Map out new places

I love to explore new places.  Utilizing different apps (such as the Alltrails app), running races at places I’ve never been to before, or finding new places by asking around in my online running groups, helps to keep my runs exciting by exploring new territory.  It makes it an adventure to do my solo runs.


Give yourself some kudos

I love giving myself some personal bravos by posting on my social media when I complete a run!  This helps to keep me motivated and accountable. If you’re not someone who utilizes social media, a sticker chart, calendar or white board is a great way to feel that sense of accomplishment to cheer for yourself after achieving a solo run and give yourself a personal high five!


Mix up your running

Mixing up your running will keep it exciting. In my training schedule, I add in different types of runs which makes me excited to tackle what is on the weekly training calendar.  For example, some days call for speed drills, while other days call for tempo, easy or a long run. Also, I think differently about the goal of each run. Some days I like to focus on time rather than for a certain number of miles that need to be accomplished. Or I map out my route ahead of time so I am not focused on the miles but focused on the route I’ve planned. Variety is the spice of my running life!


Keep it fun!

I love having solo fun while I’m running!  Taking photos of neat things I see along the way, waving to other runners and walkers I see, and a good dance party during my run always helps keep my miles, whether the are 2 or 20, fun while I’m out on the road or the trail by myself!

Are you training solo for the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon? Use hashtag #BiofreezeBHM and #RunBerkeley to stay connected with the online community. Or head over to the Strava page of 2019 Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon and start a discussion with other BBHM trainees. Cheers to solo running!

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