Oh boy, I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings on this one, but I’ve got a mixed opinion. I realized this weekend, that training groups are everywhere! It seems like everyone is in one these days. I kinda think that I cannot imagine shelling out the money to join one. But, I do admit I have thought “Would I accomplish my goals easier if I was in a group?” It is definitely easier to do some of the long stuff with other folks and not on my own. but, I live my life was the perpetual kid that ditches the pep rallies and makes fun of student council, so you can understand why doing it on my own is more my style. When I did my first marathon, I made a training plan based on some Runner’s World articles, some running books, and some websites. I couldn’t do long runs on weekends, and what I did worked for me. the distance challenge was awesome to help me build up mileage. I ran a really good first marathon, and didn’t do a single run with another person, or really even have anyone to talk to it about. I do have friends that have done groups and really enjoyed it though. On the down side…it seems like running gets more and more expensive. Start paying for a coach, a heart rate monitor, a gym membership to do post run pilates, and suddenly it is a really expensive hobby. I used to buy shoes on clearance, wear old shorts, and do 1 or 2 races a year. Now that is a cheap hobby. There is something to be said about having friends to run with though….I went many years in austin running alone because I didn’t know anyone who ran. I also have the good fortune of starting to run as a teenager. it is much easier to start a high mileage running program as a scrawny teenager with endless energy. I imagine as an adult with a couple extra pounds it is a little more intimidating (now I am that adult, but I am already running, so I do not really worry about the couple of extra pounds that I seem to have..oh well). I suppose for me it comes down to my running time is a time away from the daily rat race and to challenge myself. Sometimes, it is nice to go at it alone. I have met some wonderful, lifelong friends through running, and it is nice to have the flexibility to run with who I want when I want. I think for me the verdict is whatever you need to do to keep yourself active and happy…..go for it! this is a picture of my favorite training parter….a little black and white dog!