Runner lure: Evaluate your self to different runners
Whether you are new to running or a seasoned runner, you may get drawn into the comparison game. Whether you are comparing yourself to other runners or comparing yourself to a different version of yourself, this is a very real trap that people find themselves in.
The battle within
While some of our reasons for running as runners may be similar, most of us have personal reasons for running. This can be anything from losing a few pounds to managing stress. Getting into better cardiovascular shape, hanging out with friends, and getting some fresh air are common reasons people run.
There are also athletes who always strive to get better, to achieve more and to hit faster time goals with each race. Of course, not every run can be a personal record (PR), can it? It goes without saying that if you hit a PR every time you run you will eventually run out of time. And no matter the distance, there is a world record for a reason. You're reaching the point where the human body just can't run faster.
Most of us have no problem comparing ourselves to elites. Makes sense, doesn't it? The elites are professional athletes. You get paid to run, lift, and do core work. Time is often invested right in their training schedule to rest, take a nap, and put your feet up. We mere mortals usually have little things called jobs that tell us to keep ourselves from this type of running.
But what about that friend who manages to do all the things and makes you feel like you should do it differently? Better?
When I reached out to my running community to compare it with other runners, it became clear that there are quite a few different camps here.
A group of runners sees other people post faster times and start to feel insecure. In fact, leadership groups in some online running groups do not recommend posting split times during group runs as others may fear appearing in the group.
Looking at other people's race times can affect you in a number of ways. For some runners, this can lead to a feeling of inferiority. This can be especially the case if the runner you are comparing yourself with is the same age or older than you. However, this has a downside.
If you have a different mindset, you may find the quick times and divisions incredibly motivating! If you see someone else beating PRs and winning medals (aka BLING!) This could help you cop out Heavier.
I wonder if you should train harder …
One thing that social media has been doing is providing information to all of us right away. Since some people post every workout for personal reasons, other athletes have trouble wondering if they can keep up.
It's important to remember that everyone has different circumstances. Perhaps they can run a high volume week with no injuries while falling apart a certain number of miles. You may get shin splints when walking on a hard surface. Whatever the reason their exercise plan is different than yours, they have their reason, and you have yours.
A lot of my friends work with a treadmill. I had worked hard to hit a time goal and decided to find a coach. I spent a summer working with a personal trainer and exercising under a treadmill. Have I got faster? Absolutely. I also built muscle in places where I forgot I had muscles.
But do you know what else happened? It sucked the joy from my running. Make no mistake: my coach was great. He was encouraging and every week he tailored the workout for me. He looked at every breakup I hammered out, complimented me and encouraged me every step of the way.
Why was I unhappy? Because I didn't run for joy anymore. As I looked at the schedule for that day, it seemed like something I needed to achieve rather than something I wanted to achieve. Do you know what I learned? That I needed more flexibility in my schedule than was possible with a trainer.
To be honest, I haven't run with a trainer any more than without. Was it the pressure to record every workout? Did it lose its decision-making power on a particular day? Whatever it was, it didn't work for me. In the words of Marie Kondo, if it doesn't bring any joy, let go of it.
Relive the glory days
If you are a former outstanding distance or cross-country skier, you can compare your times today with those of the past. It is not fair to who you are today to expect the same of yourself. Remember, many things change as you get older.
You might have nice PRs from a year ago, but then life happened. It doesn't matter how long (or lately) you look back, you can't beat yourself up for not being the exact same person or caliber of runner forever.
Whether it was an injury that incapacitated you, your marriage, your children, your career, or something else, we all make decisions. When we try to find the balance in our life, sometimes something has to give. Sure, some people manage to balance a killer career, their kids seem perfect, and they still seem to do a BQ marathon every year.
Don't compare yourself to them. You do you!
Are you sure you are comparing apples to apples?
You wouldn't expect an orange to taste like an apple, would you? Of course not. What's my point If you compare yourself to someone other than runner, whether it's how fast, how far, or how much they run, you may be comparing apples to oranges.
There are many different factors that can affect a runner's performance. Some of the factors that contribute to this are age, injury history, general physical health, body shape and size, previous experience with athletics, etc.
Why bring up all of this? Because if you're a 50-year-old new runner with chronic knee problems from your college basketball days, chances are you're not going to run like someone half your age. You may not run as well as someone your exact age. Or maybe yes? The point is that if you get it right, you are only working on being the best version of yourself.
Life in the here and now. Keep working hard. Find joy in the moment and on the run.
Don't beat yourself up because you are not perfect.
Run happy friends!