I need to take my own advice on this one!
One thing that I love about running is that it is an individual sport, that works really well if you do it with other people. Running goals are usually based on what your previous best was, and what you want your next best to be. You can quantify that in any way you want.
Traditionally, running is measured in distance or speed, ie: the time it takes you to complete a 5k. However, you can really measure in any way you please. For instance, last summer when I was working on getting faster as a runner, I decided to run home from work once a week to see if I could get home before I would by bus (different route obvi, I’m not THAT fast)! The thought of my dog waiting for me in the living room and my patio chair on the deck was motivation to help with my goal of shaving time off my daily commute. Choose measures that work for you, and compare yourself to yourself and nobody else.
This brings up a topic that has been on my mind lately as a few team members have reached the 10k mark in training. When I first started running with Team Myles, there was a group of ladies that called ourselves the “Middle Mylers”. We were not the slowest or the fastest on the team, but somewhere in the middle. We were proud of our middle-mylerness. However, I have always been one to compare myself. So, when other Team Myles members were able to reach the 10k point when we were doing a 65 or 70 min workout, and I was nowhere near that, I got down on myself.
I would be lying if I said I don’t still do that. I have found runner-friends who have been running much longer, farther and faster than me, and they help motivate me to do that too someday. However, for full disclosure, I get hypercritical of myself if I take a longer time to meet the same type of goal. It’s silly, but it’s just what I do sometimes when things go dark and twisty.
I think it’s important to put everything in perspective. Running is totally relative. Two years ago I would bus the length of two bus stops instead of just walking. Now, I’m running 30kms/week including speed work. I’ve gotten faster, I’ve become more comfortable with longer distances, and I’ve learned how to set achievable goals and blow them out of the water. That’s nothing to shake your head at whatsoever.
Running has taught me to look to myself for motivation. I try to put things in perspective this way. I have milestones that I think about, like the time I cried on the side of Brunswick St. because I ran 10k for the first time, or the time I collapsed into my friend’s arms, sobbing after a race finish because I beat my goal by 2 minutes. That’s such a thrill! Who cares what everyone else is doing at that point – I earned those moments through sheer hard work and determination.
So team – allow me to be a hypocrite and to tell you not to compare yourself to others. Everybody struggles for their goals. Let your triumphs be YOUR triumphs. Let your progress be YOUR progress. Let your running be YOUR running. Nobody can take those achievements away from you, so why let comparing yourself to others keep you from seeing them?
Food for thought ☺️