The ongoing problem with me and running…or why not to compare yourself to others.
(disclaimer this is not a whinge post I promise, although it may seem like is in the first couple of paragraphs)
Everyone I know who has taken up running is better at it than me. From this I can infer that I am amongst the worst runners in the world.
Well my world which is to say my immediate sphere of reference…which is all I really have to compare it to.
I know people who haven’t run in 15 year then go and run 5km straight off. I know people who can go from not being able to run for a minute to being able to run 10km in less than a year (by which I mean their transition took less than a year, not that they take less than a year to run 10km, they do take less than a year to run 10km but even I can do it in less than a year!). I know people who can run marathons, or 3 marathons in 3 days, or ultramaratons. I know people who claim to be slow/not very good who out pace and out run me every time.
I know people who love running, I know people for whom running is catharsis and not running is as incomprehensible as not breathing!
I am not one of those people.I have tried to be, and there are times when I have even enjoyed running. However there are other times when I hate it. Genuine hate, hate of the pain and the way it makes me feel inadequate. Hate of the boredom that comes with longer distances. Hate of the fact that I just can’t seem to make myself improve beyond a certain point!
The problem I have with running is the comparisons i draw between me and everyone else. Despite all I say and all I have written in the past, despite what I know when I engage logical thought, I can’t break free from the “I should be better at this” and the “I want to be as good as them” mentality.
Deep down on a subconcious level, not being very good at running make me feel like a failure.
There is an unspoken (and sometimes spoken) belief held by a lot of people that getting fit is synonymous with running. Following that to its logical conclusion, there is a belief that to be fit means you can run.
I am writing this to remind myself and to reassure anyone out there who is in the same boat as me, that running is not a prerequisite to fitness. Running is great for fitness, if you enjoy running!
I need to remind myself that there are a multitude of other ways to be fit. I have done Insanity and Insanity max 30…I lift and lift and am getting stronger all the time! I can dance my boots off every day if I need too. It is as pointless to compare myself to runners as it is for a person who runs marathons to compare themselves to Arnie!
I am learning not to compare myself to other people, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. My runner friends are not my competition, the other people I see zooming (or not zooming) are not my competition. My only competition is me!
Now if I could only remember that I’d be set!
Running has grown in my mind into an unscaleable mountain, I need to find a way back to the mindset I had before the half marathon. The one where I was happy being not a runner. I was content to run sometimes when I felt like it.
So from here on out, I am not going to use phrases like “that run was good for me but I know it was crap really” or ” I know I am slow but I am just getting back into it” or even “It is good for me but I am not a runner”
These things just serve to reinforce the negative mindset I have about being bad at running. If there is one thing I know it is that going into anything with a negative mindset you are never going to do it well!
I may run more, I may not, but if I do, I am going into it for the fun of it and to get a little bit better than I used to be.
If nothing else…running makes me a better dancer 🙂