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One of the best things about being a runner is taking part in the amazing community. I love sharing my favorite physical activity with friends, family and lots of random people on the internet I may never meet but feel connected to nevertheless. However, being a part of an amazing community of runners can sometimes mean that you play the comparison game. You see someone’s amazing race and feel badly about your times. You read another runner’s workout plan and feel the need to step yours up.
If you allow these comparisons to take hold, it can very quickly to get an ugly place. Here are three tips to learning to run your own race:
Set small goals for yourself—and note once you reach them.
If you follow along on my blog, you know that I’ve set an ambitious goal of running a sub-2 half marathon. This would be a huge PR for me and I’m hopeful I’ll hit that goal this fall. However, I’ve been setting lots of mini-goals along the way and when I reach those goals, I feel accomplished. This helps keep me focused on how my running is improving and not getting caught up in a huge goal that may take a while to achieve.
Surround yourself with positive runner friends.
Spend time with folks who will affirm your awesomeness and who don’t make you feel bad about yourself. I’m assuming that your friends don’t make you feel bad, but sometimes there is one friend who is constantly saying things like: “Oh, yeah, it was a terribly slow run. My average pace was 6:30 per mile. Ugh, what a struggle.” Those people don’t mean to bring bad running juju but of course, hearing someone complain about a time that you could never imagine running can be very disheartening. Don’t do it to yourself!
If those first two suggestions don’t work, take a break from social media.
Sometimes, despite all your best intentions, it is easy to keep comparing yourself to others on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If that’s the case, take a break! Log off of social media for a weekend and relax! Realize that typically what people display on social media are their best selves. Not many people take a picture during the middle of their 10 mile run when they are absolutely dying and ready to quit. Taking a break can give you some distance and much needed perspective.
Above all, remember to be kind to yourself. Your pace, your workout, and your progress are all good enough because you are good enough. I know it sounds cheesy, but it turns out that it’s true!