Sunday, February 4, 2018

I'm Content


The comparison game is a bunch of crock.

I think we've all played it to some extent (at least I know I have). We've played this stupid game as women, as moms, as friends, as community volunteers, as wives, and as athletes. And, quite frankly, I'm done with it.

 Enter the genre of running and it can get especially tricky. It's really quite ridiculous, after all, to compare one's running abilities, aspirations, or goals to those of others. After all, we have different genetic makeup, varying degrees of "free" time (for training), and we all are driven by different stimuli.

I have long contemplated the sport of running, and I have tried to be a "real" runner. It's only in recent years that I finally realized we all define "real runner" by our own individual goals and aspirations. And, finally, in recent years, I have achieved true contentment with MY running.




Here are some key running "things" that I have reached total contentment with (and some of these are in sharp contrast to what I see on social media):

Low mileage is my gig. Simply put, high mileage does not work for me.  Indeed, it is a nice surprise when the high mile numbers happen all on their own and I haven't risked injury to experience those very miles. I just know for me, though, I do much better with low mileage. I don't know if I'm just blessed with a body that does not need excessive mileage to prepare for a race, or if I'm just injury-prone if I run too much. I do know that the few times I have tried high-mileage training for a big race, I have toed the start line in an injured state from over-training, and those big races were near disasters.

I'm not PR driven. Of course, I love a shiny, new PR as much as the next person. Having run for upwards of 13 years, though, the newness of the sport has worn off and I have sort of plateaued. Please, don't feel sorry for me. I have not necessarily gotten slower, but it has gotten increasingly more difficult to get "faster" without putting in a lot more hard work than when I first started. I respect that some runners thrive on that kind of a conquest, but I have moved beyond that. I simply no longer need those PR's to validate myself as a legit runner anymore (but I do welcome them with open arms on the rare day that all the stars, moons, and planets align).

I do not have gadget OCD. I seldom wear my watch for training runs (unless I'm actually trying to hit specific paces for speed drills). I am very familiar with the routes I run, and my pace is pretty consistent (another byproduct of nearly 13 years of running)...I can head out on a 3-mile route and run it with an approximate 9-minute pace without really thinking about it. I can also run an easy-paced #5at5 (five miles at 05:00) in a near-perfect 50:05 minutes. So what if I'm not exact on my splits? Maybe I'd rather enjoy the scenery instead of focusing on the stats on my wrist.

I am not impressed with the stats of others. It's not that I'm envious (well, not much LOL), but I seldom look at the pace/miles/distance stamped across the selfies on social media. Again, it's the comparison thing. I realize some are motivated and inspired by seeing how far other runners are running and exactly how fast (or slow?) they're doing it.....but why? Are they running the exact same route as you? Did they get as little (or as much) sleep as you did the night before? Is their weather as hot (or cold) as yours? Are they the same height as you, with the exact same size feet? Are they following the same training plan?

I prefer my long runs to be on Saturdays. That's right, I'm one of the few that does not do the Sunday-Runday thing. I do short, shakeout runs (sometimes) on Sunday, but I prefer to do the bulk of my weekend running on Saturday and have Sunday as my real "day of rest."

I love doing races of all distances instead of focusing on one specific goal race. What can I say? Variety is the spice of my running life. Maybe that's why I'm not PR'ing very often now days - because I'm not actually training for it (LOL). One time, I had a friend tell me that if they were gonna spend the money on a race, they were gonna "make it worthwhile" and run that race hard. Hmmmm. I'd rather focus on the race itself and not so much on my finish time. Bottom line, neither of us were wasting our money; we simply both had very different goals.


So, there you go...just some random thoughts on this journey of mine in my running shoes. One thing that sets the sport of running apart from others is that we all get to do it OUR way. Sure, many of us train with friends, and compete (friendly) among one another...but most of us have our own preferences and unique abilities. Instead of emulating the achievements of others, why not celebrate your own accomplishments?

Talk to me...Have  you ever found yourself trapped in the comparison game? Have you ever tried to follow another runner's customized training plan, but had disastrous results? Low mileage or high mileage? Fast racing or enjoying-the-moment running?

**I'm  linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.  Join the conversation!

**I'm linking this with Deb for the Wednesday Word...today's word is content. 

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner.

45 comments:

  1. Its so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap when using social media. At this point I have learned to only focus on my own running, since Ive realized that to me its much more important to not be injured than to worry about mileage or paces. While its nice to see progress, I figure that may happen from consistent running. I also prefer long runs on Saturdays!

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    1. Yes, injury-free is more important than bragging rights about excessive miles ;-)

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  2. Ha! Great minds. I'm not a jealous person. Honestly running has given me so much, I don't covet anything...besides an entry to the London Marathon :D. I don't mean this in a bad way but I simply don't care what paces or how many miles others are running. Someone else's "more" does not make me "less". I rarely share my paces etc because they are meaningless to anyone but me, and these days they're pretty meaningless to me as well. Haha!

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    1. Your comment "someone's "more" does not make me "less" is golden. I share my pace stats (sometimes) for races (ha! because I might actually have them!), but for every training run? Nah...TMI.

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  3. What's that saying? Run your own race? It's nice to see that you don't play the comparison game!

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    1. Well, I used to play the game, not necessarily intentionally, but I'd by in denial to say it didn't happen LOL I'm glad I've moved past that.

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  4. Right now, I would like to PR in the marathon distance at my race next month, but other than that I'm not really PR driven with any other distances. I do think that it makes running a little more enjoyable.

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    1. Absolutely! For me, it's exhausting to be focused on every 1/4 mile and worrying about hitting/missing that "projected" pace yadda yadda yadda. I have a much better experience not dwelling on all those numbers

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  5. I can honestly say that I have never played the comparison game when it came to running. I started running just so I could spend time with family and travel to cool places. It turned out that I liked the sport for what it was and the feeling of accomplishment. I am happy for those that are speedy, but like Shania Twain says "that don't impress me much"...haha only because runing isn't really my "thing" in life. I have other aspects that I want to excel in that are more important to me. Does that make sense? Thanks for a great post Kim!

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    1. I totally get your "that don't impress me much" comment. I agree with you, too LOL

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  6. This is so me.

    I never wear a watch when I train.

    I have zero goals.

    I race all distances.

    I play tennis. I value time with friends and family.

    And so I am content.

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  7. Content is just such a great word!!! It kind of makes my whole body just relax!

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  8. The comparison trap is such a pressure cooker. I've reached the point now where I do my own thing. I'm fine with lower mileage and shorter races. I did the half marathon thing, but I'm having more fun not going as far.

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    1. It takes awhile to figure out your own thing (for some people). There's pressure to do what everyone else is doing.

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  9. I love this post! I have been running for quite some time, and it's been so much harder to PR in races...and if I do, it's by a minute or 2 - vrs when I first started running, I would PR by 10+ minutes on long distance races. I even took a half hour off my time between my 1st and second marathon! While I would love that to happen, I don't see it happening anytime in my future...and I also don't feel like killing myself, either. We do this for fun at the end of the day!

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    1. My thoughts exactly! Maybe if I trained real hard five days/week, and did endless speed work, I'd see some decent PR's.....but, honestly, I don't want those PR's that bad to over-train for them.

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  10. I love this! You're right, running is doing it OUR way :)

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  11. You'll notice I rarely post IG selfies or paces. I used to post paces to encourage slower runners, but then I realized, quite frankly, like you, others' paces don't really motivate me.

    I still love a PR, though, what can I say? And I'll probably always run with a watch running (but that doesn't necessarily mean I watch it except for each mile to know to drink a little bit).

    However, I very much doubt if I never got another PR that I would stop running. Or that I'm even counting on any PRs this year, other than my 18.12 race assuming I finish it. :)

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    1. When I do wear a watch, it's more to gauge my distance if I'm running a different route. I've never been much of a stats-on-the-run kind of runner LOL

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  12. I really love this post. The comparison game is definitely one of my weaknesses. I don't necessarily compare myself to others all the time, but sometimes I'm my own worst enemy and I compete with myself...ridiculous!

    And I didn't know it was weird to do your long runs on Saturdays - I'm with you on that!

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    1. I don't think it's weird to run on Saturdays, either, but it seems the majority of people do their long runs on Sundays (?).

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  13. Girlfriend I am right there with you on Saturdays. I loooooooooooooove resting on Sundays, and I actually get cranky when my Saturday is too busy for a long run!!

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    1. ha ha...I sometimes get a brief taste of panic when the weather forecast shows undesirable weather on Saturday LOL

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  14. These are the exact reasons why I know we would be perfect friends! I am so not pushed into the higher mileage is better thinking and I really have no interest in chasing PR's at my age. I am content as well to be the best I can be for me. Great to hear your thoughts too

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    1. Thanks, Deborah ;-) It took me awhile to figure out that I had to do this running thing on my own terms and not let myself get caught up in what everyone else was doing. I have a friend who thinks she has to run every day, no matter what...and she's constantly got bandaged toes and gimps along. I realize it's her relaxation time, and that's what she knows. She probably thinks I'm just lazy in not running every day LOL

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  15. There is so much on Social Media that you can't believe (subject for another post) So, I agree, it is definitely not wise to compare yourself to anything you find there. On the other hand, I do think there are honest people who post their stats as a source of accountability or just in hopes of receiving encouragement from others.

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    1. Social Media is merely a glimpse into what's really happening in our lives (that IS a great subject for another post LOL). I agree with the accountability....that's why I post about not just my great runs, but also my "challenging, character-building" ones as well ;-)

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  16. You do you!

    I prefer my long runs on Saturdays as well. Then I can rest and recover and maybe do some yoga on Sunday and enjoy time with family!

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    1. Yes, Saturday is definitely my preferred say for the serious stuff. It feels so great to get it done (usually early in the morning!) and then have the entire remaining weekend to chill.

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  17. I get PR hungry every now and again. I like being competitive with myself. And I like high mileage, too. I just like testing my limitations. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. :) But I also like not doing anything so there's that. (That's called laziness, my friend. And I have a strong pull to the lazy side...)

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    1. Oh, I enjoy PR's, too...I'm just done constantly seeking a new one each time I pin on a race bib. A glutton for punishment? I would have to agree with that #burpees ;-)

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  18. Comparison truly is the thief of joy!!! I need I take a page from your book on this one!

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    1. Comparison is ugly. I try to keep it out of my life (or at least under control). No bueno.

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  19. I do as much of my running as possible M-F...including the long (or "long" runs). I love running, but I also love having my weekends free.....

    I like short road races, but long trail races. I hear that means I will never reach my "full running potential", but potential for what, anyway?

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    1. I hear ya.....I can see people rolling their eyes when I talk about running a race for the fun experience of it....like, it's just assumed everyone in a "race" is racing it to win. Ummm, most of us are not training for the Olympic trials, right?

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  20. I am definitely an enjoy the moment runner! My blog is Enjoying the Course, after all. I'm not immune to the comparison game, though, but I think I do a pretty good job of being my own kind of runner.

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    1. I love the name of your blog! It's perfect!!

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  21. I would argue that you are confident, not content. You don't need to worry yourself with others' stats because deep down you know you're a badass.

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    1. Ha ha, thanks! I had not thought of it that way ;-)

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  22. Good for you for being content with your own accomplishments and abilities. You're right, its very easy to play the comparison game with the frequency that people post on social media. But as long as you focus on yourself and what you're able to do then I'm sure you'll be quite happy with what you accomplish.

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  23. I am soooo glad to read that I'm not the only one who does the long run on Saturday! I just love to start my weekend that way and knowing that I have lots of time to rest and relax afterwards. That way, I can also start the new week with a run on Monday (I try to have a rest day after long runs). Anyway, thanks for sharing those "confessions", found myself in a lot of them!

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  24. Great post, Kim! I do enjoy seeing other people's times/splits, etc. from the perspective of, "Oh cool, we run the same pace so we could be running buddies." I am a total gadget geek and LOVE my Garmin, Fitbit, GoPro, etc I used to run highly weekly mileage (50 miles/week) for several years back when I ran three or four marathons per year. My body responded well at the time, but these days I'd be injured before the end of the first week!

    Thanks for linking up!

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