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Don’t compare yourself to other runners

bayhansbayhans Member Posts: 25 Member Member Posts: 25 Member
Hi all, I’m not sure there’s a specific answer to this since it’s kind of personal, but I’m feeling quite discouraged and could use some encouragement.

I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other runners (or others just in general), but when your self confidence is lacking, it’s much easier said than done. How do you all ignore others’ accomplishments and focus just on your own? How do you see someone start to run months after you’ve been consistently training and then fly by your PR like it’s nothing and not feel like you’re a terrible runner? When you hear someone very close to you talk about how awful their pace is (and quite vehemently calling it awful) and know that their awful pace is your out-of-reach dream pace, how do you not feel like a failure? My best isn’t even as good as their awful.

I put in so much effort and see so little improvement, and it’s discouraging. I know I should focus solely on my own journey, but sometimes I find that very difficult. How do you all do it?
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Replies

  • emmamcgarityemmamcgarity Member Posts: 1,483 Member Member Posts: 1,483 Member
    Strava is definitely a great tool for me to see how my running is progressing and is really helpful. It tells me how my speed is trending when repeating routes. I try to remember that everyone has different talents. At 5’1” I have to take a lot more steps to keep up with someone taller. There will always be someone faster and slower. Finding ways to encourage others also helps me keep things in perspective. Everyone needs a kind word often. I also recently started using the Believe journal to track my goals and training.
  • bayhansbayhans Member Posts: 25 Member Member Posts: 25 Member
    The real question is: How do I feel great about others accomplishments? If I can feel good about others accomplishments, then I can feel good about my own! I have to want good for everyone, not just myself! In that frame of mind, everyone wins!

    I like this a lot. Thank you 😊

  • glennagaelglennagael Member, Premium Posts: 84 Member Member, Premium Posts: 84 Member
    I get a lot of great stuff from the Not Your Average Runner podcast. It's billed for 'mid-life, plus size' women, so not even my exact demographic, but the host can't be beat for her ability to cut right through mental *kitten* and put motivation, accomplishments, and running insights into perspective!
  • jjpptt2jjpptt2 Member Posts: 5,453 Member Member Posts: 5,453 Member
    I unplug from all those outlets that are bringing me down. Instagram, FB, whatever.
  • midgetgrl72280midgetgrl72280 Member Posts: 27 Member Member Posts: 27 Member
    I don't race, I run by myself and I really am happy that I just got out there and did it. Though I'm still getting back into it and my running pace is the pace of a tall person's fast walk, I count it as running. I focus on how good I feel after I am done and how much stronger/better I feel about myself. It's the only thing that makes me feel good about myself even if I can only jog about 5 minutes straight right now.
  • KNocerosKNoceros Member Posts: 279 Member Member Posts: 279 Member
    The real question is: How do I feel great about others accomplishments? If I can feel good about others accomplishments, then I can feel good about my own! I have to want good for everyone, not just myself! In that frame of mind, everyone wins!

    This.
    This is exactly what I was wanting to say, but took half a page to not say!
  • bennettinfinitybennettinfinity Member Posts: 865 Member Member Posts: 865 Member
    I think it's important to keep things in perspective. I'm a middle of the pack runner... I can train hard and be a slightly faster middle of the pack runner, but that's my ceiling - and I'm OK with that.

    For me, the perspective comes in two varieties; 1) Am I seeing progress (any progress) on the areas I'm focusing on? Is a challenging course becoming easier? Are my splits getting faster? etc. and 2) to the extent I compare myself to what other people are doing, I broaden that number to include the people that don't run.

    Just by lacing up your runners and getting outside, you're doing better than the vast majority.
  • emmies_123emmies_123 Member Posts: 513 Member Member Posts: 513 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    Some people are naturally gifted at certain things. My wife is a naturally gifted distance runner and gifted endurance athlete in general. I've always been a pretty lousy distance runner...even in the military where we ran all the time, I was always at the back of the pack. I was, however, a gifted sprinter and jumper and started running club track and field in the 3rd grade...I was briefly ranked 3rd in the state in the 100m my junior year in high school.

    Moral of the story, people can be gifted and good at different things, so there's no use comparing yourself. My wife would blow my doors off on a 5K...and that's ok. I'm good at other things. I can ride circles around her on the mountain bike trails.

    Comparison is the thief of joy.

    I bet there is something you are good at that they are not, that they would be discouraged by if they heard you talking about.

    It is hard, but try to just track your personal records. Maybe keep a log so you can reflect back on the progress you have made, and be kind to yourself. We do this at our gym, with daily challenges each week. Last week i was standing next to a girl waiting to log my 2-min push-up total for the day. I was happy that I had beat my previous week's total by 2. Then she wrote down a number that was 30 higher than my new record. It stung, especially as she was saying she should have done better still. But then I took a breath and reminded myself to just focus on my records. I'll get there one day, no rush to meet the goal tomorrow =)

    Also remember you have different lives, different challenges and accomplishments that have brought you to today.
  • OnedaywriterOnedaywriter Member Posts: 310 Member Member Posts: 310 Member
    One thing to always keep in mind- less than 23% of Americans get enough exercise!! So, although there may be some better runners than you, you’re likely a better runner than 77% of the population right there!!!

    I bought my wife a shirt that says “stronger than yesterday” because she often compares the amount of weight she lifts v others in our gym. You should think “faster (or further or whatever) than last month.”
  • bayhansbayhans Member Posts: 25 Member Member Posts: 25 Member
    glennagael wrote: »
    I get a lot of great stuff from the Not Your Average Runner podcast. It's billed for 'mid-life, plus size' women, so not even my exact demographic, but the host can't be beat for her ability to cut right through mental *kitten* and put motivation, accomplishments, and running insights into perspective!

    Just listened to the most recent podcast and cried through it, in a good way. Thank you for the recommendation!! She said so many things about thinking like a runner that I desperately needed to hear.
  • betsymoomoobetsymoomoo Member, Premium Posts: 71 Member Member, Premium Posts: 71 Member
    My running, isn't even running yet. I try not to think about how other people are doing but it's difficult. I try and focus on how I feel and not how much I wish I was better/faster.
  • glennagaelglennagael Member, Premium Posts: 84 Member Member, Premium Posts: 84 Member
    bayhans wrote: »
    glennagael wrote: »
    I get a lot of great stuff from the Not Your Average Runner podcast. It's billed for 'mid-life, plus size' women, so not even my exact demographic, but the host can't be beat for her ability to cut right through mental *kitten* and put motivation, accomplishments, and running insights into perspective!

    Just listened to the most recent podcast and cried through it, in a good way. Thank you for the recommendation!! She said so many things about thinking like a runner that I desperately needed to hear.

    Oh great!! I'm on my second round listening from her first one, really can't get enough! You've got this, homie.
  • spartan_dspartan_d Member Posts: 726 Member Member Posts: 726 Member
    Just to be contrary, I started landing age group podium spots after I started comparing myself to others more earnestly. I realized, "Those guys are my age and yet they're so much faster than I am. I can train harder and catch up to them."

    Having said that, I don't expect to outdo the best of these guys. They have less muscle than I do, so they weigh less, and they're probably more genetically gifted when it comes to speed. However, comparing myself to some of them (within reason) did help me aim higher and make more progress.
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Member Posts: 3,210 Member Member Posts: 3,210 Member
    At 63, I'm not likely to ever be a fast runner. I can, however, compete with others in my AG and do fairly well. I've seen that by working hard, I continue to improve, even if it's only by a few seconds per mile. For my runs and races, I look at how long I can hold pace, not whether my pace is fast. I look at how I feel at the end, not whether I won an award. Looking at my running log, I am happy when my yearly mileage is more than it was the previous year or when I do more quality runs during a training cycle than I have done in the past. I look at whether I was willing to challenge myself, either in training or racing, or whether I chose to play it safe and do what felt comfortable.

    Focus on the things you can control. You can't change your genes or suddenly gain years of experience, but you can work on your day to day training and take pride in that. How much effort are you willing to put into your running? How much time? If you run for fitness or weight loss, being fast doesn't matter. If you enjoy doing races, are you willing to push your limits or not?
  • dewd2dewd2 Member Posts: 2,445 Member Member Posts: 2,445 Member
    Find others that are your speed (or close to it). Run with them. Have fun. Challenge yourself, not others.

    I often chase faster runners 'because' they're faster. I've been doing this for years. Sometimes I catch up and sometimes they are just too gifted compared to me. But at the end of the day I gave it my best shot and no doubt improved my own fitness because of it. This is a win.

    For 2 years I have been helping a runner get faster. At first he wasn't even close to me. Now he can beat me. I am super proud that I had a small part in this. We're still friends and I still help him (he's faster than he thinks). I get satisfaction at helping others beat me. Weird, I know. However, one of these days when the star align just right I will smoke him in a race B) .

    You be you. Good luck. And HAVE FUN!
    edited January 2020
  • RunnerGirl238RunnerGirl238 Member Posts: 448 Member Member Posts: 448 Member
    The beauty of the running community is that it is a community. Sign up for a race and you’ll see. The commraderie, kindness, love... it’s amazing.

    A runner is a runner is a runner. Comparison can be ok. It can push you to get uncomfortable and pull you through the hardest intervals. But we are all on our own journeys.
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