It’s time for another Tuesdays on the Run post and the question that we’re addressing today is “what is the best running advice you’ve received?”.
I think the best running advice – or advice in general when it comes to competitive sports – I have ever received is that you have to run your own race and be the best runner YOU can be.
There is really no use (or point or reason) to compare yourself with other runners, although I am all too aware that we all tend to do that from time to time. It’s hard not to.
Not playing the comparison game was easier when I just ran occasionally as one (of many) types of leisure exercise. I didn’t pay attention to pace or distances much. The competitiveness started to come out when I committed to my first training plan and then signed up for a race. I mean, if you sign up for a race, how can you not compare your training and pace to others? It’s what you do.
A race, of course, is a competition, so you’ll want to try to perform your best and possibly “win”. What that really means though is NOT crossing the finish line first (although for some people that might be their goal and their reality), but crossing that finish line at all and striving to achieve your personal best.
But here’s the thing: we are all on our own journeys. You might be running for years or just started out. You might be a natural runner or someone who has to work hard for every mile. There are sprinters and endurance runners. Professional athletes and amateurs. You can not compare chapter 2 of your journey to someone else’s chapter 20.
I am always trying to remember that. I sometimes get discouraged when I see other people post their race times or training paces. They complain of “having a slow run” when they’re running a pace that I could only dream of right now. But I also know that my pace might seem fast to someone else. It’s really all a matter of perspective, because I know that I can achieve progress and that I have gotten faster in the comparatively short time that I’ve been running. That is what I should focus on.
So, have fun, run your own race, compete with yourself, beat your own records, because this is the only way you can really win. That’s the best running advice I have received and pass on to others.