8020 Certified Coach, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, Shaman in Training

Run for yourself and you will never be disappointed

If youre someone who loves to run, it can be a great way to stay in shape and stay healthy. But its important to remember that when youre running, youre doing it for yourself, not for anyone else.

I got wrapped up in running for others approval and attention.  Unless I broke a course record I was not happy and my training runs were often too fast and when I would get injured all I could think about was how I would suck at the next race.

Winning isn’t a bad thing if you have the head for it.  I didn’t.  I allowed being fast to affect my life negatively and it took years to figure out why I was so unhappy when my only goal was crossing a finish line.  I wish I had seen it sooner but sometimes I  surprised myself and ran much better than I thought I would because I was not focused on my pace and instead on the experience.

When I begin coaching athletes many of them struggle with feeling like they have to place in a certain part of the pack, that they can’t be in the back or that they have to be faster than someone they have decided is their competition.  If it stresses you out and takes more from your life then you should consider reframing your thoughts and feelings about why you race or run.

Competition is natural and to some extent we are all competitive beings but when you allow it to take away joy from your life than it gives, you should take a long look your relationship with competition.  If you can’t run with other people because you need to be the fastest or you can’t do a slower run because you are embarrassed at what people think on Strava you may need to work on your “why”.

If you want to podium and can be okay with however the day plays out then you are doing it right!  When I was racing competitively I was not able to do that and now I want to help people avoid what I struggled with for so many years.

Heres how to run for yourself and nobody else:

1. Set realistic and achievable goals. Running can be a great way to reach a goal, but its important to set goals that are achievable and realistic. Dont set yourself up for failure by making goals that are too difficult.  Do you want to podium or just finish feeling strong?  What do you need to do in order to achieve your goal and can you do it with joy in your heart even if you fail?

2. Focus on your own progress. Its easy to compare yourself to other runners and think that youre not doing as well as they are. But remember that everyone is on their own journey and you need to focus on your own progress and achievements.  You can’t run fast all the time, it will catch up with you and you will either be injured or burnt out.  Use Strava as a game to play once in a while but if you have a specific goal race or event don’t use Strava segments to train.  Most of your runs should be easy and slow.  Trust me, you will be much faster if you put your weekly energy into one specific speed workout instead of every run you do.

3. Dont run to please others. Make sure that youre running for yourself, not to please anyone else. Dont let anyone else pressure you into running more or running faster.  Being a front of the pack runner can bring on expectations from your fans and sponsors.  To many times I have seen people have an incredible run and be absolutely pissed or devastated at the finish line.  (I was one of those people).  I feared rejection by fans and sponsors.  Be happy you did the absolute best you could do that day and if the absolute best wasn’t enough to meet your goal, know that it is okay!  There will always be someone slower than you and faster than you!

4. Dont run to compete if you can’t handle a loss. When youre running, its important to remember that its not a competition with anyone other than yourself.  When you show up you literally give it your best and that doesn’t always mean beating someone else.  I have been there, giving it my all to catch someone at the end of a race only to fall short of taking the win.  I didn’t see it until I stopped racing but giving it my all should have always been good enough.  The truth is sometimes you can’t dig any deeper (I tried that and ended up unconscious at a finish line once).  I was not happy at the time but looking back I literally did the best my body could on that day and am thankful I didn’t end up with any permanent damage.   Dont focus on beating someone elses time or distance, you do you and let them do them.  The stars will align if they are meant to.

5. Enjoy the process. Running can be a great way to clear your head and find some peace. Enjoy the journey and take in the scenery around you. Running for yourself is an important part of staying healthy and happy. Its important to keep in mind that running is for you and nobody else. Setting achievable goals, focusing on your own progress, and enjoying the process can help you stay motivated and keep running for yourself.  Running for yourself can be chasing the podium or chasing cutoffs.  Both are awesome if you do it with true joy in your heart!  So don’t fear failure, fear being unhappy.  Do this running thing for joy and nothing else!

I know what it feels like to be a back of the pack runner, mid pack runner and front of the pack runner.  I know what brings me joy in running and it took a long journey within myself to accept the truth.  I do not enjoy racing others and instead enjoy the social aspect of running.  I have friends who love racing and have a great headspace for it and it is really nice to see that you can have a healthy relationship with competition.

Be happy with where you are, don’t compare yourself to anyone other than who you were yesterday and if you want some help reprogramming your thoughts and your running reach out!  I would love to help you!