Why you shouldn't compare yourself to others

One of the many things I love about running is the fact that while you are surrounded by thousands of other runners you’re only racing against yourself. You can chat to runners at the beginning of the race about your training plans, your diet, your new kit and none of it is competitive (in my experience anyway). The runners there alongside you at the start aren’t there to race you, they are there to race themselves, smash their PB and reach their own personal goal.

I’m very competitive. Trust me, when it comes to a game of Articulate that is mixed with a few wines I don’t even recognise myself. However, when it comes to running I know that I won’t offend anyone with my competitive nature, because I’m playing against myself.

Here are a few reasons why you should never compare yourself to another runner.

1. You’re on your own journey

That journey might be to loose weight, run 5k, run up a hill without stopping, or run a 100 miler. It doesn’t matter how far your friend ran or how fast they ran, if you reached your own personal goal then you are winning.

2. Not everyone is built the same

Very rarely there will be two people who eat the same, have the same body type, same stamina, same mental focus required to run a race. We’re all different and there are so many factors that make up those differences. To compare yourself to your mate Steve from work who is on a Paleo diet, is 6ft 5 and runs barefoot while listening to motivational speakers on a podcast would be ridiculous. Going back to GCSE science, it wouldn’t be a fair test.

3. Speed and distance aren’t everything

You might come across someone in the running community who is able to run a super fast 10k straight off the back, with very little training, and if you’re just starting out trying to run 1 mile without stopping you might feel inferior- don’t! This is your Everest. If you pull on your running shoes, plug in a playlist and run, you my friend are a runner just the same- we all start somewhere.

My advice is, whether you’re a seasoned pro at running, or if you’re a complete newbie, write down your personal goals and compare yourself in a few months to you now. That is a fair test. Take pictures, record times, measure yourself.

It can be so tempting to get caught up worrying about how other people are running farther, or faster than you. If you hear old Steve from work saying he ran 10 miles at the weekend and you finally reached your goal of running the hill you’ve struggled with, then you’re doing just as well.

Set your own goals, focus on yourself, keep running and smash it.

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