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Compare Yourself To No One

Posted Mar 30 2012 8:49am

When I was in college running cross-country and track, I would go weeks without taking a day off. Literally. We ran 2 a days, tons of speed workouts, and of course, long runs. It was completely normal to get out, even on an easy day, and just run a quick 5 miles – no biggie. I was topping out at weeks close to 70 miles. It was insane.

In the beginning, I struggled to keep up – on easy runs, on long runs, and definitely on speed workouts. It was incredibly hard, both mentally and physically, to train with women that I am pretty sure were born to run. I do not have that God-given talent of quick speed and fast legs. I had to work so much harder, and really only get about 2/3 as far as the girls did. I never earned a scholarship. I was always considered a “walk on.”

My first ever college race!

I gained a lot of experience in those years that I ran on a NCAA Division 1 Cross Country and Track Team. I learned that different workouts are better for different distances. I learned that Mile Repeats and Tempo Runs should never be ignored. I learned that teammates can help you get through good times and bad, terrible runs and great runs. I learned that you can push your body way harder than you ever imagined possible. What’s the biggest thing I learned in my time at UCF? That I can never compare myself to anyone else.

Waiting for the gun to go off

If I showed up to practice every day, focusing only on how the other girls could kick my butt up and down the track, I would never have made it as far as I did. It would have been detrimental to my running career if I focused on how they were all amazing runners, and I was at the back of our pack. Instead, I gave it my all every single day. Every day I was up before the sun, completing the same workouts as the rest of the team. We all had the same strength workouts, easy runs, and fun runs.

My favorite group of running ladies!

I really have to credit my tough mental attitude to running with people who were much faster than I was back in college. My teammates taught me more about myself than I had ever realized. That college experience prepped me to continue to run for years to come – to deal with the lots of highs and plenty of lows as well.

My last 5k I PR'd in - my face says it all!

So what is it that I am really getting at… don’t compare yourself to anyone else when you are running (or any other time for that matter). You run a certain pace because you run that pace. Not because you are slow, fast, more, or less talented than everyone else. You are the way you are. Embrace it! Compete against yourself. Push yourself  in your next race. Don’t worry about beating the friend you run with occasionally, or the person you see at every race. Work hard for you, and everything else will fall into place.

Do you catch yourself comparing your running talent to others? Does it help or hurt your running? I would love your input :)

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