One thing that many runners struggle with, at least on occasion, is playing the comparison game.
The comparison game can be played on a variety of different fronts.
Pace. Mileage. Finishing place.
Whatever the metric, playing the comparison game isn’t a good thing.
It doesn’t matter if we are talking about social media, a local 5k, or a high school cross country meet, the only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself.
Sadly, that’s easier said than done.
On pretty much every front.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
I’ve talked about the comparison game a few times.
Typically, I’ve come at the comparison game from a social media perspective.
No arguments there.
That said, I think the in-person comparison game may be a bit more difficult to deal with than social media.
Because as pervasive as social media is, you can turn a blind eye to those that you’re comparing yourself to negatively.
If you don’t scroll too much on Strava or FB or IG, then you might not see that someone ran faster than you or farther than you.
Sometimes ignorance being bliss isn’t a bad thing.
In-person, it’s a little more difficult to ignore reality.
Especially if the reality is that you’re near the back of the pack, or maybe even in contention for finishing DFL, on race day.
You Can’t Control Who Shows Up
If I may be so bold, please allow me to bring a bit of logic to this conversation.
Your finishing place on race day, whether you’re first or last, is largely outside of your control.
Because it all depends on who shows up.
You can run your best race ever, finishing with a massive PR, but if a bunch of fast people show up you might still end up DFL!
On the flip side, you can have a pretty poor race day performance.
But if the only people that show up are markedly slower than you are, you can still finish first.
Not for nothing, but that’s the only reason your boy has ever finished first overall at a race.
Look, I’m not going to pretend like finishing last, or darn close, isn’t a bit of a hit to the ego.
Admittedly, I don’t know what that feels like.
I’m sure it can be deflating. Maybe even more than a bit deflating.
But finishing last on race day isn’t a reflection on you as a runner at all.
Keep Showing Up
If you’ve ever struggled with your finishing place on race day in relation to the rest of the field, please keep showing up.
Keep putting in your miles in training. Keep signing up for races. And keep toeing the line on race day.
Focus on the aspects of our sport that you enjoy.
How you feel after a good run. The time you’re able to spend with your friends. The sense of pride as your fitness improves and you find yourself doing more than you’ve ever done before.
And if at all possible, stop playing the comparison game.
Because that’s a game that no one can win…
How Much Do You Think About Your Finishing Place on Race Day?
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