It gets to that point of any road race where the elite runners shoot off, the slower runners / walkers start lagging behind me and I find my spot among others who run/walk at the same pace as what I do.
Running a 21.1km race alone is tough. There’s no one to chat to. There’s no one to push you and no one but yourself to keep you motivated. So every now and then, I look around and strike up a conversation with those around me. The thinking is that we must* be doing the same pace so we might as well get to the finish line together. But that’s not always right. I learnt this lesson during the recent Johnson Crane half marathon.
It was close to the 14km mark and I found myself running next to a guy who ‘appeared’ to be running at 8mins/km (my pace). I was doing a run/walk strategy of 800m run/200m walk at the time and he joined in. We chatted away and my spirits lifted as I started to think that we would get each other to the end. It wasn’t meant to be. He started to struggle on the 800m runs and requested we walk a lot sooner. I gave in too easily and we landed up walking 800m and running 200m for about 2kms. But eventually I realized that he was holding me back so I waved goodbye and ran off.
Reflecting on the race (and analyzing as I do), I realized that it was really great to run a part of the race with him. I enjoyed it. It’s the one thing I long for is a running partner. But another part of me acknowledges that he was not right for me and was slowing me down. It just shows how quickly my running strategy changed to accommodate someone else. It was a horrible feeling leaving this poor guy behind, but I had to do it.
How quickly in life we accept situations which are not what we wanted. We get into relationships which are not right for us. We fall in to a comfort zone and make excuses. Sometimes, those we are with are on a different path and will hold us back. Choices we make will either slow us down or get us to the finish line a lot quicker. It’s deciding what you want more that matters.
(By the way, if you run at 8mins/km, I’m looking for a running partner.)
I train alone and in races I spend 90% of the time running by myself. The other 10% of the time I run with familiar faces (attached to familiar takkies) before I either wish them good luck on their race (to give them the out to carry on at their own pace and go ahead) or to tell them that I’m sure I’ll see them a little later on (to give me the excuse to carry on – and inevitably not see them again). We all run at different paces so it’s difficult to find someone that will be so in sync with us that we can run together for 21 km or longer. If you do, one runner is always trying to keep up and the other is always holding back a bit (however minute that difference might be). Sometimes running together with someone and nattering helps the km’s pass by quicker on those long races but sometimes it’s just great to run by yourself without any pressure. I do love to see friends out on the course (and I look out for them) but when I do it’s usually a case of checking in with them, smiling, having a quick chuckle and carrying on (either ahead of them or mostly behind them).
And in the shorter races (up to 21km) I usually like to run all the way in my own one-paced plod. Others will stop and walk at every table but I just like to keep going. Inevitably they still finish ahead of me but that’s just my style and personal running preference. It may be a flaw when it comes to longer races but I just love to run and run and run and run……
I guess it depends on the race. Sometimes it is more important to get to the line, others it is more about the company.
I do think that we are oftentoo willing to give up or compromise on our own goals though, just so we are not alone. Its a tough call to make.
Your comments always make me think. And while driving home from work, I really thought about what you said. I realised that in one breath, i’m always complaining that I have no one to run with, but then other times, I don’t see that perhaps my motivation and support helps others out on the road. So ya. I guess it’s a choice as to what matters most on the day. Some days I don’t care about my time, but more about the people.
This is rather deep for hump day. But I agree with you when it comes to running. Not life in general.
When I run I end up by myself as I normally can’t run with my training partners they are just to fast.
I will chat to anybody and everybody. But they must keep to my pace. If they are to slow they get left behind. If they are too fast and I can’t maintain the pace they run ahead.
But the fun is chatting to plenty of new runners and old faces every race.
I felt so bad after I wrote this blog post. It felt like I came across like this marathon runner and the dude was not good enough to keep up with me. So thanks for your comment. It made me feel better reading it in some one else’s words. “But they must keep to my pace”. And I agree… it is fun chatting away, especially because you start seeing the same old faces at all the runs.
Bronwyn running is a selfish sport and even trying to run races with your friends gets tough. If you feel good you need to go.
No runner will ever hold that against you. Remember you run for yourself not for others. And no body has the right to hold that against you ever. Except if I promoised to run with you and leave you halfway through the run. That is offsides and not acceptable.
I am trying to get into this whole running thing. How did you manage to build up the consistency?
Shaynil S. Lalla | Accenture Financial Services | Tel +27 11 208 4242 | Mobile +27 72 397 0500 | E-mail email@example.com|
Hi Shaynil. I guess for me, it’s become a way of life so i have managed to make time for it in my week. It also helps that my hubby and friends also run so on weekends, we all pretty much enter races. It’s definitely quite a social thing when you get in to it!
Find someone to run with. As Bronwyn’s post suggests, you don’t even have to have the exact same fitness level as them; faster or slower. Starting and ending with friends, perhaps even catching up with them in between, whatever. Having a running partner also helps guilt you into going when you sometimes don’t feel like it – fear of disappointing them by sleeping in, haha.
Start slow, and be okay with that and yourself. Results will come in time, enjoy it.