Many runners run to compete against other runners and others compete against themselves. Often runners get burned out because of too much competition. A little friendly challenge with fellow runners or yourself can be a great motivator; however, when your motivation needs a boost, try skipping on the competition.
If your goal is to be a runner for life, you will go through several stages during your running career. There will be building periods, stages of regression, days where you feel like you could run forever, and days where it hurts to lace up your shoes.
Cutting out competition is a great way to refresh your running mindset during the times when you feel a lack of motivation. Try to mix up the way you think about running and you can keep running as a way of life, not a way of strife. Here are a few suggestions for how to run and not compete.
1. Skip a race – Or two, or however many it takes. If you feel stressed about making PRs or maintaining a “status” among your running peers, step away from the arena for a while.
2. No timing – Go for a run but don’t try to squeeze X number of miles into X amount of time. Remember, you want to be a runner for life. Go enjoy and savor your ability to run free. Putting requirements takes away from the freedom.
3. Quit comparing – Don’t compare every run to your PR, or to your running buddy’s PR. Every run is different, respect that. Your body changes, respect that. You have a right to slow down, speed, up and slow down again. You may experience several changes in the way you run. That is what makes it a career and that is what makes runners love running. Cherish it and respect it.
When you can come to peace with the your abilities you will find more motivation toward your goals. Running may be a simple action but does require a great deal of effort. When you decide to be a runner for life, you accept the challenge of knowing when to cut back on competition. -pm