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Your Weight Loss Journey: Run Your Own Race

Another blog inspired by my experiences of losing weight and undertaking a similar challenge, running in a race. Having covered getting to the start line in my last blog here we look at the importance of running your own race.

There were no 'waves' separating runners according to speed so runners of all abilities were starting together. I couldn't help but notice the broad range of people taking part. So naturally I did what we all do in these situations. I started forming opinions on who was fast and who was likely to be slower. Now, I know you can't really tell these things from looking but it's human nature to form a first impression. I noticed: 

  • Some people looked slight and as if they were built for running. I thought these people would leave me for dust. 
  • Some people had all the fancy technical clothing and equipment so naturally I assumed they were what I call 'proper' runners. Club runners maybe. 
  • Some people looked out of shape. I don't know what I was basing this on, size presumably, but I started to predict who would struggle.  Despite not thinking of myself as being particularly competitive I started to speculate who I could beat. 


You can’t judge a book by it’s cover
— Anon

As I say, these are just first impressions formed in less than a few seconds and as I started along the route I quickly realised how wrong these first impressions were. 

Some people started strong. As they sprinted off and I thought "they're fast" but I caught them and overtook them a few kilometres further on. Some of those who were looking comfortable started to fade and some who I thought might not finish at all were going steady and finished stronger than those who started fast.  

It quickly occurred to me that what's on the outside really is no indication at all of what's going happening on the inside. I started by comparing myself to others but quickly realised how utterly useless this was. The thing is, you don’t know the first thing about anyone. 

Those who are going slow may actually just be beginners. They might have loads of potential but I'm only seeing them at the start of their journey. Maybe some of them are returning from injury and this is their road to recovery. Perhaps some of them who don't look too happy along the route are running in memory of someone. Maybe they are just ill today. I don't know their journey any more than they know mine. In fact, maybe some of them are looking at me thinking, "I bet she's finding this easy", I wasn't. 

Those who are speeding off are probably more experienced. How long have they been doing this? Are they club runners? Have they been doing this for years?  

For some of them, this is just a warm up for a bigger race. For some this will just be to get a few miles under their belt. These people are much further forward than me and it's ridiculous to compare myself to them. Who knows, maybe I could be where they are if I trained for the same amount of time? Right now however, I am not comparing like with like. 

In fact thinking of myself, if me 2 years ago had been running  alongside me today she would've be telling herself "I'll never be able to keep pace with her" but yet here I am. 

Never compare your inside to someone else’s outside. Because you’ll always lose
— Marie Moseley

In the end, it occurred to me that all I could do was run my own race. There was no one out there I could realistically compare myself to. The only way I knew if I was doing ok was by my own standard. By using the measures and goals I had set myself and by how I felt. I knew if I was too comfortable or if I was pushing myself hard all the way. I knew what I wanted and I knew I was doing that I wanted to do.  

I had a goal in mind and I made sure that I was on track. Then I decided by feel if I was comfortable to try a bit harder. At each step along the way I tested myself to see if I could do any better and kept myself at a pace that was challenging enough to push me forward but so not much I injured myself or ran out of steam. 


Your weight loss journey is no different. 

Some will get out of the blocks faster than you. Forget them because they might not finish as strong. 

Some will struggle more than you. Don't let them be your benchmark, you can do better.  

Some people look like they have it all figured out. Don't be intimidated, perhaps all is not what it seems. Sometimes those who try hardest to put on a good show are only trying to convince themselves. 

Don’t compare yourself to those who are years further down the line. You don't know what they went through to get there and whose to say you couldn't achieve the same one day? 

Remember, maybe one day someone else will look at you and think that what you’ve achieved is unobtainable. I'm sure you'd be quick to point out there's a long story beneath the surface.


Do you compare yourself to others?

Is it helping or hindering your progress?

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Michelle PrattComment