Monday, September 2, 2013

It's All About Perspective

It's been a while since I've written an entry, and I am at least three race reports behind. There isn't one clear-cut reason why I haven't written, but it's mostly because I've lacked the inspiration to sit down and put something cohesive together.

A large part of my insecurities has stemmed from a poor start to my running year. While things have been looking up over the last few months, I don't feel like I'm doing as much as I should be for the marathon. While a part of me realizes that having a conservative approach makes sense, it isn't easy to convince myself of this on an emotional level. I realize that it was partly due to the people I have encountered over the years since I have started my journey. 

I have met runners of all shapes, sizes, and running philosophies, and no two of them have the exact same spectrum of speed, miles per week, preferred running brands and training methodologies.

On one end of the spectrum, there are those people who are amazed at my mileage. In fact, there are people my family and coworkers who think that forty miles per week in marathon training is a TON of mileage and that I'm insane. There are those who consider me a fast runner even though I barely hit the 60% in my age group even when I'm at my fastest. In fact, it's all too easy to get an ego boost from all of this before I remember that... 

On the flip side, I know people who have complained about "only" running 200+ miles in a month. A lot of these people do their recovery runs at paces that are impossible for me I can only dream about, and who qualify for the Boston Marathon on a regular basis. I know people - and their friends - who have run 100 miles in less than 40 hours and act as if it's the most natural thing in the world. Did I mention that at least one of these people is only 12 years old? It's all too easy to think that they assume that efforts are a joke and that I have no business even talking about running around these people, even though these people have been nothing but supportive of me. 

Let's face it: we're all a little judgmental when it comes to other people's training. In the interest of full disclosure I know I am. But then I found the following quote: 

“One person's craziness is another person's reality.” ― Tim Burton

It is all too easy to sit back and think that other people's methods are completely insane. But the important thing to remember is that we're all human, and that what works for some doesn't bode well for others. In addition, there are those who have to run under far more difficult circumstances, and if I were in their shoes, I don't think that I would have the same tenacity as them to keep going, or even start for that matter. Besides, I have learned about both over and under training the hard way, and perhaps people have to learn through experience, aka the hard way. 

I started this entry with the idea of making a point in a humorous manner and in a way that doesn't actually insult anyone. I'm not quite sure that I hit the mark, especially since I am finishing this entry pre-coffee before 7am, but I hope it gave you something to think about as I return to the world of blogging after a three plus month hiatus. Feel free to share any perspectives you may have in the comments section. 

Thanks for reading! 


  1. What a great perspective on running. You illustrate the turmoil that can go through the mind of a recreational distance runner trying to do the best he or she can do with the ability they have, while trying not to compare yourself to others, yet realizing the inevitable reality that we often do. It's so confusing when there are so many different running philosophies out there and trying to choose what's best for you. Myself as a 50 year old man am absolutely ecstatic that I have finally reached middle of the pack(and sometimes slightly above) status in my age group. I will add there is nothing more frustrating than seeing a post from someone who totally chastises them self for posting a time in a race that we dare not dream of.

    1. I appreciate your comment. It is pretty confusing to hear so much conflicting running advise. I admit that I am completely guilty of chastising myself for a time that other people dream of, it's hard not to do as we are our own worst critics. Thanks for reading!

  2. Hi Dahlia,

    I think this is not only an enlightened view about running training, but it also speaks to understanding and empathy with one's fellow humans on most things. It is appropriate to your post to cite

    'try walking a mile in another man's shoes' and for each of us to remember that our way is not the only way.


  3. Good post. I really like that quote.

    I do admit to sometimes being (silently! Occasionally!) judgmental of others' training, and I do try to remember that we are all the best experts of our own bodies. I believe the training I am doing right now is what is going to give me the best chance to succeed in my running goals (while letting me also have other aspects to my life, like a career or a night out once in a while) but I also believe that if someone tells me that they are having success with another approach, who am I to tell them that they are wrong?

    There are dozens if not hundreds of approaches to something like a marathon. They can't all be right for everyone, but each is probably right for someone. So even when I want to say, 'REALLY? THAT PLAN??' I remember that it might be the exact right approach for them, even if it's not for me.