Happy Friday! I wanted to share a roundup of #relevant links from the past week that I enjoyed reading, that I thought you might too.
From Runner’s World: I’m Not Always Interested in Keeping Up With My Running Buddies
As much as I talk about running being an activity I love doing with friends, this essay reminds us that running is also deeply personal. Author Christopher Michel writes, “Here’s something I haven’t figured out how to tell my running buddies: I’m not always interested in keeping up. I like running with them, and when I’m feeling good at a faster pace, I love the camaraderie. But when I’m feeling a little slow (which I don’t always know until I get out there), I’m okay with running slow. Speed isn’t my goal.”
I think this is something we should all recognize — not just in running, but in life. ‘Run your own race’ are wise words to live by that aren’t just relevant during a 5k, marathon, or half ironman. Social media makes it easy to feel like we need to ‘keep up’ with whatever everyone else is doing. Newsflash: you don’t! Friendly competition, or competition in general, is great for when you need to push yourself. But constantly pushing yourself or comparing yourself to others — during a run or during life — can be detrimental. It’s important to remember that ultimately you are running, and living your life, for yourself.
From Trail Runner Mag: Avoid Comparison to Get The Most Out of Your Training
I think this week has a theme, evident within this piece by David Roche for Trail Runner Mag. Her opening line says it all: “No matter who you are and what you do, you can feel inadequate if you put your mind to it.”
Running is such a hard sport to play the comparison game, because ultimately, it comes down to you and the time on your stop watch. It’s not like basketball or soccer, where your performance depends on other players or outliers. And while that’s one of the great things about running, it can also be one of the toughest. Roche makes a variety of great points in this essay, but my favorite is his fourth and last argument: Only race when motivated by the process, not the results. He writes,
“If there’s anything coaching has taught me, it’s that results-based justifications for trail running can be dangerous and often result in existential crises.”
I learned this the hard way for myself during my first Ironman race, and now it’s something I endeavor to instill in all of the athletes I coach. In order to find joy in the sport overall, you need to find things you love about the training process — whether you thrive on pushing yourself, or simply enjoy the camaraderie of your running group, the journey is always more important than the destination.
From Bicycling: Why I Choose to Tackle Really Long Rides by Myself
Okay, the theme of today’s reads really is independence — and now, I’m throwing a little women’s empowerment in here. This personal essay from Yael Wilcox about why she chooses to tackle long cycling rides by herself is incredibly interesting. On one hand, I totally get what she means. Last year when I was triathlon training, I learned that the more people we had on a ride, the more stops we would make. Between tire changes, bike problems and bathroom breaks, stopping more with a bigger group is just inevitable. That said, I do enjoy the camaraderie of the small group ride — but on rides that spanned over 80 miles long, I was happy to travel in duos or even solo to just get it done as quickly as possible. But this feature is about more than efficiency.
In the piece, Wilcox takes us along her journey through the Highway of Tears. Despite recurring warnings from those she encountered along the way telling her how dangerous her ride was and that other women like her have ended up dead, Wilcox managed to meet good people willing to help her along her trip. This reminds me of living in Harlem. Everyone I meet who doesn’t live in Harlem likes to tell me how dangerous my neighborhood is, or they share an anecdote about somebody they know knows somebody who was robbed or held at gunpoint there — yet I’ve never felt anything but safe. It also reminds me of riding my bike. When I tell outsiders about my long rides, they always have a warning in store for me — ”Be careful,” or “Riding in the city is so dangerous.”
That’s why, I think, er closing statement really resonated with me:
“I am starting to think that seeing a woman riding alone can ignite a sense of fear in others. When they are telling me I can’t do something, they’re actually projecting their own fears onto me. If they feel that they can’t do something, then surely I can’t do it either—because I’m a woman and I’m small and I’m alone.”
So, as a testament to Wilcox, without being careless, let this serve as a reminder to not let other people — or their fears — limit what we know as women we can do.
We are strong, we are capable, and we are deserving of independent, empowering experiences.
Okay, that is all. Have great weekends!