Running against your ego

I’m back from my First Running Injury, and I have to say it’s been great so far. I’ve completed a grand total of two whole runs, in keeping with my physio’s strict advice. It seems like nothing in comparison to my previous schedule, but I am beyond grateful to be able to lace up my Nikes again.

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The weird thing is that I’m only allowed to run at a very slow pace for now. And that’s actually really hard for me, given that I enjoy pounding the pavement, and that I’m pretty competitive ,at least against myself. I often beat myself up over little things; pace, distance, or walking breaks included.

Not always a good thing!
Not always a good thing!

This evening I’m running with my club for the first time in yonks, which I’m extremely excited about. It’s gonna be great to get out there and see everyone again, but I’m already feeling conscious of how goddamn slow I’m gonna be. I think this phase of recovery is the hardest: running against your ego. You want to speed up, or tell everyone about your injury, or wear a big sign saying “I’m running slow on purpose, promise!”

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But I set myself a challenge (inspired by some of my Parkrunner friends): to run in the slow pace group tonight without saying a bloody word about it. Because when you think about it, it’s actually a complete dick move to go on about how “slow” you are, when in fact you should be lucky to be running at all! It makes no difference what pace you run.

And of course, as I always try to remember, If you run, you are a runner.

So here’s to outrunning my ego tonight!

Lots of love,

Pippa

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35 thoughts on “Running against your ego

  1. The best part about returning from an injury is being able to run. The worst part is remembering how you used to run before the injury, wanting to run like that again, but also being paranoid about injuring yourself again.
    Enjoy the runs, don’t worry about pace, use the chance to get a really good form to start back into running with.

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    1. I hear you on the paranoia- I’m so scared of getting injured again. My first run back from injury, I literally procrastinated all day. I was like making sure I was wearing the right gear, I had the exact right socks on, I’d definitely fueled ‘perfectly’- all for a 20 minute run! I was so nervous. Well anyway, I got it done. Now I actually try to remember how I used to run- which was entirely too fast and too many miles, to try and keep some perspective on the whole thing and not get injured again. But it’s very frustrating not being able to ‘run free’ – i.e. sprinting off a bad day!

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  2. Ahh…I have to run against my ego a lot, even when not being injured. It’s hard to put your ego aside in something (sports) that’s inherently competitive. It helps me to remember this quote I like: “we train to race, we don’t race to train.” Training isn’t about being able to impress everyone with your fast workouts and complete every run faster than Suzy down the road – it’s about training in a smart and productive way that will maximize your fitness for when it really counts. You can take comfort in the studies that have shown that people who do 80% of their weekly running at an easy pace end up with faster race times.

    I know a lot of fast runners and a lot of slow runners and a lot of mid-packers. The faster runners aren’t happier people than the rest of us – in fact, it is often the slower runners I know who tend to exude the most joy in their running. They’ve found happiness in just being there.

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    1. Thank you! Luckily my running club is very inclusive and open to literally all abilities- but it was hard during the last half mile when literally everyone was lapping me, and I had to keep slow and focus on my form. I once went for a long run with a friend of mine (who was very out of shape and wanted me to ‘get him back’)- he actually said: ‘Oh, you’re gonna run a half marathon? You should probably run a bit faster then shouldn’t you!’ I could have killed him. I was really seeing red. But I tried to take comfort in the fact that I had a plan and I was backed by those studies you mentioned. Thank god I never had to take him running again!

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  3. I get thinking it is a dick move to talk about how “slow” or “fast” you are running but I also know what it feels like to come off of an injury and be running at a pace that you wouldn’t dream of doing regularly. It’s humbling. It’s hard! And it messes with you mentally. But you will get through it – I have been injured enough times to know that pace does come back. And if anyone gets mad at you for saying how “slow” you are running, then they are insecure. We all have our own paces. There are people who think a 7:30/mile is slow and people who think they will never see a 7:30 pace on their watch even for a quarter of a mile. We’re all still runners, and that’s what matters!

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    1. Thank you, I needed to see this! It was really hard at my club run- how we do it is that the slowest pace group sets off first, and the fastest goes last. It was really hard in the last half mile to keep my pace slow when I was being lapped by literally everyone. Also my pace tends to creep up as I run (especially over shorter distances) and it was hard to keep slow and focus on form. To add insult to injury, my physio has had me make some slight adjustments to my form so I feel like Bambi learning to walk again!

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  4. I am one of the people who is just plain slow, but also always injured/sick/etc. so I should also take up this challenge and not talk about it. It will also be considerate of those in the slow group whose normal pace is slow! lol

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      1. I know what you mean. That’s why I try to go with groups. There’s a group I run with that groups back up every mile or so and at first I was like wwwwhhaaat? But it’s almost refreshing bc the hard days are to be pushed the other days are just about miles.

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  5. I know what you mean! Whenever I’m in the last part of a long run and I start meeting runners who are fresh-faced and clearly at the beginning of their run, I want to yell “I’m on mile ____! That’s why I’m so sweaty and red-faced!”

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