Don’t Play the Comparison Game


Hello! Happy day to you.

I hope things are well today.

After watching the Olympic Trials on Saturday, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about something that I personally struggle with…

Comparing yourself to others.

There’s nothing wrong with looking at someone and thinking, I want to be like that!

But it can become dangerous when it turns into a comparison game.

It is important to create healthy, achievable goals, and learn to shut down the comparison game before it begins to rear its ugly head.

Here are 6 things to consider when you feel yourself starting to compare yourself to others.

  1. Genetics, man! To some extent, the deck is stacked. Equal effort doesn’t always mean equal results, and that can be frustrating. You might have more years on the road than your friend, but he/she might be able to run longer and faster than you. That is okay! Accept where you are and enjoy the ride.
  2. Your fitness level is unique. Some runners can handle running 65 mile weeks without injury while others get hurt when pushing 40. That is just how our bodies work. Learn where your breaking point is and stay below it.
  3. Don’t lose heart. Frustration can lead to hatred. Thoughts like “I suck at running” and “why am I even trying” may start to enter your mind. It’s easy to think this way when you feel like you don’t measure up. Through the injuries, frustrations, and discouraging experiences you have when comparing yourself to other runners, you may grow to hate running. So eliminate this kind of thinking as soon as it pops up! Stay positive and don’t lose heart. There will be hard days, and there will be amazing days. Remember that running is a journey!
  4. Create achievable goals for yourself that reflect where you are at now, and accept the fact that running (and runners) comes in many shapes and sizes. Some people (including myself) aren’t built to run marathons, some people can run a marathon a week without any struggle. Know what your body is capable of at this moment and work within those means.
  5. Keep looking forward. You need to keep your focus on the road ahead and not on athletes who have been competing in the sport for years. That kind of comparison is just straight up not fair. It’s okay to have training partners and more advanced runners to learn from, but don’t expect to be exactly like them immediately.
  6. Seek progress, not perfection. For those of us with Type A personalities (over here, over here!) running can easily become something that we have to do and have to be perfect at. Running the perfect number of miles, always hitting the perfect pace, doing the perfect stretches, eating the perfect foods… do you see how this can spiral out of control? The fact is, LIFE HAPPENS. Accept that things won’t always be perfect and move on.

What do you think?

Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others?

Have any tips or tricks to share?

-RatherBeRunnin’

Let’s connect!

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29 thoughts on “Don’t Play the Comparison Game

  1. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? says:

    I wrote a blog post not that long ago, that dealt with how one of the items I had been working on in my life was not comparing myself to others “she’s a better mom” “he spends more time on that” “they can do that so much better than I can”, and it was (is) a long process, but what I discovered, was so much freedom. Not just mentally, with being happy with me, but also with my schedule – when I wasn’t comparing myself to others, and I wasn’t filling my time in competition, I could do things that I wanted! My calendar was just as full, but I never had a complaint because it was full of things I LIKE to do! And when I started running last year, that was hard, because all you read about are distances and “what to eat during a run”… and I’m like, dude, my goal is to make it 20 minutes with minimal walk breaks! Now I take joy in being just as happy for you running a half or full marathon as I am for me not dying during a 5k! 🙂 Great post!

    Like

    • RatherBeRunnin' says:

      That is a great place to be in! Running is all about YOUR journey. Don’t forget that we all were in your spot, so regardless of whether or not we are still there… you will never forget what it was like to start. We are all cheering for you! 🙂 You will get there eventually, it just takes time. But, yes! It is so important to be happy with where you are. Great work!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. maryviets says:

    Love this! I have struggled with comparison basically since I was 13 and it can be so unhealthy! Running has actually helped me with comparing my fitness level and shape to others. I have totally learned to embrace progress! When I started running I considered myself slow and not a “runner.” The truth is I was a runner…but didn’t consider myself one because others were faster. Now, 6 years later I have shaved quite a bit of time off of my long runs and half marathons and knowing that I worked my butt off to get to that point makes me realize that I don’t need to compare myself to others because I have my own story and EVERYONE is different. 🙂 100% agree with progress and not perfection!

    Like

  3. usabaker says:

    You are I star at bringing things to earth for your readers. I never really compare; i know my strengths an limitations but I still always ‘wish’ I could run that far or that fast and I have said its s/he can do it; I can.

    Like

  4. Josh dV says:

    I get a little grumpy when my running pal scoots up the hills while I’m left behind panting like an over-heated coyote. Never mind he’s about 10 yrs younger than me.

    Or what about when that old guy passes me on the trail?….He’s probably fresh, not going as far as I am.

    These thoughts still flash through my head, and I let them. Better to let then pass through and leave than to grab onto them and keep them.

    I am…what I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. RunBikeThrow says:

    When I am on the podium humbly accepting my gold medal in the marathon I shall reflect upon your wise words and try very hard not to think of myself as superior to everyone else just because I can kick their asses.

    And when you ask for my autograph, please do not nudge me too hard because I might wake up before the parade is over.

    Like

  6. Jess@Run Pink! says:

    Beautiful and wise post!! I’m sharing. 😉 I used to struggle with comparing myself to my faster friend. Like why can’t I be that fast?! Genetics man. Cause I work my tail off!!! I’ve found peace now with where I am. 🙂 we all excel at different paces…

    Like

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