This past week, I got in some very solid training. I had my highest volume week in some time, I put up three consecutive days of double digit mileage and I had a good workout earlier in the week. What a way to end a very solid block of training.
The only problem was that, by the end of the week, I found myself thinking a lot about what I was doing 15-20 years ago.
“This is a challenge? I used to knock out twice this volume at a pace 2-3 minutes per mile faster and call it an easy day.”
This is a common issue for experienced runners like myself, whose fastest days are well behind us. We remember the “good old days” and think of ourselves as still that person. I found myself thinking “that was me”, not “that was me when I was a single 20-some year old guy with two priorities: work and running, not now when I have a family, coaching and other responsibilities, not to mention a 40-some year old body.”
However, all runners can fall victim to similar comparisons. I was comparing my current self to my past self. New runners might compare themselves to where they want to be years down the line. All of us might compare ourselves to other runners who don’t live the same lives as us.
As difficult as it can be, try to avoid this. If you dwell on those comparisons, things can go negative very quickly.
Instead, compare yourself to your recent history. Are you improving? Are you building your speed? Your endurance?
Fortunately, I didn’t let myself dwell on these thoughts of my past self for too long. I turned those thoughts into remembrances of the good times, then reminded myself that I’m not the runner I was 15-20 years ago. I then embraced the accomplishments I made, reminding myself that I’m building up a level of fitness I wouldn’t have thought was within such short reach just a month ago. I’m making good strides and going to move forward. I’ll continue to remember those good times but I’ll also embrace where I am now and continue to work on doing the best I can with what I currently have.