Running Is Only About You

April 4, 2013

Last weekend I went for a run in Central Park, something I never do. I prefer to stay downtown, cross the East River on the Williamsburg bridge and go from there.
For this one time, however, I went uptown on the Hudson River Park and entered CP from Columbus Circle @59th st.
“Whoa!” was my reaction as I entered the park and saw that tsunami of runners hitting the pavement. It was tad overwhelming, to be honest.
It was actually so jam-packed that I had to dart between people. A bumper-to-bumper situation, without the bumpers, of course.
As I was making my way through this massive wave of runners I noticed that there was a good amount of beginners. Which is cool, people hitting the road to get healthier. I like that.
However, I saw that most of them spent their time (and energy) twisting their heads looking at other runners instead of concentrating on their own run. As if they were under constant scrutiny by more experienced/faster runners. Which is such a stupid thing to do in the first place.
Being an experienced runner I feel like I need to share this secret: we (i.e., faster/experienced runners) do not give a “fat rat ass” about other runners; all we care about is our pace, heart rate, time and the distance we’re covering. Simple as that.
You run slower? We don’t care. Actually is not that we don’t care, we are just concentrating on our own run and we can’t be bothered to look around. That’s about it. We might get angry if you get in our way (well, really angry), but unless that happens, we’re cool.

Credit: Image courtesy of

All this just to say that when you run all you have to care about is YOU!
Remember, it’s you versus your distance versus your time. What happens around you is non-relevant.
Look and use other runners as a source of inspiration but don’t compare yourself to them. Most certainly don’t judge yourself by what the others can do. Make it only about how good you can be at beating yourself.
No one knows if you’re at mile 1, mile 6 or at mile 12. So unless you’re competing in a race, comparing yourself to others is completely useless and just a waste of energy.
Also, don’t worry about how you look like, training has nothing to do with looks or fashion.
Your running gear has to be efficient and has to work for you. That’s how far as it should go. You’ll start sweating and eventually get ugly, and that’s the beauty of it. Learn to embrace it.
If you feel like you need to stop, stop. No biggies. It’s not a failure. Remember that everybody had to start and stop somewhere. We’ve all been there. No one was born with running shoes and with marathon-ready legs. No one.
What really matters is that you are out there, running and getting better with each step.


  1. I agree that the run is all about you, but I think we've all experienced that feeling of insecurity when running with others. On my run this morning I was talking to a friend about wanting to run with another woman I know because she's a bit faster than myself to help me increase speed, but yet I worry she'll think "this girl is slowing me down" and will she? Probably not, but until I force myself to get on the road with her I'll remain insecure.

  2. Completely my thoughts!! I'm always looking at my watch, how I feel, and testing how far I can push myself during a race. Yeah, it's nice to win, but a PR is worth a lot more to me than a medal or award. I also think beginning runners are awesome - they're being welcomed in to a whole new lifestyle and community!

  3. This is great advice and made me think. I have just started running and I live in the middle of the English countryside, so I haven't experience other runners. But I could see how in that situation newbies (like myself) would be comparing themselves to others. But this is great advice and one that I will remember when seeing another runner. :)


  4. thanks, this post is so inspiring!
    i could never do running and hated running when I was at high school
    now I a waiting for a little bit more warmer days (I live in Estonia and it's still -2c here and pavements is still in the most parts covered with ice))\
    but I decided to go and buy the right shoes and chose the road to start with interval training. I just have to do it!

  5. I agree! I am focused on my breathing, stride and whatever podcast I have playing that keeps my mind from thinking about stopping. It's a personal experience, I don't think I would like weaving in and out of the crowds!

  6. This is great advice. I always compare myself to others and it's so depressing. I should really start to mind my own business, really.