The Comparison Game
"Don't compare yourself to those around you."
You've heard it before. It's advice commonly given in almost every sport, and frankly, most things in life.
This advice never really made sense to us. Here at LRC, no one regularly gets discouraged comparing their marathon time to Kipchoge's. Why? Obvious reasons.
We think the real danger is less talked about. We think the real danger is self-comparison. All too often, we catch ourselves thinking things like:
"Last year, I increased my mileage so much faster."
"Last month, I didn't have to miss any training."
"Last week, running felt so much easier."
These are thoughts we've all had - comparisons we've all made. This type of self-comparison, in our opinion, can be just as dangerous as comparing yourself to those around you.
The Pitfalls of Self-Comparison
When you constantly measure your current self against a past version, you risk losing sight of your unique journey as an athlete.
While it's natural to want to progress, fixating on past achievements can lead to frustration and demotivation. It can make you feel like you're not measuring up to your former self, even if your current efforts are remarkable in their own right.
The Solution: Embrace Gratitude
So, what's the solution? We believe it's gratitude. Instead of dwelling on what you did differently yesterday, focus on the progress you'll make today. Embrace your unique journey as an athlete and savor each step, no matter how small.
1. Reflect on Your Achievements: Take a moment to appreciate how far you've come. Recall the milestones you've reached and the challenges you've conquered. Your past achievements are part of what makes your journey special.
2. Celebrate Small Wins: Don't wait for monumental achievements to celebrate. Every run, every workout, and every step forward is a victory. Acknowledging these small wins can boost your motivation and help you stay positive.
3. Set Realistic Goals: Instead of striving to outdo your past self, set realistic and achievable goals for your current fitness level. This allows you to focus on improvement without unnecessary pressure.
4. Stay Present: When you're out for a run, focus on the here and now. Pay attention to your body, your surroundings, and the simple joy of running. Being present in the moment can enhance your overall experience.
5. Enjoy the Journey: Remember that your athletic journey is a lifelong adventure. Embrace the ups and downs, as they are all part of your story. Enjoy the process of becoming a better athlete.
The next time you're tempted to compare yourself to your past self, pause, and practice gratitude. Embrace your unique path, celebrate your progress, and remember that your best days as an athlete are still ahead of you.
Your journey is your own, and it's worth every step.