“Sorry I’m so slow.”
“I don’t know if you want to go with me, I’m slow.”
“Just a warning, I might slow down.”
Like an ear worm of a song you hate, I’ve been uttering these phrases over and over since moving to Colorado and taking up trail running.
Which is why I needed to explain the mantra I’ve been sharing recently, that helped me remember why I run and what truly matters.
The “I’m too slow” or “They’re too fast” logic kept me from running with some great friends over the years. I worried that it would ruin their run or I’d feel compelled to keep up, which would lead to huffing puffing and eventually begging to walk.
In other words, utter embarrassment and the undoing of finally calling myself a “real runner“.
I began to realize that I never shied away from running with friends who were a bit slower, I just changed the goal of the run. I enjoyed the company and if they wanted me to push them a bit to improve their pace, that was great too. Turning the tables, I realized that most runners feel the same way.
Having many years of running under my belt certainly helped me feel more confident as well, which is why when little negative voices started to taunt me recently I was unprepared. Suddenly all my years of road running meant nothing. Those miles built my endurance, but trail running in the mountains at altitude is a whole different sheebang.
I needed more leg power, more lung power and more technical skills. My shins needed to get stronger, my ankles more stable and my confidence high enough that I stopped anticipating flying off the edge.
It’s not just a catchy little Instagram hashtag, I truly believe it and embrace it.
Every step matters.
Whether you’re telling yourself that your too slow, too old, too fat or too anything else to be a runner, it’s a lie. You’ve created a scenario in your mind, that simply isn’t true and it’s time to change the way you talk to yourself.
The fact that you’re trying and showed up matters more than the pace on your watch ever will. The pace on your watch didn’t teach you how to overcome hard things or how to connect to those around you. Lacing up and getting out the door is where the lessons lie.
And I for one am going to enjoy the fact that I can, regardless of the pace.Tired of feeling like you're too slow? Learn to embrace your run #forwardisapace Click To Tweet
If you’re dying to run with others, but still worried checkout this post about overcoming your fears of a running group.
Beyond the Run
What really matters to me is how these beliefs transcend running. It’s about all the times we limit ourselves.
- I’m too old to start a new career.
- I’m too fat to wear a smoking hot red dress.
- I’m too young to have that title.
- I’m too old to run.
- I’m too fat to go to the beach.
- I’m too…too…too
Then again maybe this does all come back to running. It’s a community where everyone is welcome.
Did you watch the NYC marathon earlier this month? Every age, gender, body type and ethnicity put one foot in front of the other and moved themselves 26.2 miles. No disrespect to Tatyana who put hand over hand! Which is even more to the point, it didn’t matter how they got there!Everyone did it side by side.
Same agony at mile 25 of finding yet another hill, same thrill coming off the bridge to the roar of a crowd that feels like it’s just for you, same long mile to get through the finishers chute and proudly post your medal selfie.
There wasn’t a separate finish based on time, age, weight or anything else.
No one looked around and said, you aren’t a runner. They looked around and thought “damn, I’m part of a pretty spectacular community.”I don’t know what it is about running, but I’ve seen it create confidence across all barriers.
It’s what kept me going and why I stand up and preach it all day long.
Right now I’m a beginner again and there is nothing wrong with my speed!
Even if I wasn’t a beginner, my speed is just fine because that’s not what defines me as a runner. What defines me is showing up on the easy days, the hard days and all of the one’s in between because I choose to. Eventually, I’ll get some legs and lungs back, but in the mean time I’m done apologizing for being me.
Many of you had great thoughts on getting over the “too slow” barrier, so please chime in! I want everyone to have the confidence and pleasure of running for themselves and joining others if they want to.
Think Out Loud with me
Why do we care so much about pace?
Do you ever feel “too slow”?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
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because of your post yesterday, i started a post/discussion on daily mile and runner's world to see if there are other runners in my area who are also looking for a running group or partner. thnx amanda
Christy @ My Dirt Ro
Great post, those thoughts held me back for years, and now that I would run with a group, I live too far away from any of them to do it regularly.
Thank you for this post! I am a race walk coach and sometimes runner and very slow triathlete. It doesn't even matter if you are the slowest one out there, just as long as you are out there trying!! :)
So true…runners need to be supportive of one another. Everyone starts somewhere; everyone has a different speed. We're all in it for the love of the same sport.
I think one of the neat things about running is how it means different things to different people and there's something positive you can take from it no matter what your pace or your goals. Of course there are things like Boston that have pace requirements, but in general there's no such thing as "too slow".
oddly, my running club is called TURTLE CLUB but most of the runners are really fast. I'm one of the only true turtles! But I agree, never too slow. And I wouldn't trade my run group for anything!
This is such a great post. I needed this reminder!I'm one of the slower runners in my running group but it doesn't really matter much. There are others with me, and even if I'm last the rest of the group is at the end telling me "good run" just like they did with all the other runners. Even if you're the slowest in the group, you're faster than the people at home on their couches.
Thank you for posting this! I just started running a little over a year ago, and I'm terrified of running in a group for the very reason of "I'm too slow" and "I'm not a REAL runner, so I won't fit in". I just might give it a shot ;)
Run groups are so important in keeping people motivated when they are first starting out! When I lived in SC, a few friends and I wanted to get into one of the local running groups. We went…ONCE. It was very obvious that everyone there was more "elite" than us. Not to be deterred, the three of us started our own group…the SMRG (Saturday Morning Run Group). What started out as a group of 3 eventually turned into a group of about 10! We supported each other and we eventually ALL got faster. I totally encourage people who are hesitant to at least give a group run a try. And if that particular group isn't for you, get out there and start your own thing!
The Marathon Diaries
I needed this little push I have been pushing joining a running club aside for a couple of months for this reason… I'm not gonna lie. I am totally nervous about not being able to "keep up" but I am gonna DO IT! SO thank you
After a few months I am finally beginning to get to know some people on my team. Partly because the coach mixed up training and partly because one of the runners got injured giving me a partner. So far I am down a minute per mile. So I think I will keep hanging around until they all love me!! (Whether they like it or not!) I wonder if the same applies to bike groups. I am totally intimidated to join a ride.
I love this….my pace has held me back from joining a new club. I ran with one before and loved it. I think it is time to start again.
Jess @ Blonde Ponyta
Great point! It's easy to fall prey to the comparision trap with running, but it IS a community!
I did exactly the same and I wasted all that time not being in a running group because of my fears. I found out that I wasn't too slow. No one's too slow. The faster people don't ridicule the slower ones or snigger behind their hands – they actively welcome you into their fold. Running groups can be some of the most inclusive groups around.
5 groups currently? Wow girl, here do you find the energy?!Runners are a very inclusive group, people need not be scared to join. It's the fear of pain keeping me away from group workouts, lol. Speedwork hurts!
Thanks for this post – I'm one of those who would like to join a running group but haven't out of fear of being the "slow one." Thanks for the encouragement to get out there and find one…or start one :)
Thank you for this post! I too, am afraid of being "the slow one". Well, I was until I did a 5k with some friends that are much faster than I. She stuck with me the whole time, and at one point said "I'm not leaving you. It's much easier to cross the finish line when you have someone to do it with." Runners Rock!
You have any recommendations for a running club for a newb (slow) runner in Miami?
Such a great reminder and perspective!!
This use to be the reason I wouldn’t run with my husband for so long. After years of not running like I use to, running with the girls for races after years of pushing a stroller, just all the changes when last year I was finally able to run with him sometimes without the girls it was hard for me. I was slow and he had been running marathons and not only much faster but ran farther. A couple times I just said ok I can do anything and just went out there only to push myself too hard and than feeling like a failure. It took a lot to just enjoy the journey and the pace, knowing it would take a while to get to a point we could run like I wanted. The big moment that made things ok was when he decided to up his strength again and workout with me 3 times a week like we use to and it kicked his ass. It proved we are all good at our own thing but not everything.
Great words of wisdom here! I too get stuck with those sayings running through my head, but I love the way you’ve changed them to keep the momentum strong!
Why do we care so much about pace? I didn’t at first, I was just so glad to be going from walking to trotting to what I finally called running. Then I saw that I could do better if I just pushed myself a little bit more…and now I want even more. At 46 and having not started running until my 40s, I think for me it comes down to just wanting to see what this ole ma’s body can do!!!
Do you ever feel “too slow”?
I used too and yes at times I still do. But I’m clinging to the fact of how proud of myself I am!
And thank you so kindly and forever for running slower with me for my marathon!!!
Susie @ SuzLyfe
Can all of the coaches in the room give an AMEN!!! As well as all of us with spouses who are starting up. Well, how about everyone gives an AMEN. Because holy cow, all of us runners get this all the time! Pace is like age–it only limits you as much as you let it limit you. Sure, there are some realities, but by and large, your pace or mine?
I totally agree! As long as you get out and get moving you’re good to go! I tell my hubby I want to be the dorky couple walking the mall in matching sweat suits! For real!
Jessica @ Nutritioulicious
Wise words! Anything is always better than nothing, and I don’t think anyone will ever reject your efforts for being “too whatever”.
That is such a good hashtag and I want that T-shirt! I can’t say that I’m obsessed at all with speed. I definitely believe that #forwardisapace
Great post! I wholeheartedly agree!
and when i say AGREE, i mean even more so with life. Never too old to start anything new or BELIEVE in yourself. You know this.
Since I only really compete with myself, I definitely have had feelings of “I’m too slow” but lately, it’s more “I’m getting old,” and old sucks a lot more than slow…and, they actually go hand in hand. I’m definitely struggling with this lately but, I know that 90% of it is mental and, once I overcome that barrier I will be old and slow but won’t give a damn :-)
Julie @ Running in a Skirt
Ohhhh.. story of my life Amanda! I’ve never been a fast runner and I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t run with others because of pace. Clearly I need to get over myself!!!
Love this positivity.
Kaitlin @ California Endless Summer
Awesome post!! We need to be proud of ourselves, lean in and just do it! All wise words ;)
Nice thoughts ! Totally agree with your points !
Your post was so inspirational.
Gonna save it to motivate my friends as well as myself !
Thanks for sharing Amanda !
I am the slowest in my group at almost every run. I’ve learned that other runners appreciate that they can run and chat with me while their legs are warming up. I’ve learned that even the fast girls have to take it easy now and then and are happy to rehab while I keep them chatting at my “just faster than walking” pace. I’ve also learned that I always have enough gas in the tank to kick it up a notch on the last hill which always surprises someone.
Joining a run group was the best way to make friends when I was new in town. Can’t believe that four years ago I didn’t know anyone and now I have a gaggle of gal pals to run with, movie with, cocktail with and find mutual support with. Love my run group!!!
LOVE that you shared this!!! I think it’s so helpful for people to see others stories!
What we think really matters! I always try to think positively in everything I do and it works,
but I never apply this method for running :D. Thanks for the great post, it just gonna help me a lot.