Speed:does it define you as a better runner?

Saturday morning I woke up craving a long run. I wanted to go all out and do a 20 but that is just crazy talk for this week so I thought 18 sounded fun (playing it kind fasts and loose with the word “fun”, much?).

The first half was a solid 8min/mile effort and I was pretty happy with that. I did a route that my running partner and I used to do together all of the time. It’s chock full of hills (a few different stretches are rolling for 2 miles each). I haven’t been great lately at seeking them out and the majority of my long runs for the last 6 months have been done on flatter courses. I slowed a bit in the second half because I really forgot how many miles 18 is. I haven’t done an outside long run since Sept 28, but that one was only about 16 ish outside and 4 on the treadmill. I wasn’t concerned about my paces so an effort of 8:30 overall for the 18.01 hilly miles felt pretty darn good.

During this long run, I had a butt load of time to think (DUH!?! It was 18 freaking miles) I was thinking about my running and how it’s changed over the years. This same run that I did this weekend once took me 3ish hours to do.

The thing about getting faster as a runner is this:
I 100% truly believe that I am not a better runner because I’m faster than I used to be. I sometimes catch myself thinking that I’m not a “real runner” until I’m as fast as Kara/Deena/Shalane..but you know what? Those women work just as hard as me. And they work just as hard as you. And just because they are faster runners than me doesn’t make them “better.” And if I am faster than you? That certainly doesn’t make me a “better” runner than you. A runners a runner who runs. Simple as that. It felt like my own “Aha” moment when I realized this.

“Speed” isn’t relevant to how “good” you are perceived as a runner because all it requires to be a runner is that you run.… Speed is irrelevant in making you a runner.

Do you lace up your shoes 4/5/6 days a week? So do I.
Do you struggle with motivation sometimes? So do I.
Do you get excited about a new longest distance? Me too!
Do you love hitting a new pr? Me freaking too.

It really doesn’t matter what speeds you run. Running is running. If you’re doing the left/right shuffle…you are running and pat yo-self on the back, friend, cause you are a runner❀️

That, my friends, is my Monday 2-cents… Don’t spend it all in one place!!!


33 thoughts on “Speed:does it define you as a better runner?

  1. I couldn’t agree more! There are so many different aspects of running one could be working on. To simply determine someone is “better” because they are faster is so off base! Right now I am a little speedier than normal because I was training to PR in the 10k… but if I tried to go run 20 miles I would CRASH! I am just not trained for that! As someone who started in distance running, I would sometimes let the DISTANCE define me as a runner. Like, if I didn’t always have a solid base and be able to just roll out of bed on the weekend and bang out 16 miles if a friend called me up for a long run, then I wasn’t a REAL RUNNER. Well, age let me get over that one! I have come to realize I don’t always need to have a huge running base built up. If I’m not planning on any marathons soon, what’s the point? Rest the body and go chase other goals!

  2. Amen sista!!! And amen twinie!!! Absolutely love this post now I don’t have to write on this topic haha lol. And speed does NOT define you as a runner. And as far as racing goes speed does not always win the race just look at Meb. When he toes the line he is never the fastest runner on paper but he always in the running to win and often does. So yes speed doesn’t define. A runner is a runner … period.

  3. I have watched myself get faster and I don’t feel faster. The runs still hurt the same, still get tired, etc. The faster you get the more you work but we are all still working at the same level of output. 50%, 75% 90% its all relative to our overall fitness. It needs to be talked about more. Being a runner is running. <–Took me awhile to figure that out myself! πŸ™‚

  4. GREAT post and such an awesome perspective on this. I definitely defined myself by speed for a really long time. And I have gotten faster as time went on and then got hurt and had to start all over again. I think for me personally now, speed doesn’t mean I’m any better…it just means that I’m becoming more efficient at it. For me. There’s not point in comparing myself to others. I do like to have a good competition with myself though. πŸ™‚

  5. it was pretty darn cold on saturday here in beantown; wore tights and gloves, ICK! i had a “long” run of 10 miles, and i am completely shocked that every week as my saturday runs get longer and longer, i’m getting faster and faster. a couple weeks ago, i averaged 9:50s for a 6 mile run. Now I’m averaging 9:08s for a 10 miler. It’s crazy. I’m so happy to be on the right track of the pace where i used to be! i miss being “fast”! πŸ™‚

  6. You are so spot on!! At my half marathon this weekend I finished 35 minutes faster than I did last weekend but in many ways it felt so much easier this year. Towards the end I kept thinking about how last year when I was slower I had REALLY SUPER earned that medal just because I kept shuffling forward and didn’t quit. When I think about Kara and Shalane and elite runners I sometimes forget they have been running hard for soo many years, whereas a lot of us took up running as adults. Not that I’d ever be as fast as them even if I did start running at a younger age, but they definitely have way more years of racing and training experience!

  7. I guess the thing is, defining a “better” runner might mean different things to different people and that makes is almost impossible to say who is better than who. Some people are really good at short distances, others at long distances. Some people like to keep an easy pace but are 100% happy with that Some people have made huge comebacks from an injury and may not be as fast as others but have put in just as much work, or more. I don’t think there is any point in trying to compare runners, because at the end of the day we are all out there running and hopefully feeling happy (most of the time) and healthy, because that’s what counts!

  8. I really love reading your posts everyday. I had a great running moment yesterday during marathon 22. I finally found a peace in what my body can do and what makes me happy. I love that running teaches you things about yourself you may otherwise never discover.

  9. Totally hear you–if you are out there, believing in yourself and putting the effort in, you are a runner. Earned. Not given. And that can mean a lot of things.

  10. I think the important thing to realize is that if you randomly plucked 100 people out of the world and got their weight/diet under control so they had an even baseline, and then started them on a running training cycle for a year … they would end up with VASTLY different results.

    Some would never break 10 minute miles … even for one mile. Some might have to run/walk even a 5k. Some would breeze through a BQ their first shot without even trying. Some would be sprinters, others endurance runners, and most would fall somewhere in the middle.

    Here is the thing – I love playing basketball, played intramural in high school and college and still love to shoot around. I am really mediocre – not very good at all!

    I have no issue saying Larry Bird is a better basketball player than me …why would I have a problem saying Meb or Kara or Shalane (or my blog friends Nicole or Michele or Harold or …) are better runners than me? I have no problem with that πŸ™‚

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