The pressure of a PB

This week I have had two people tell me that my marathon time isn’t very good.  To my knowledge, neither of them could do any better – not actively runners themselves, but it still stung.  I have put in hours and hours week after week to train for the three marathons I have run and even if I myself am not 100% happy with my times and know that I could do better, they are my marathon times, no-one elses.  It’s up to me to say if they are rubbish or not.  I shouldn’t feel embarrassed for sharing my times, but instead be proud that I have completed three marathons.  How many people have completed three marathons in their lifetime?  I heard somewhere that about 1% of the British population have completed a marathon but I don’t know how accurate that is.

IMAG0748The first person to comment on my time was someone I work with.  I had taken the copies of Women’s Running magazine I was in to school last week so that I could get them copied ready to display on my cake stall at the weekend.  I showed her one of the copies and she skim-read the fact file about me at the top which announced my maraathon PB was 5h 6m.  Her response was “Well it makes me feel better about myself that even though you run a lot you’re still a really slow runner like me.”
The second person was whilst we were out at a Harvest Festival at the weekend with my family.  The gentleman sat next to Dan started quizzing him on my race times, trying to work out how long it would take me to run the 50 miles this coming weekend.  Dan stuck up for me, saying that I hadn’t had much luck with marathon races – the first one having had the course extended, running through puddles halfway up to my knees and horrific wind and rain, and the following two races in awful heat.  The gentleman insisted he know my PB time, and when I eventually told him 5h 6m he said “You’re right, that’s not very good.” in a very matter-of-fact way.

I don’t need pressure from other people, or negative comments from others – I give myself enough of those as it is!

I am an incredibly competitive person – not necessarily against other people, but definitely so with myself.  Each time I run I want to beat what I have already achieved and wind up disappointed if I do not do so.  I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to do well.  Not just with running, but with everything that I do and it often leaves me feeling exhausted, frustrated and without enough time to do things that I really should be doing.

This year, I have been out on a lot of runs with Kev.  I really admire Kev’s way of running.  He just enjoys it.  He puts no pressure on himself with regards to times or anything like that.  If a cut-off time for a race is 7 hours, he will aim for 6 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds and be happy with anything quicker than that.  He runs with Group four – my group at club, although has a Sub 4 marathon time and would be capable of running much faster with some work.  But that’s not running to him.  He runs because he enjoys it, and he loves to show others how to enjoy it too.  He frequently offers to pace people, even those much, much slower than him as he likes to see people achieve their goals.  This is where I want to be.  Not worrying about getting a PB, not constantly working out my splits from my Garmin, not too embarrassed to share my race times with others.  I run because I enjoy it.  Race times shouldn’t matter.

Cross-country season is coming up with the first race for our club this weekend.  I obviously won’t be able to make the first race, as I will be in the Peak District somewhere, hopefully asleep following my 50 mile ultra the night before!  But I intend on making the rest of the season.  Cross-country is not timed.  Instead, runners receive a ‘place’ for the order they come across the finish line in.  The pressure of time is not there, instead, many fun elements such as ditch jumping and muddy fields are.  Time to put some fun back into my running!

How do you cope with negative comments about your running?

8 thoughts on “The pressure of a PB

  1. I cannot believe that woman said that! Or that man! I think you should be extremely proud of yourself and your times. The fact that you’ve done a marathon at all is amazing, but THREE marathons is just incredible. A marathon is not like a normal race. There’s a lot of scope for things to go wrong, or the things like the weather or course to have a bigger impact. I have no idea how well I’m going to do in my first marathon. I can hazard a guess at what I can aim for, but who knows what will happen on the day. It’s a long way to run and an incredible feat to accomplish.
    I agree about running just for your own enjoyment. I try not to compare myself to others or get down if others are faster, because at the end of the day there will always be people faster.

    1. You are going to be fantastic in your first marathon! And one of the best bits about it being your first is you are guaranteed a PB, and that amazing feeling of crossing the line knowing that you are now a marathon runner! :) There is definitely something about crossing that line!

  2. How rude. People DO say some stupid things … but they’re probably comparing our times to those of Paula Radcliffe and not knowing knowing any better. I guess our times DO sound slow compared to Paula taking just over 2 hours but that doesn’t mean that people don’t know better than to make personal comments! Grrrr!!

    I’d be tempted when someone makes a stupid comment to say “So how many marathons have YOU run, then?” and leave a meaningful silence while they try to backpedal and bluster. But maybe I’m just mean. Although if they say something like “I’ve run 23 marathons and 4 x 50 milers…” then I’d probably ask them for tips 😉
    Sarah F recently posted…Bournemouth Marathon Race Report: Stupidity, Hills and Trainer DatingMy Profile

    1. That’s the thing – they catch the end of London on TV once a year and then think that 5 minute miles is standard for a ‘runner’.
      I’m not sure I’m brave enough to challenge them about their marathon running experiences…how about I make a voodoo doll list instead?!

  3. I’m with the others, how incredibly rude! Like you said, your marathon times are YOUR times. These people clearly have no fliter and just remember that there will always be people that are faster than you, but there will also be people that are much slower!! I am in awe of the fact that you ran three marathons!! I can’t imagine even doing one! If anyone tries to talk shit about your time just laugh and tell them you are proud of what you’ve accomplished!! To hell with their comments!
    Brittany recently posted…Enjoy Life: Decadent BarsMy Profile

  4. Wow, I can’t believe those people have such cheek to say something like that. You should be exceedingly proud of what you achieved! Like you say, very few people have done one marathon, let alone 3 and soon an ultra. Sounds like that woman told u her reason for saying that in the first place. She feels bad about herself, so had to find a way to put you down. Be proud of what you’ve achieved and perhaps challenge her to do the ultra next year 😉

  5. You know that a lot of people are just idiots basically- ignore those comments.
    There is a girl at my running club who I am getting friendly with, and she has also done one marathon- she was telling me how bad her time was, and I was sure mine was slower (her half pb is 2 hours whereas mine is slower too)- she was surprised when I told her my time (5 21 something) as hers was faster, but at the end of the day we both completed one and that is a fantastic achievement in itself.
    Sometimes I get a bit fed up as I am not even the speed of an “average” runner (apparently that is 2 hour half, sub 60 min 10k) but then I suppose it is higher than the average of the whole population. And at the end of the day I enjoy running, so although I would like to speed up (mainly so I can keep up with Andy at races) in fact it is the act of it I enjoy so I try not to worry.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…More cake decoratingMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge