Running Slower – Yes It is an Ego Thing

I am learning that my not liking running slow on my recovery days is more about my ego, than it is whether or not running slow is better for me or not.

I also know it is something that I have to get over!

What brought this up Harold?

I generally like to run outside on my recovery days, but today we are getting that winter storm and it was slippery out – I almost fell 4-5 times while walking Bennie this morning. So I wasn’t going to run outside today, I prefer to stay healthy and whole. It was either going to be a DNR in the log book or if I really got motivated, go to the gym and run on the treadmill before I had to pick up TheWife from work.

I had all but decided to bag it for the day and then suddenly after lunch, I decided “ah what to heck” and figured out that I would go run on the treadmill at 2:00 or so. I was scheduled for an easy 4.0 mile recovery run at a 9:30 or slower pace.

Wow running on a treadmill that is under 6.0 mph was crazy hard! I haven’t run that slow on a ‘mill in years! I had just got going, when this guy gets on the treadmill beside me and cranks his up to 7.5 mph and starts running. Of course this got my competitive side going and and I popped mine up to 8.0 mph, because I “know” I can keep that pace up for a long time on the ‘mill.

About 20 seconds after I did that, I looked at the speed on my treadmill and asked myself “what to hell was I doing? Today is a recovery day, not a day to show off and prove to myself that I can run faster than someone else on a treadmill. Reluctantly, I brought the speed back down to 6.6 mph (about a 9:05 pace) and just kept running at that speed. The guy beside me look at me for a second and just kept running at his pace.

Did it kill me to not compete with the guy beside me – hell no. Common sense told me that doing a race Sunday, a hard Interval Workout yesterday and 2 weeks at over 50 miles per week, says that I need the recovery run more than being over-competitive.

Still it was hard to just maintain that slow pace with this guy beside me going at a speed that I know I can do no problem. Then it got worse, a woman got on the treadmill on the other side and started running a 7.0 mph. As much as I wanted to pick up the pace, I was a good boy – I didn’t touch the speed control and kept it at 6.6 mph.

That was just my ego having a hard day!

Yes running slower is a lot harder to do when people on either side are “challenging” you to go faster. Actually, they probably could care less and don’t even notice you are there – we are all so much in our own little worlds, but I noticed and had to fight the urge to go faster!

Yep there is no doubt about it, not liking running slower when I am around other runners is more about my ego than anything. Today I learned that I can get over it and just do my planned speed without regard to what someone else is running for a pace.

Oh the ego did get in the way just a little. I ran until they were both done their run which meant I ran 5.0 miles instead of 4.0, but if they could go faster, I could run for more time :-). I guess it was a good thing that neither one was doing a long run.

I just have to remember to check my ego at the door, when I need to do easy/slow or recovery runs on the treadmill and stick with the plan or at least close to it. 🙂

Do you check your ego at the door or do you get a “little” competitive, when someone starts running a little faster than you on the treadmill? Or better yet, do you have a story about this “runner” beside you who just had to speed up to keep up with you and you really didn’t care and just barely noticed that the other runner was “racing” with you?


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