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All About That Pace, ‘Bout That Pace… 

I remember every single long run I completed in preparation for my first marathon. I was so astounded that my body was able to carry me 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 miles that each time I ran a new distance I would write the mileage down on a little piece of paper when I got home and drop it in a piece of pottery that resides on our bookshelf. On December 31st of that year I took out all of the sheets of paper and read each one, reclaiming that awesome feeling. 

Milwaukee Boutique Running Coach Karen

What I didn’t know then, that I know now, is that I would never again have a chance to train for a marathon where that beautiful feeling of reaching a given distance would be enough - not just for me - but for others in the running community. 

You see, when you complete your first race of any distance, you “win” by finishing the race. Rarely is a runner as focused on time in their first race as they are on completing the thing. 

But once you go after that same mileage again, everything becomes about reaching that new PR. And that is awesome if it’s a goal of yours. But all too many times, that goal is forced upon us by those in our social running circles. Or worse yet, that goal that once was yours has now become so pressure-filled because of expectations of others that it steals your joy of the sport.

Quiz Time! 

Have you ever completed a race following a training season that was riddled with setbacks... a race that you were so proud of yourself for showing up to, gritting your teeth, and crossing that finish line even though it was a tremendous battle… only to be asked by another runner, “What was your time?” 

No? You are super lucky. How about this...

Have you ever been asked if you’ve qualified for Boston, like it is the only way you could consider yourself a serious runner?

No? Hmm, okay… what about this one…

Have you ever run a marathon sick, visited dozens of porta potties along the 26.2 mile route, finished dehydrated, and while recovering back at your hotel had a complete stranger ask what your time was, only to then wince at your response?  (It took me 5 hours and 1 minute that year. And yes, the dude was a jackwagon.)

What was your time? 

What was your pace? 

Did you PR? 

Did you qualify?

I’m not sure when it became acceptable to ask these questions that, in all honesty, are incredibly personal. 

Let me be clear, it’s a completely different story if these questions are asked by a good friend, a close family member, or running coach who is on the journey with you. But there is a level of intimacy that just doesn’t exist between you and a stranger at a hotel.  

Just as it is polite to acknowledge other runners on your training runs, not spit when other runners are around you, and thank volunteers during races, it is polite to respect that another runner’s pace, time, or goals is none of our business… until it becomes our business. 

Until then, believe me when I say, “It’s NOT (always) about that pace, ‘bout that pace.” Running - and racing - is about so much more. If you are interested in learning more about RunFit MKE and how we will be your biggest fan no matter what your goals are, contact us today!

Karen Berenson