Five years ago I didn’t know there was such a thing as running blogs. I also didn’t know that people other than your friends and family would stumble upon your blog and start reading it. Call me naïve to the world wide web.

Legs - Running

In 2012 I started using instagram and loved finding new runners to follow and connect with. It was a fun way to promote my blog and also make some friends and I really enjoyed it.

I followed thousands of people on twitter and instagram and got countless blogs emailed to me daily.

Then something happened.

I’d wake up run 5 miles – eat a healthy breakfast post run and sit down to look at my phone.

Suddenly I felt like crap about my 5 mile run. 10 miles – how did that girl run 10 miles before work?

13 miles how did that woman run 13 miles when she has 3 kids? I have 3 kids – I don’t have time for 13 miles on a Monday and I work from home.

Wait what how did that person have time to fit in a 20 miler before her husband left for work. What time does her husband leave for work?

My 5 miles suddenly didn’t seem like enough.

 

I compared how much I worked out that day with others and it wasn’t healthy because what many of these people were doing wasn’t healthy. I also compared brand type of things – why is this company working with this girl? Or why did they send her this box and not me? Social media was allowing me to compare on many different levels and not only was it silly in the scheme of things it wasn’t healthy FOR ME.

A year ago I decided to take back charge of my online life, dwell on the positive, and only do what works for me, not what others wanted or expected me to do.

Dwelling on MY positive. That meant unfollowing people on twitter and instagram and unsubscribing from certain blogs. Not everyone that I unfollowed was unhealthy – please don’t get me wrong – I wanted to clear out anything that was distracting me from being my best. Not their best or your best but MY best.

It also meant that I no longer detail out every single workout I do on this blog – I don’t tell you my training plan and I sporadically include what I ran that week. I think that running plans or goals should be individual to the runner and I don’t believe that copying me or anyone else – workout for workout is the best way to train.

One of my goals for 2014 is to take the quote “comparison is the thief of joy” to heart and remember to practice this in my daily life.

There is always going to be someone – faster – fitter – skinnier – seemingly happier – smarter – seemingly better – etc – WHY compare? My goal is to the best VERSION of myself and not a half assed compared version of someone else. I want to be happy with what I am doing and not worry about what everyone else is doing. I know it’s hard in this day and age when you know what EVERYONE – your friends and people you don’t even know are doing – but it’s worth it for your happiness to not compare.

 

*disclaimer this post was inspired by a thread on gomi – which YES from time to time I do read.

Comments

  1. This is something I feel I need to remember too. I have realized how easy it is to get caught up in the comparison trap, for example, with the increase of “fitspo” instagrams. They pose the question: am I not doing enough? But I have slowly come to realize that what works for someone else wouldn’t necessarily work for me. Yes, I’m running, but should I be running more? Strength training? Swimming too? But if I were to do everything I thought I should do (based on others), I wouldn’t get the rest my body needs. I would end up being tired and cranky all the time, and as a result my overall performance would suffer. I am starting to learn what I’m doing for myself is right for me. Great post!
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  2. So very true. I find I do the same thing. I need to start focusing on being the best ME and not worrying that everyone else is faster than me. Thanks DB! :) <3

  3. Good for you! It’s getting harder and harder to feel happy with what I have because social media constantly showcases the good and positive things. I for one don’t post photos of when something goes terribly wrong, unless of course it’s hilarious. It’s good to sit back and remember that if I’m not posting photos of my crappy time run or my disaster of house mess, then maybe other people aren’t too. It helps me to remember that no one is perfect, even if their Instagram feed says otherwise.

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com
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    • 100% agree – that’s why I deleted facebook off my phone and I haven’t once regretted it. Who wants to post about the bad? I felt like I was constantly seeing ALL THE AMAZING things everyone was doing with their kids and it made me feel like a bad mom even though rationally I know I’m not a bad mom. I know I’m guilty of only posting the good as well – so it was just easier to not look at it and make an effort to keep up with my real friends via the phone or in person. And there is my rambling comment back :) xo

  4. I cannot think of enough great things to say about this post.

    I have been online since … well, since before there was a web, so many of these things are not new to me in general – but I only joined the online running community in 2012 so it is very interesting to m,e seeing how this stuff plays out in this community.

    For example, I had no mileage goal in 2012, but gave myself one in 2013 which I killed (great year), and set my 2014 goal as … the same. But … wait, why not MORE?!? I had some folks ask me that – because it seems like improvement means doing more, right? What about asking more from myself during those miles? How about seeking purpose for my running? Why do I need to compare myself to others?

    I see a lot of young bloggers I follow who seem to be ‘riding the comparison train straight into injury-town’.
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  5. You are so right – comparing ourselves to others never works out well!
    When I first started blogging I really struggled with this. I went from really loving my life to questioning everything – my workouts, my workout clothes, our food choices……Then I realized that I was still me and had to do what worked for me and not worry about the rest.
    Kim recently posted..Thank You, Friends!!!!My Profile

  6. This is such a great post- spot on! Its so hard though, to find a balance between being motivated or inspired by what others are doing, vs. recognizing that what other people are doing is unhealthy, or that it would be unhealthy for YOU to do the same. I recently ended up with a stress reaction because I was doing too much. I also have to recognize that a lot of these bloggers don’t have full time jobs outside of blogging.

    What thread are you referring to on GOMI? I admit I get sucked into reading it sometimes, even though most of the bloggers they talk about, I really like and feel like I would like in real life…especially yours! You are an inpiration. I will miss hearing about your workouts though because it helps me understand the work that goes into running as fast as you do- I find it fascinating to know the kind of splits you do on an “easy” run, or a particular type of workout. Please don’t stop sharing completely!

    Jess @ http://www.therightfits.com

  7. YES & amen… Its so easy to get caught up in everyone else’s numbers & it suddenly saps out all the achievement in my own.. no matter how low or slow they are.

  8. I fully agree. I’ve continued to see studies that suggest social media programs like Facebook and Instagram create envy between people as we compare ourselves to others in every way – running included. I’m planning to delete my personal facebook account and use one strictly for my blog to simply share articles and news of note. Nothing more. And my running plans stay with me now too, along with races. I don’t see the need to post that I had a five second pr in a 5K. Run for you and always remember that someone else is faster and may run further. Run for you.

  9. I just wrote a post using this same quote. I’ve been dealing with comparison and inadequacy for quite some time now and it is very true it is the THIEF of joy! I am trying to take my life back and be positive and do ME! I am all that I can be and as long as I am putting forth my all that is all I need!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..My Admission of Inadequacy In Our RelationshipMy Profile

  10. Thank you!!! I needed to hear this. I’m a newbie runner (only started spring 2013) and I often found myself celebrating my accomplishments…until I read about so-and-so who ran 3x as much as I did in the same amount of time. Less comparing, and more doing for this girl!
    Amy @ fitnessmeetsfrosting.com recently posted..Chasing the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on the treadmillMy Profile

  11. This is why I love you and your blog. You are authentic! In a world that is defined by showing off and only presenting the best version of ourselves, you are refreshing! Thank you!!
    Kristy recently posted..Shamrock Spotlight: Colleen DahlamMy Profile

  12. Nice post – I also like the quote “to compare is to despair”. I’m struggling now not with comparing myself to others but to my past self. After a really rough labor and delivery, I am just getting back to running and am VERY far from where I used to be. This post reminded me that comparing to our past selves can be damaging as well!
    Andrea @ The Fit Scoop recently posted..8 Weeks PostpartumMy Profile

    • Oh that is such a good point. I compare myself to myself ALL the time and it literally robs me of happiness. The sad part is then I will look back a year from now and ask myself – gosh why weren’t you happy – you were running strong – you were happy – you looked fit. I often say that there is a reason your mind forgets things and isn’t made to remember everything – it’s so hard in this digital age because you can remember everything and you can literally SEE your entire life……I’m going to remember that quote – thanks for sharing!! xo

  13. What a great point!!!! I recently deleted my FB account for such reasons (among others) and when I did have FB i stopped posting my daily runs. I really just asked myself why I was doing it, and I had no good reason. The only person who really needs to know about my runs/workouts is ME. I think FB and IG have become such a “let me prove I am doing this and snap a picture” that its a shame. I am enjoying old school running again, the kind where I just log my runs and workouts in pen on my wall calendar :) You are so real, its refreshing.

  14. It’s too bad that so many people struggle with personal confidence in society today. No matter what someone else does, if we are confident in our reasons and effort, nothing should shake us. Unfortunately, I also feel that balance is so hard to find as on one hand I am amazing and the other says I am way behind the pack. Why can’t we pat our own backs for a well done effort? We want our kids to be themselves, say no to peer pressure but we ourselves succumb to cookie cutter thinking. Our bodies aren’t all the same, some are built for speed some not as much. We all have different circumstances, reasons for doing what we do. Let’s all stop comparing something that should never be compared in the first place but instead be HAPPY for others and PROUD of ourselves for what we do.
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  15. YES! This was awesome!!! Love it! :-)
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  16. Sarah Elizabeth says:

    I struggle with the same thing. Glad to know I’m not alone =) Love your blog.

  17. I have that exact quote on my Pinterest quotes board :)
    Good for you for keeping your happiness a priority and choosing to focus what YOU are doing.
    I’ve never been a mileage obsessed runner, but I tend to see other people’s food choices, then bash myself for not being as disciplined. When all that really matters as that MY food choices have improved (and continue to do so) over time.
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  18. This is such a great post. I try not to compare myself against anyone but myself, but I still can’t quite get away from comparing myself to others in a negative way.

    I’ve actually started drafting a post about how so many blogs are biased towards presenting a perfect picture… and how I can’t find it in myself to be all gumdrops and butterflies. Which will probably keep most sponsors from ever asking me to be their gal. But it’s probably for the better for me.

    I’m so glad you posted this.
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  19. I love this. Not just as it relates to running, or blogging, but just life. I find myself having to make excuses at work when I know I’m younger than the rest of the leadership team I’m on, but I’m also single and don’t have kids. Tonight someone said they’d get me something around 11, and I laughed. Instead of saying that’s great, and forcing myself to stay up, I admitted I go to bed long before that. It’s the only way for me to get my workout in, which to me, is more important than being the person willing to stay up to finish something.
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  20. I’m trying to live this as well. I struggle with it specifically regarding running because I always get caught up in how everyone is so much faster than me. Thanks for the reminder.
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  21. I love your blog. Fortunately I don’t compare myself to others, if I did I would not be in good shape. :). I guess my age has given me some wisdom after all. I don’t do the same miles, or run as consistently. If I compared myself to others I would feel constantly inadequate. In running I just want to be me. I’m not a fast runner. I just want to get faster for me. I do think that some people share in a positive way, others do in a pushy or showy way … Those I don’t follow. However you do it right. I admire your strength, power, speed and dedication. So from you I get inspired, so post away. You only make me want to get better.
    J @ semplicemente … J recently posted..… interesting Mantra … yet a mantra nonetheless …My Profile

  22. Great post! I used to look at other runners’ blogs/tweets/instagram and compare my pace with theirs. What was a blistering pace for me was invariaby someone else’s recovery pace. It made me feel awful. Funny thing is, once I decided to ignore other people’s paces and not read the blogs or posts which constantly referenced their speed, I actually became faster. It was like all that worry and comparison was physically holding me back.
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  23. I soooo get you here. I too have decided that I will scale back on my social mediabecause of my tendency to compare, and also to subconsciously seek approval on what I’m doing. There’s no win in comparison.

  24. Hey, you! This is great. I’ve spent the last year and a half shaking off all the shit that distracts me from being ME. I’m sure you’ve seen the quote about doing the world no favors when we don’t allow ourselves to shine. Keep being YOU. I think about you all the time :)
    MILF Runner recently posted..Well…so much for my goals.My Profile

  25. This post could not have been timed better! I’ve been following quite a few bloggers (including you!); have met up with some of them who live near me. They are wonderful, supportive women and I love reading their blogs. But…they have posted their race calendars for this year and I’m feeling inadequate because I only want to do halfs this year. I have to remind myself of my 25 years of running; I can say been there done that!; these bloggers are relatively new to running and have fresh legs; I don’t want to risk injury and not running. I read about everyone’s training: tempo runs, speed work, hill work, etc…what happened to running for fun, for the joy of it? I don’t want running to turn into another job for me…my job is stressful enough! Anyways, I have to back off of some of these posts and remember why I run…and stop comparing myself to these other women.

    Thanks so much for this post. You made my day.

  26. I could not agree more! It’s incredible how something that’s meant to be positive, focusing on SELF improvement by thoughtful reflection, brainstormeing/babbling, comedic relief, summoning of forward momentum/motivation, etc… can quickly turn into a negative, unhealthy, unproductive competition. Thanks for the wise, well articulated reminder!
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  27. This is such a wonderful post. I needed the reminder for sure – thanks for being so honest!
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  28. This is so spot on. I’ve kept my training regiment on track, but I must admit some days I feel I’m doing enough! Or, I’m not fast enough…Or, not healthy enough….or not enough xtraining…all because I’m reading what others are doing. I have learned to read to learn something, or discover new races, or for motivation.

    Great, great, quote- I might write it across my mirror! :)
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  29. It’s so true, comparison can almost ruin our day. I have done this on many occasions, especially since I haven’t even been blogging for a year. i am always getting down on myself, because I compare my success to others. this post was a great reminder to just top it!! Thank you
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  30. This has been on my mind since I read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly this summer. I”m a “chronic comparer.” And it seems that once I get going I don’t stop, feeling bad about my run turns into feeling bad about being a mom, feeling bad about the size of my house or the kind of car I have or the size of my jeans…But at the same time I have to be careful when I’m feeling GOOD, not to compare. Sometimes we can compare to make ourselves feel better and that can be just as damaging. Great post. I wholeheartedly agree:)
    Sarah @ RunFarGirl recently posted..How to Start Running and Stay RunningMy Profile

  31. Great great great great post Dorothy! It’s so true on so many levels.. we all have great days and bad days and ok days. Social media has made it too easy to make it look like everyone else in our circles only have super awesome fantastic days, kids, vacations, workouts.. When we have a reality check its a reminder that what we see is most likely not all that is going on. Thank you for sharing!

  32. A friend said that saying to me the other day and I wholeheartedly disagree. Comparison motivates and inspires us. As long as you have empowered yourself to use comparison to your advantage when it is truly what you’d want or need in life, and to ignore it where its only function is to highlight your own (true) inabilities or shortcomings and cause you to feel bad about them, comparison, like competition, is a GREAT thing.

    Sometimes I have a hard time motivating myself to do certain things, even though in the back of my mind it’s what I want to do. Whenever there is that person I see who by comparison makes me see how much less I am doing, I don’t think “i am crap because I am not doing as much as them” I think “If they are doing that much more than me effectively than wow I have so much more potential than I give myself credit for.”

    If I see a 5’11” victorias secret model, I feel nothing, because that comparison will get me nowhere. I will never be that tall or thin and that’s ok, because wherever your true limitations lie, you must be at peace with them and only let the things which you can control bother you.
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  33. Well said! I have caught myself comparing my running routine with others, and I need to stop! Whenever I catch myself doing this, I simply remind myself of the reason why I started a blog in the first place: not for the followers, not for free stuff to review or give away, but as a way for me and my best friend to train and inspire and communicate with one another, despite the fact that we live hours apart. We plan on running a full-marathon this year (my first, her second), and I know we’re gonna rock it! I also don’t link my blog to Facebook or Instagram (I barely use one and don’t use the other at all, anyways), for that reason. If people want to read about my adventures, that’s great. Hopefully I get to inspire others like you’ve done for me. But if nobody reads my blog at all, I won’t lose sleep over it. At least it helps me accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself, and continue on towards my next ones. Whoo! Sorry for writing a book!

  34. I can not tell you how much I needed to see this post. I felt a little beat up last week…because I chose to listen to silly stuff from people who don’t even KNOW me and compare myself to others. Thanks for this :)

  35. I was doing this same thing, comparing myself to my fellow runners, and always feeling inferior. I am a slow runner. I have finally come to accept it. I don’t run to be fast, I run because it makes me feel free. I would avoid running with my faster friends because I felt I was holding them back. I felt this, they didn’t! The best advice one of them gave me was, “stop looking at your pace every mile, just enjoy the run.” The first time I did this, I realized I was smiling throughout my entire run!

  36. This is a great post, Dorothy. I pretty much quit blogging and only check in on blogs on occasion because, quite frankly, most of them make me feel like CRAP. Same with FB. Same with Instagram. It is so hard not to compare yourself to others. It’s human nature. It’s freeing to let all of that stuff go although I realize that many blogs are a source of income (and freebies!) for people, so I can understand the need to keep one up. I applaud your honesty here and judging by the abundant comments, many other readers do as well. :)

  37. My big problem isn’t comparing myself with others, but comparing myself with my past-self or faster-self. Then I tell myself “just enjoy the run, if you’re not having any fun whatsoever then why are you doing it.”

  38. Hah! I think the real problem here is that you responding to something on GOMI.

    (But, word on the comparison problems created by the internet.)
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  39. Yeah, don’t compare yourself to others. Compare instead to your former self from a year back and see how much progress you’ve made!

  40. I think much more people should listen to this advice!

    Each time I hear someone complaining about his running pace or his maximum distance, it’s always compared to someone else. It is a lot more positive to compare to yourself than to somebody else. Self-progress is much more rewarding!

    Thanks Dorothy

  41. Love Love Love this post! I keep experiencing setbacks and I wonder the same thing – how in the world do these women do it?? Thanks for the reminder to do what’s best for me and not compare myself to others.

  42. Great post. The only person you can compare yourself to is, well, yourself!

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