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Run and Race Like It's the First Time

Something I struggle with - and see it mirrored in my patients - is comparison with my past self. Whether it be race times, training volume, how my body feels, or otherwise, I seem to always have this false impression that things should always be as they were. I think we acknowledge that our bodies change over time, but fight tooth and nail to avoid accepting it.

I’ve been thinking about this topic nonstop since listening to an episode of Ali On The Run with Emily Saul, a sports psychology coach based out of Boston. The conversation was primarily directed toward women returning to running postpartum, but I think this is actually a common theme for most of us on our running journey.

I remember how exciting the early years of running were, frequently running personal bests and tackling distances I never have before. There comes a point where the PR’s are few and far between and the work to run them gets harder and harder, both physically and mentally. For the competitive athlete, working toward a goal is important both in motivation and satisfaction in sport. Those goals and the rationale for choosing them is largely contextual, and, you guessed it - that context changes over time.

What do we do when our fastest days may be behind us? How do we adjust when our priorities shuffle? Can we find our North Star when it shifts?

Emily had a great philosophy on this, and I’ll be thinking about it for a while. Again, she was speaking to someone’s first marathon post-baby, but I really think it applies to everyone.

“You’re running your first marathon as the person you are now….

Every experience is a once in a lifetime experience.”