Part of the reason I founded the Slow Coach was the realisation that there’s a need for space in the ‘running conversation’ that isn’t always represented in the mainstream running media. Most of what I see in magazines, YouTube videos, instagram and so on is measured by metrics: things like pace, strength, getting faster, getting stronger, getting fitter, getting thinner, getting better.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Those things are fine, if that’s what you’re after! But I think they might not be the whole story.
Let’s make space for conversations about NOT getting faster, but instead about how life-affirming it can be to just keep going. Let’s embrace runners who have no interest in a PB, but just want to get over the finish line. Or who just want to make it to the START line for that matter. Let’s chat about running for joy, running for time alone, running for personal development, running for time to think, time away from the kids, running for time on your feet and a quiet sense of personal achievement.
There is a lot more to running that instagrammable abs and Boston Qualifying times. Let’s consider the pursuit of running in a context that is not measured by relentless self-improvement but in a series of quiet moments that matter only to you.
I think, if you ask a lot of runners why they really run, its to do with finding ways to affirm themselves in a really personal way. And yet the public conversations are so relentlessly focussed on metrics; pace, cadence, PRs, segments and times … and I for one would love it if occasionally we could brag about how slowly we ran. How much enjoyment we had on a run. How many new friends we met. How we noticed the sunrise. How we avoided injury and made it up a new hill and laughed at the neighbourhood dog. How we cried for the mum who is dying or remembered the baby we lost or ranted at the teenager who is pushing our buttons.
I will never be fast. I for one don’t run because I love running. The fact of the matter is I don’t even LIKE running very much some of the time. But I always, ALWAYS like who I am when I’m done.Big runs come in slow packages sometimes.