Comparing Yourself To Others

I woke up at 5:30am this morning for a tempo run before my 7am client. I grabbed my ipod and was about to get out the door when I realized it wouldn’t turn on – It was dead even though I charged it all night?! Boo.

Luckily, my phone has music on it, but I have to hold the cord like this or the sound messes up. Tempo runs are hard enough for me without having to fuss with my phone, but I knew I needed music to inspire me so I went for it.IMG 7271 600x800 thumb Comparing Yourself To Others

My second minor upset of the morning was that I was still asleep and didn’t turn around at 2.5 miles like I was supposed to. Oh well, I got an extra bit of cool down and just skipped a shower to get to work on time.

It ended up being a really good run though!!!IMG 7272 800x600 thumb Comparing Yourself To Others

Tempo Run 5.51 miles in 46:03– Average Pace 8:22

  • Mile 1: 8:34
  • Mile 2: 7:58 T
  • Mile 3: 8:02 T
  • Mile 4: 8:08 T
  • Mile 5: 8:48

Side Note: I started this little ol’ blog to document my marathon training and weight loss. I record my times here and my food and my weight to document it and be able to review.

I’ve been getting a ton of comments and emails lately from readers comparing their stats (running, food, weight) to my own.

When, I tweeted about this yesterday I got a ton of “RT’s” and agreement…image thumb9 Comparing Yourself To Others

So, I’m not the only one who realizes this. It makes me feel bad if someone else gets down when comparing, and it makes me want to stop listing my numbers. At the same time, it helps me keep track if I do list them so I’m torn.

Just a little reminder that comparing yourself doesn’t make you or the person you’re comparing to feel better. Do your own thing and rock it out wlEmoticon smile17 Comparing Yourself To Others 

After my run I had to rush out the door for work. Breakfast was brought along…IMG 7273 600x800 thumb Comparing Yourself To Others

Oats in a cup with protein powder for staying powder.IMG 7274 800x600 thumb Comparing Yourself To Others

See you in a bit!

Question: Any tips on how not to compare yourself to others?

When other bloggers list numbers on their site (calories, running times, weight) I just skim over them and don’t stop to think what my numbers are.

Comments

  1. says

    I never read numbers or times on blogs. I tend to skim over them, mostly because I figure they list them for themselves and it doesn’t really have anything to do with me! But that doesn’t mean I’m immune from the comparison trap. I’m working on it!

  2. says

    I list stats on my blog for my own purposes – to keep a training log that I can rely on and so forth (especially since I just transitioned from using one logging program to another). I try not to compare myself to other runners – though it can be hard sometimes. Ultimately, it doesn’t do me any good to worry about what other people are doing or how fast they are running their miles.

  3. says

    If I’m not training for a race, I like to leave the watch at home so I can just enjoy my run and not worry about pace. Otherwise, maybe setting personal goals to focus on will help so you focus on your own goals instead of someone else’s.

  4. says

    This is a habit I need to break for sure. When I started reading blogs I stressed myself out comparing my running to all these runners that do half marathons and marathons every weekend. (In fact, I stopped reading a lot of the blogs too.)

    Just last night my boyfriend and I were watching the Shanghai swim tournament and I started comparing myself to these super athletes–many who are breaking world records and getting Olympic medals. I am a fast swimmer but I whined “Oh my god I am so slow! I’m a slug compared to these people swimming!” I compared my body to theirs–how I have short legs and a short torso but they are ALL legs and torso with super long arms. And I realized that not having the body type just means I work harder for the skills I have and that’s not a bad thing. That’s pretty impressive actually.

  5. says

    I have the worst time with this and when I remind myself I’m new and it’s understandable that I might be slower than someone else – that’s exactly what I’m saying. But If I never “catch up” that’s okay too and I try to focus on that more than on saying “it’s okay cause I’m new” because it will still be okay when I’m not new.

    It’s most helpful for me not to look at the numbers at all and just skip that section of a blog post.

  6. says

    Way to power through your tempo run! Music definitely helps me push through tough runs. I think it’s easy to get caught up in numbers so I usually don’t think about them. It is cool to see someone numbers improve (like time wise in a race) and then hear how they go there.

  7. says

    I don’t really pay too much attention to the food part, except to get ideas for new foods. I don’t really compare what or how much I eat.

    I pay alot of attention to the running times because it inspires me to work harder and get faster. I don’t really compare myself to them because I know we are in different circumstances.

  8. says

    I find your run times and training progress inspiring and appreciate you posting those numbers. While I do compare how fast I run to others, I’m not doing it in a competitive way and always know what my strenths and limitations are. I’m proud of my run pace and what my body does for me on a daily basis, but sometimes I need to push myself to improve and taking inspiration from others and their achievements makes me want to be a better person [in running, exercise, life, blogging, etc.].

    • Mendy says

      Amen, sista’! I like this one. Other’s times (including Monica’s speedy times) are inspiring. And “tools” only. I’m more of a 9min/mile. But it’s about balance.
      Alllllll about balance to be:
      Content with what you have but,
      Ambitious to reach for more but,
      Hopeful to know you can but,
      Wise to know if you should.

  9. says

    Hola!

    First of all, LOVE the polka dot mug! I have an obession with polka dots.

    Second, I think it is totally a NATURAL thing for humans to compare themselves. It sucks but it’s true.
    It goes as far back as learning when you were a wee child. Comparing is ingrained in us because it serves as a base of what is normal.

    I mean, I’m not gonna lie… sometimes when I see numbers that are better than me I’m sort of ‘aw man! Why I no run that fast!’ haha but you are you and I am just starting to train!

    Now, I’m NOT saying that it’s all good to compare because it’s not. NOT comparing is totally a learned habit that in this day in age is essential to our own personal well-beings.

    Just like the rest of the world, the blogging community is a melting pot of people with different experiences, backgrounds, goals. . I don’t think it is easy for some people to not compare. For me, I look at numbers that are ‘better’ or faster than mine and say hey… I’ll get there soon! I am where I am now because that’s where I am at!

    I think you offer awesome encouragement for those at ALL levels in training. You are honest and true to yourself and this blog. I hope you continue to post your numbers!

    I wouldn’t continue to read if I thought you were bragging or didn’t care about your readers and their goals.

    <3 your blog girl!

  10. says

    I feel you!! I don’t like posting any numbers on my blog, and only do it for running just so that people know I’m sticking with the training program! Race times are another thing, though, just because they are so “official,” and I don’t mind sharing regardless of what the number is.

  11. says

    Firstly: Congrats on the tempo run! I have a really hard time completing a workout if I don’t have everything “just so”.

    Secondly: It is REALLY hard for me, when reading blogs, to separate posts about training or events that are inspiring, and posts about training and numbers that can be de-motivating. ESPECIALLY when faster runners talk about how a 10 or 11 minute/mile pace is slow (when I’m happy to hit the 13 min/mile range). I have to constantly remind myself that it took a long time for the blogger (whomever it is that day) to get speedy, and I’ll get there one day too. I go back and read the “about me” posts, and the “my running story” posts. Not to compare myself but just to remember that, while it takes A LOT of work, it pays off.

    But it’s frickin’ hard sometimes.

    I also have to constantly remind myself that, much like I have a blog to track my progress, that is why most of my favorite bloggers started theirs to begin with. So the numbers shouldn’t matter to me because – it’s not about me. It’s about them; it’s about you.

    So anyway. Don’t stop posting your numbers. It’s the internet, and people will take what you write in their own way. But, as helpful as your blog is for me, for us, it’s just as helpful for you, and to take out an important aspect of it kind of defeats the purpose. Don’t you think?

    • Jill says

      Thanks for sharing, Jenny. I’m a very slow runner, but faster than I used to be. Sometimes, I get discouraged when reading about super-fast runners but then I find it motivating to learn about slower runners who have improved.
      It really isn’t fair to compare yourself against anyone else, unless they face EXACTLY the same challenges as you do.

      • says

        I agree! Again, it’s hard sometimes, especially starting out, to see some runners consider my dream goal pace as slow, but like Monica said somewhere else in the comments, she’s been running for SEVEN years (holy crap!), so it’s taken her a lot of hard work, and it’s super naive to think it should come easily for such a noob.

        When I get down about how out of shape and slow I am, I get more competitive with myself. Every time I get on the treadmill or go out on the road I try to “PR” my avg pace. Then I’m just measuring my own improvement, instead of trying to compare my 5 months of running to someone else’s 7 years! (Or even 1). But that doesn’t mean I don’t slip up from time to time reading about someone else’s awesome runs.

        Congrat’s on your improvement, by the way! I’m looking forward to coming in under 13 min/mile one of these days. :)

        • Jessica says

          Jenny & Jill

          Completely agree with you both. The thing I love most about running is that I’m only competing with myself. I don’t have to run faster than anybody else. It’s great to see other’s numbers to see what training hard can do for you. When I PR’d at 37:48 for a 5K I was happy for ME. When my friend PR’d the same race at 24:27 I was happy for HER! (even though I’ve been running a year longer than her ;) And on Sept. 11 when I finish my 2nd 1/2 marathon in under 3 hours (finger’s crossed) I’ll have tears at the finish line because I DID IT!

  12. says

    I am pretty certain every runner has a competitive streak to them, so it’s hard not to compare your numbers. I think comparison is good as long as it helps the motivation and determination to do better. I run a bit slower than you, so seeing your numbers is inspirational for me to keep pushing to work harder.

  13. says

    I love that you tweeted that (and I retweeted, shown above – thanks for including me)… as soon as I saw that i really was like “amen.” Sometimes I catch myself comparing and I’m like whoa, slow down. It’s about YOU. Quit comparing, be a strong woman and be proud of who you are (and your 10 minute mile pace). ;)

    Anyways, thanks for encouraging this! I feel like comparisons happen too much in the blog world sometimes.

    Love your blog! <3

  14. says

    I started running in March. I started following some health and fitness blogs towards the end of June. I know there is no way my numbers are going to be as good as yours, or any of the other awesome chicks who I read about. Sometimes I’m a teeny bit jealous that you can go that fast. BUT, I do like seeing the numbers, because I like to know where I stand, and have something to work for, you know? I am incredibly motivated by you speedy chicks, and even though I don’t think I’ll get quite that fast, it motivates me to push myself a little harder, or a little farther.

    Plus, it’s your blog. If you want to include your stats PLEASE DO. If it stresses other people out they need to learn how to deal with it themselves.

  15. Christin says

    This is only my personal opinion and how I deal with comparisons based on what I have studied:

    We all know it is difficult to avoid comparing ourselves to others. There is a reason for that! The Communications Major in me is peeping out to say that it is natural to compare yourself to others…it’s how we as humans develope personal constructs in order to learn about and understand the world around us. So it’s not necessarily helpful to stop comparing yourself to others, it’s more helpful to identify why the comparison is upsetting you, and deal with that emotion effectively. Then you will be more easily able to apply the comparison to your own life, or let it go without it eating away at you.

    My advise therefore is not to focus on stopping yourself from comparing, but rather to look at WHY you are comparing, and what purpose it serves. It’s all about perspective! Look beyond the face values and keep in mind that you are an individual with a different background, set of goals, and set of values than the person you are comparing yourself to.

    If someone’s running stats upset you for instance, it is important to look at WHY. Do you have an injury? Have you been focusing more on work than exercise? Have you had family issues to deal with lately? The reasons for why the comparison upset you help put it into perspective, and once you understand those reasons, you can set goals for yourself based on your own needs, and not thiers.

    Be forgiving towards yourself. Use the information you have been given for a positive purpose, not a negative one. Congratulate yourself on your own personal efforts, and set obtainable goals to keep you focused. Keep in mind that your top priority might still be family, or work, or healing before working on faster runs, and that’s OKAY.

    The comparisons you make are merely triggers your mind uses to try to understand the world around you and create the opportunity to change yourself for the better. Once you identify what it is you want to change, comparisons can be a valuable motivational tool.

  16. says

    I used to compare myself to others all the time, but then I realized that I will never accomplish anything unless I am focused on myself. Being healthy includes mental health too and it will drive you crazy if you constantly judge yourself based on others.

  17. says

    I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to other bloggers. Not so much their running times though. Mostly because I don’t really know what all the numbers mean anyway! Haha! I get into trouble when I start comparing what I eat and how many times I worked out that week to other bloggers. It can be hard to avoid, but I try to just use it as motivation instead of letting it make me feel bad about myself.

  18. says

    i post all my numbers on my blog … my running times, my mileage, my weight … but i do it because i want to be to refer back to them and to track my progress. its totally for me and i expect most people just skim over them too. personally i like to see everyone else’s running numbers for inspiration. and FOOD too :) because i’ve learned a lot of stuff i didn’t know about food/cooking/prepping/etc from blogs! like sunflower seed butter :) YUM.

  19. Pam says

    Hey girlie! Great job on your run!! I like that you threw in a mile under 8min…for the heck of it right! Keep it up! You’re doing great! :)

    First of all I want to tell you that I think you have a very healthy attitude towards your goals and running. You’re not going to extremes with either. I like what you said the other day about losing weight and marathon training. Yes, marathon training is NOT the time to go on a diet and be too restrictive of calories. I’ve been running for 14 yrs. now and I can honestly say that in my 20′s I’d compare myself to others a lot. Body shape, running times. But, now that I’m in my 30′s comparing has come to a hault. I compare myself to myself. Past PR’s etc. We come in all kinds of shapes, sizes. But, what also sets ourselves aside is our attitudes, desires, goals. We have to (esp. as females) learn to appreciate what God has given us. Being able to start and finish a marathon is a huge accomplishment whether you run a 2:40 marathon or a 6 hour marathon! I like stats…they keep you accountable and help you stay focused on your goals. For so long I never journaled workouts, etc. That was one of the motivating factors for me to start a blog (almost done btw). I want to share, learn and keep myself accountable. Oh I hope I didn’t ramble too much! :)

    Have a great day!!

  20. Liz says

    I have a hard time not getting down about my pace because of all the blogs I read that list their pace. However, if I had a blog, I would want to list my pace to keep track of it, as you said. And, you should be proud of your pace. You had an awesome sub 8 mile which is great! I think it’s my problem that I get down on my pacing, not yours, so keep listing your splits and be proud :)

  21. says

    It’s natural to compare yourself to others. Every single human being on the face of the earth does it! We just can’t get to down about it. We are always going to find someone who runs faster, is skinnier, taller, prettier, smarter, funnier, or better at something somehow. I think we to an extent have to compare ourselves in order to strive to improve. We just need to use the comparisons in a good way I will never be six feet tall, 125lbs, run a 5 minute mile (I don’t think), or lift more weight than my husband. It just is what it is.

  22. says

    I just always remind myself.. WHY would i want to be like someone else.. that’s a whole new set of issues I would have to deal with and be insecure about.. bottom line is everyone compares themselves.. instead try to find the awesome things about you that other people would want :)– like that awesome sandwich you had for dinner last post– I want it !! :P

  23. says

    Because I’m so competitive ( working on this!) I get easily triggered by numbers as well. I always wish I was a faster runner but I just have to remind myself I run to destress, because I feel goo afterwards. Comparing myself the other’s times just ruins it. This is way easier said than done but I just try to set goals for myself and celebrate me when I reach them :-)

  24. says

    Sometimes I actually feel pretty douchey myself writing down paces, especially if I am not happy with my own performance and express that. But…I do it because I feel that tracking my own progress helps me and it’s full disclosure about what I”m doing and feeling, runningwise.

    At the same time, I am competitive, but in a way that it doesn’t usually get me down. I am inspired by the awesome races of others and it makes me want to work harder to see if I can get to their level as well. And speediness of other people aside, I am often inspired to do more myself by reading about the dedication of time and mileage that I see on so many blogs….as long as they aren’t pretty and skinny too. Just kiddin’ about that last part :-).

    • says

      Well, if pretty and skinny bothers you – you don’t have to worry about that stuff here ;)

      PS – I was just thinking about you. This is ridic. How about next Tuesday?

      • margot@fasterbunny says

        Ridiculous, I am in san francisco that morning. I’m sorry! Pick any other day next week and I can do it. Or even this weekend (saturday).

        • says

          Also, I know you were just joking about the skinny/pretty thing BUT when I met you, no joke, the first thing I thought was “wow, she is way prettier than on the blog” (not that you look bad on the blog).
          So just FYI :)

  25. says

    I think the numbers issues is one of the biggest issues I have with food and exercise blogs- but it’s MY issue. I’m competitive and comparing myself to others is only natural. The only crappy part is is that I think I’m slower than EVERY single runner blogger I read and there are days where I get discouraged. But, like I said, that’s MY issue and I’m secure enough to not jump off a bridge after I see that you run 2 minutes/mile faster than I do. I think people who are triggered need to self-monitor and not visit “number” blogs.

    So I guess that’s the long-winded way of saying you should keep on doing what you do and trust your readers to be adult enough to handle it :)

  26. says

    It’s very easy to compare yourself to others, and I don’t know that there are any tips to not do it other than to not do it. If you want to run faster or further, just work harder on it. You want to weigh less, eat less and move more…Use others as motivation, not measuring sticks.

  27. Kat says

    Ha, I’ve yet to figure out why people compare themselves and get down. Everyone has different bodies and different histories with exercise. I saw an acquaintance at the gym the other day and she asked me what my workout and sounded so depressed when she heard my answer! She’s pretty much never worked out before and I ran cross country and track till I was 16 and played basketball for seven years and have the legs – aka insane quads and calves – to prove it! Like…duh I’m going to be in better shape than someone just starting out. When I see numbers I usually to make note of them, but I get that someone who’s been running for years is going to be faster than me. I personally like seeing the numbers – it gives me an idea of where to aim for.

  28. says

    i learned a long time ago how comparing myself to others – esp. when it came to acting and all the rejection you face – can be really harmful. if i’m going to compare myself to someone else, i try to focus on it being someone who is less fortunate than me, so i have gratitude.

  29. says

    When I first started running, I had problems with comparing myself to other people and always felt bad about my times and distances. I even got made fun of about how slow I ran. I eventually had to learn to let this roll off and laugh at myself because I know I’m not the fastest person, but I love running and I knew I’d get better if I stuck with it. We all know that times come and go. I makes me upset when people try to compete with other people in pleasurable running because it’s such an individual sport! Run for yourself and no one else. The times and distances will come!

  30. says

    It might be wrong to compare, but I am pretty sure it is human nature. I have a soon to be three year old. When I take her into dance class, you can see all the little girls checking each other out. They look each other over from head to toe! I was amazed to see my daughter do this as well! It slightly disturbed me. I wondered if this was the place to be for her, but I think it would happen anywhere.
    In my 20′s I would look at others to compare to myself. Now in my 30′s it’s more of an admiration thing. When you are a mom you look at things differently. I look at people like a mom now. Its like “Oh he has such beautiful eyes or she has a great smile” etc. I think I look for what is unique to them. Everyone has some great feature. It’s a good place to be.

  31. says

    We all have our insecurities, but to many women have a hard time giving themselves credit for their own accomplishments. I love seeing your numbers and your accomplishments (weight, pr’s, cutting down on cereal consumption..lol)…I don’t compare myself to you, but I find that your accomplishments motivate me. When I am running and I feel like I have to stop for whatever reason, I find myself saying remember what Monica said…just push through this. I will never be fast…but I am old…so I am okay with that. I will never be a size 4 or a 6..hell or an 8…but I have three kids, I’m in my..holy heck..mid 30s, 5’9″ and a mound of muscle…we have to look at what makes us special, unique and pat ourselves on the back. Sorry…to much coffee this morning..I am rambling…;)

    • says

      Who cares about sizes – I think you’re very pretty!

      P.S.I’m reading this comment as I’m eating granola so I don’t know how the whole “cutting down on cereal consumption” is going…

  32. says

    I used to read how fast people ran and think that I should be there too. But I just think about how far I have come with my running and I know with time and determination that I will get there. No need to compare and get down on myself when I should be proud of myself instead. :-)

  33. Ella says

    wait… people seriously email you to compare themselves to you?! like, if they are faster or slower or skinnier or bigger? that is so bizarre!

  34. says

    I just read Dina’s post about this (and she linked to yours as inspiration!) and I realized between comments that while I don’t look to bloggers to compare, I do look to bloggers to set baselines for me. I went from a 13 minute mile to an 11 minute mile in the span of a couple lazy months. By the time of my first half (November) I want to do sub 10, no matter what it is. The only reason I have that goal is because of the baseline bloggers have set for me. So maybe I do compare myself subconsciously? Boo.

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