I’m a rubbish runner

“I’m a rubbish runner”. Not matter how many marathons I run, how many miles I clock and how fast I can do a parkrun, I always have this thought swirling around in my brain periodically.

I seem to live life perpetually disappointed in myself with running. I love running. It’s part of who I am. I believe I will always run, as long as I’m able. Whether I will always run marathons I don’t know – but for the moment, I love them and will continue signing up to them (notice I say “signing up” and not running, because signing up to a marathon does mean I will in fact run it).

So why am I disappointed? Ehhh. Despite loving running, running doesn’t love me. It plays a cruel game with me where I run well for a period of time, lulled into a sense of false security, then BOOM, injury will strike and I’m out of the game. I’m so fed up of this cycle.

I do a lot of strength training to keep myself strong. I go to the gym throughout the week and work on my glute strength, my legs and core. And don’t get me wrong, it has HUGELY helped me. I rarely seem to have niggly issues or full-blown injuries with my knees, hips or IT band. These have always plagued me in the past before doing any gym work. I was just limping from one niggle to the next. Always trying to foam roll away the niggly pains I’d get on a weekly basis.

But I still get hit with injuries that I don’t know how to deal with and strength training hasn’t seemed to helped. For example, my left calf has always caused me issues when I get into higher mileage. It’s also very sensitive to changes in footwear it seems. People have advised calf raises, but actually my calf strength is good (as tested by different physios) and doing calf raises only tightens my muscles further. It’s possibly something due to having fairly flat feet, or something else bio-mechanically “wrong” with me.

And then my hamstring. Since before the Boston Marathon it’s been bugging me on and off. It doesn’t hugely affect my running thankfully (though I’ll occasionally feel it crop up towards the end of long runs)… until I do something stupid like attempt deadlifting at the gym and ignore the signals of my body telling me “erm, maybe don’t do that?”.

Thankfully it seems my injury woes have subsided for the moment (*touch wood*) and I’m gradually making my way back into  running again. I’ve been sensible and taken things slowly and not jumped back into running too often. I worry a little how Marathon Talk Run Camp will go this weekend… but I’m confident I can take things easy and not be too tempted to do too much. Who knows though.

So back to being a rubbish runner. These feelings are both down to the frustration and disappointment I feel with myself for just not achieving what I’d like to achieve. And also down to that horrible, horrible thing called comparison. Seeing what other runners are doing… seeing them hit crazy high mileage… seeing them run every day, twice a day… I don’t care about times thankfully, but the sheer ability of being able to push my body to run as often as I want without issue. Entering races and not wondering if I’ll even make the start-line. Talking about upcoming marathons with the constant inclusion of “if I get there”. Because for me, I can never guarantee injury won’t strike.

I don’t think I’m a stupid runner. I don’t think I take risks. Yes I’ve done stupid things and yes some injuries have indeed been down to mistakes I’ve done. But I’ve since become a paranoid runner. A super careful runner. A runner who second-guesses every run I do, every pace I hit and every race I enter. Can I? Should I? Will I?

I’m sorry to vent so much and be such a bore. I know my injury woes can’t exactly be that enthralling and I can only apologise for not being as exciting as other runners out there smashing out all the miles. I only hope that a take-away from my blog can at least be that if you find yourself feeling rubbish, I’m here too feeling the same.

How often do you run?

Do you compare yourself to others?

Do you ever feel not good enough?

15 thoughts on “I’m a rubbish runner

  1. I definitely don’t think you’re a rubbish runner, BUT I do get where you’re coming from. I’m still a complete beginner compared to you (first marathon coming up in Oct though!), and I’m currently out with an injured foot/ankle/shin (I don’t actually know what’s wrong, it just hurts a lot – off to docs soon). I was fine whilst I was just running, but as soon as I started a proper training plan, it has been one thing after another, and all I can put it down to is the impact of the speed training. That said, I am terrible at doing strength and foam rolling. So much so, that I am actually seeing a PT for an assessment tomorrow and will probably be spending the rest of my meagre salary on PT sessions to help me get stronger. So no spare cash for me, but hopefully it will be worth it.
    I hope your niggles get better soon! You’re being very sensible in any case!

  2. I am sure everyone goes through times feeling like that. I try very very hard to not compare myself to others, but that is hard. There are people in my running club who only started running a couple of years ago, and they used to be a fairly similar speed to me, and now they are leaving me for dust! And with parkruns I have not really got any quicker- sometimes I get a pb but that is a rare thing and I am just inconsistent, but mainly that’s because I run to enjoy them and not get a fast time.So that sort of thing can bother me, but normally I can shake myself out of it.
    Enjoy the run camp, they always sound great fun.
    Maria @ Maria runs recently posted…My favourite new lunch, slopestyle and half pipeMy Profile

    • Exactly this. I don’t really care for times anymore. I have a couple of ambitions but really if I can carry on running without issue of injury then I couldn’t care less for getting any PBs. It is hard though – it’s so easy to compare ourselves in this day and age with all the technology and social media.

  3. I found this in other parts of my life where I’m not able to spend the amount of time or dedicate enough effort focusing on the things I want to do compared with those I have to do. Now I have stopped beating myself up about it and going with the flow I’ve become a lot more relaxed and now get a great deal of enjoyment from simply “sneaking” in a run or martial arts session when strictly speaking I should have been doing something more practical. Try it!

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  5. You are definitely not a rubbish runner, injury-prone yes, rubbish no!!
    I can definitely relate to this post. I used to be a lot faster when I was at school, then I started to pick up injuries on a regular basis. There’s little chance of me ever getting near my old PBS.
    With me it’s an all too predictable cycle of training and injuries. I can get through the first 10 weeks of a training plan and then struggle with injuries in the final few weeks. After spending thousands trying to get to the root of all my injuries, I’ve given up trying.
    I spent far too much of my time comparing myself to others. I do it with running, music, work, what people have done over the weekend. I need to focus on myself but it’s hard to avoid comparison trap.
    I’m feeling inadequate quite a lot at the moment. I’m putting it down to new job nerves.
    I hope you have an awesome time this weekend.
    Emma recently posted…Rants and raves #24My Profile

    • There’s so much focus on PBs that I really struggle sometimes when talking to other runners. Like I’m just not as driven anymore by times.
      As a fellow injury prone runner, I totally sympathise with your injuries too 🙁
      Hope your job is going OK.

  6. You are definitely not a rubbish runner! Although I can totally relate to this post – not just in terms of my running but in my career and my blog too. I think it’s totally normal to sometimes feel like this, especially when things are so closely linked to our identities and when we are surrounded by others with the same hobbies or careers who seem to be smashing it. I think that everyone feels like this at some point and it’s totally normal and will pass 🙂

    • It’s like the whole Impostor Syndrome isn’t it? Never feeling like we’re good enough or in the right place. It’s just so hard because there are so many easy ways to compare ourselves to other people. I think you’re amazing tho 🙂

  7. oooooooooohhhhh girl you are totally speaking my language here. Well, not the running part, but the point you are making! I think a lot of people feel this way though, in their own way, but I think its great that you are aware of it and are being open and honest with yourself [and us!]. The comparison trap is easy for ANY of us to fall into and even when we KNOW we shouldn’t – somehow it always ends up happening. All we can do is continue to love ourselves regardless of it all!
    kat recently posted…Cake Batter Protein Bites [ Vegan / Paleo ]My Profile

    • It’s hard isn’t it in this very superficial industry of health and fitness where aesthetics and performance are so highly valued. Just have to remember at the end of the day we do this for our health (physical and mental) and for fun.

  8. I totally understand where you are coming from – I always always always compare myself to others and beat myself up about not being at my quickest or not running as far or doing intervals/hills and having a dedicated training plan. I get particularly anxious at Parkrun which is strange because it’s not a formal race but it’s the one that gets to me most. Like you, I prefer distance running and I’m better at it but it would be amazing to crack a sub 20 Parkrun one day (my PB is 20:58 which I got last summer but I can’t get anywhere near that now and I just don’t know why) – I go into Parkrun with a bit of a negative outlook and I do think sometimes it’s mind over matter because I know I can do it but something in my head tells me I can’t and I just can’t knock that out. Running is a weird one, both the cause and cute of my anxiety. But it’s nice (in a cruel sort of way) to know someone like you feels the same sort of emotions. I constantly say to my boyfriend (who is super quick but prone to injury) ‘I’m not shit am I?’ And he always gets annoyed at me for doubting myself but it’s hard when a lot of people are progressing and I seem to be going backwards 🙁

    • I understand this about parkrun SO much. I used to feel exactly the same. I felt like it was such a competitive environment – but really this was all in my own head and no one else’s. Now I go to run for fun or see what I can do, but I know in reality it doesn’t matter and no one does care. I’m rubbish at giving advice on this because I feel the same but all I can say is just stop putting pressure on yourself. The good stuff happens after you just let go a bit.

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