After several discussions with a few others on this topic, I felt it was something worth mentioning. It ties into my last Tips post about finding a supportive community.
It can be hard sometimes to join a group or friends doing exercise of any kind (not just running) who you look at as being faster, better, or stronger. And sometimes, we easily get drawn into their pace. They’re lifting more weight? Well, you want to reach their level or just appear to be more on par, so you do the same.
Or on the opposite side, (especially as a beginner) you fall into letting them convince you to do more. Most often people from exercise or fitness groups encouraging you to do more, go faster, or try harder aren’t attempting to say ‘you aren’t doing good enough.’ Rather, they’re just trying to provide positive motivation. They want you to get better for yourself, and in some cases, giving a little nudge—an external push—is what some people need.
It can be hard to push ourselves at times because we don’t know our limits. We may even be afraid of finding them.
But that being said, it’s very important to let yourself be heard. Because the pushing from others is usually done with good intentions, these people will be accepting if you tell them no. It’s just knowing when to dig in your heels and say ‘I’d rather stick to my own plan.’
There’s nothing bad about voicing your thoughts or concerns. And if that day’s running group is going a bit too fast, just say “Hey! Go ahead, I’m gonna slow the pace down a bit.” Sometimes they don’t realize they’re going so fast and need a reality check (in a good way). Other times, they’ll realize they have someone still growing who isn’t quite at their level yet and will give you a quick okay and keep going.
They’re not intentionally leaving you in the dust, they’re just acknowledging that you, and them, are on different levels at this point in time. Nothing wrong with that.
But the fact is: it’s easy to feel pressured to perform the way others are. Especially in fitness. So don’t be afraid to speak up. Let others know when you’re comfortable with a workout and definitely when you aren’t. Part of learning to push your limits is knowing that they exist and that they will never be exactly the same as someone else’s.
If ever you feel that others are pushing you too far, too fast, then just dig in your heels and say so. Trust me, they’ll understand.