Friday Five 2.0: Do Not Say That You Are “Slow”

Illustration: Christoph Hitz

I hope none of you take this personally.  We (including me) have all been guilty of saying some of the statements below when talking to other runners whom we know finish races at faster times than we do:

  • “I’m slow.”
  • “You can run ahead. I’ll catch up.”
  • “I need to start earlier because I’ll finish later than everyone else.”
  • “I just want to be faster.”
  • “Why am I so slow?  Do I need a coach?”
  • “I can’t run a marathon. It’ll take me forever.”
  • “I have no one to run with because I am too slow.”
  • “Will I ever get faster?”
  • “I am getting older so I guess I will get slower.”
  • “My PR days are over.”
  • “I guess I need to do some speed drills.”
  • “I wonder if there’ll be any food left when I’m done?”
  • “I’m too slow to be in this running group.”
  • I hope I’m not DFL in this race.”

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.

My Topic for today is:  Five Reasons Not to Label Ourselves According to Our Speediness

  1. We are comparing ourselves to others.

How do we know whether or not we are slow? When we say that we are slow, we must be comparing ourselves to someone who is faster.

We all know that comparing ourselves to others, while natural, is unhealthy.

2. It makes it harder to find a running buddy.

When we say “I’m slow” to a faster runner, we’re are putting the faster runner in an awkward position.  Do they decline our offer to run together? Do they just run slower? Or do they push us to run faster?

Yes, I know if two runners run at different speeds, the run may not be ideal.  But an easy run for one runner may be ideal as a training run for another.

3. We are giving ourselves an excuse for our performance.

Are we satisfied with less because “we are slow?”  Do we start in the back because we think we will be in the way of the faster runners? Do we not sign up for a certain race because the faster runners usually are there?

Our speed should not stand in the way of what we want to or are capable of doing.

4. We set ourselves up for failure.

Countless studies have proven that thinking negatively can inhibit your performance. No matter what our speed is, lack of confidence is going to affect our running.

Positive thoughts can help any runner.  I bet that a PR for a 12 min/mi runner feels just as great as for a 7 min/mi runner.

5. No one cares if we are slow!

The bottom line is this:

No matter how fast we run, someone will always run faster than us and someone will always run slower than us. Fast or slow, we’re all still runners together.

We need to focus on what we have in common rather than that we run at different speeds. We need to stop saying that we are “slow.”

Image result for slow runner ecard

(And sorry if I have offended anyone… I just needed to vent.)

That being said… here are some inspiring posts:

Happy Running!  Anyone agree with me or disagree??

57 thoughts on “Friday Five 2.0: Do Not Say That You Are “Slow”

  1. I agree with some points & disagree with others.

    I know no one cares if I run slowly (other than me). But like most things, running is a bell curve: fewer fast runners, more average runners, fewer slow runners. It’s just common sense that when you’re average (and of course there is no definition of that), you are more likely to find a running buddy — there’s a larger pool to choose from.

    I have also tried quite a few running groups. Many of them had no one my speed. Many of them I tried quite a few times, but in the end, it wasn’t fun for me, so what was the point? Others, obviously, I did stick with. Sometimes even if I ended up running by myself (and yes, it still happened a lot). It really depends on the group.

    I’m a very positive person, mostly, and work with affirmations and mantras all the time. You can say you’re slow, because that’s your reality, and yet believe you will get faster — saying you’re slow will not hold you back. Believing you can’t get faster will. There’s a difference.

    I also believe in being honest. If you’re going to run with someone whom you know is faster than you are, I do think it’s important to discuss pace and how you will run together. I know what pace is good for me. It does me no favors to run too fast and injure myself. And some faster runners just can’t run slowly. Hey, I’ve run with slower runners too. Yes, I know that there are always runners slower & always runners faster.

    I also know slower runners who run with faster runners believing that will make them faster — but ignore what their body is telling them and end up hurt.

    I also believe that it’s not good for a faster runner to always run with a slower runner (if they want to get faster). It’s fine occasionally, but not as a steady diet.


    • I figured you would comment. It was NOT only your post that encouraged me to write this. My boss has complained that she used to race more when she was “faster” and another running friend also has whined about how she has slowed down too much to join the Freihofer’s group.

      I understand what you are saying and it is all true. I just think that runners talk/think about their pace way too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you. It got me thinking though… I think when I talk to non-runners I do comment a lot that I am slow but I think I do it more for them to see that it is 100% okay to run and come last in a race (which I have done, lol). You are still a runner. And the joy you have crossing that finish line is similar to someone who is much faster. So I’m very positive about the fact that I am slow BUT I am still always pushing to be faster, and I never get myself down that I am still somewhere near the back of the pack.


    • We all struggle because let’s face it, running is hard. And when your friends are faster, it’s tough to be positive. But you continue to run and that’s awesome.


  3. You, too, have some great points. I have been guilty of saying several of those statements you listed at the top of your post …and just yesterday, I told my husband that I hoped there’d be some food left by the time I finish this marathon! Lol Yep, you nailed that one!!

    You know, while I’ve found so much encouragement and support from blogging and posting on social media about my running, I have noticed that I’m much more ‘self-conscious’ about my paces. Runners are by nature, competitive people. And while we all will say that when we are racing we are only running against ourselves, we have to admit that we do compare ourselves to others. But that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. I, sometimes, miss the old days when I just ran, before I started doing races, before I cared about my time or pace. But then again, if I had stayed in that place, I wouldn’t have ever experienced all the fun races and places I’ve experienced. The friends, whether they be faster or slower, I’ve made through running and blogging have all brought something different to my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    I agree …sometimes finish times and paces are focused on too much, but if that is important to that particular runner than it doesn’t bother me. If just finishing is what is important to you, then there’s no need to talk about pace I suppose. Bottom line is, like you said…there will always be runners faster and slower than you. The day may come when you will slow down. There will always be good runs and bad runs. There will always be faster runners who will sneer at your slower pace and there will always be slower runners who are jealous of faster ones. Find those runners who inspire you, motivate you, encourage you and accept you …stay away from those that offend or annoy you… and run happy!!! 🙂


  4. Well said. I couldn’t agree more. I said what I said because too many runners get so down on themselves because they “feel” slow.

    I get it because I too am competitive. I’ve forced myself not to wear a watch when I run (not race) so I have no idea what my pace is. (I also don’t have a coach.)

    But I still can’t away from analyzing my splits after a race. I have to tell myself to always focus on the positives – connections with people I’ve met both in person and in the blogging world are much more lasting than my finish time.


  5. What a great post – I recognized myself in a lot of what you wrote. I stopped posting my pace splits several years ago on my blog because I would get comments and emails from readers who said things like they were wanting to start running but were too old or too slow or too whatever…and I know it’s intimidating when you’re a beginner, especially an *ahem* older beginner. I didn’t want anyone to feel like they couldn’t run, because seriously, all you have to do is run, right?

    I love running with people, but there have been times when the people I can match my pace to don’t show up, and I end up either running solo, or a faster runner will choose to go my pace. It’s all good, if you can just let go of the “shoulds” and simply enjoy the act of running.


  6. I think the only thing that makes me kind of sad about being a back of the packer is that none of the running groups in my area have ANYONE who runs my pace. I have two groups semi-near me, one is what I would call VERY speedy (as in, the slowest folks run single digit minute miles) and another that has a few 10ish minute milers – but NO one trains in the 12s. I would love to be part of a group, but every time I’ve tried I just end up running alone anyway, so it is not worth the time to go to their meeting place. That, I think, is truly the only part about being an 11-12 (and sometimes 13) minute miler that makes me sad. The rest ? Well, take it or leave it, cause i’m still a runner!


    • That is too bad. We have groups here with runners at your pace. One has 3 groups. Each group has a coach and they make sure that no one runs alone.

      You are right, though. YOU ARE A RUNNER.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m definitely guilty of feeling or saying that I’m slow, or slower. However, I think (hope) it was always in the context of my own world and not comparing myself to others — just a pace I once ran. But even that is not healthy. I should be more accepting of where I am and enjoy the fact that I’m still out there having fun. Well said, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post Darlene! I am guilty of saying many of those statements and will admit to shying away from run groups for fear of being the last one. Comparison is the thief of joy if you let it. I focus on staying positive and not to let that negative voice in my head get the better of me. I’m a work in progress for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amen, sister. I love this post so much. I know I’ve said “I’m slow” to others and others have said it to me. It’s all relative and I adjust my pace as needed when I’m with friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Instead of saying slow/fast, I just say that I’m running 13mm and would love company if anyone is around. I usually never get biters, but I started stating my pace when I got annoyed at posts saying “I’m slow and I run 9mm and would like a slow buddy”. 9mm is not slow to me. But then 13mm is not slow to a 15mm runner either.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t know that saying you’re slow sets you up for failure – beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that jazz – but I’m with you – a runner is a runner is a runner. Everyone runs at different paces. And when it comes time to schedule a running “date,” there’s no such thing as “slow.” If you feel the need to bring it up, you can certainly state your average pace but my guess is, it doesn’t matter. A “faster” runner will happily run slower with a new friend. Runners do make the best friends, after all. ❤


  12. OMG… Get out of my head! Numbers 3 and 4 plague me in every sport/activity I do. I’m taking purposeful steps to stop making excuses and toughen up mentally so I can break through some of those plateaus.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m wrestling with slowing down. I was always a “middle of the packer” then I was fast (in my 50s) and now things are changing. Who cares. I’m still running. Why do we have to compare ourselves to other people anyways?


  14. I am not a good running buddy with runners who are a lot slower than me – I find it hard to find my groove. On the other hand, I’ve waved others on ahead when I couldn’t keep up. It all depends on the reason for my run.


  15. I agree that we shouldn’t let speed define if we’re a runner or not and we shouldn’t let it discourage us. I never feel discouraged about my pace – it’s a reflection of the stage I’m in and it is what it is. I’m not competitive about winning but I do get motivated to improve my speed when I can knowing that there is a natural limit on how fast I’ll ever be. But I agree with some of the others that if you’re a double digit pace runner it’s next to impossible to get involved with running groups unless you’re ok with running by yourself in a “group run”. I know some people are, no matter what their speed is, but it doesn’t work for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. great post Darlene and food for thought! I am slow, but that’s my definition and I own it. I am faster than some people I know and slower than others. That’s ok. I don’t find it negative. It’s a fact. My husband runs a 3:10 marathon (his PR) and I 5:00 (my PR with 3 seconds over). Yes that’s a comparison. I’m ok with “slow” as in I’m slower than him. He still runs with me sometimes, he just does out and back’s. I really appreciate that.

    The biggest challenge is in fact running with others! My training group now requires that runners who want to join the trainings run a 10K in 55 min. I can’t. I never have. Maybe I could one day if I could join the d*mn training 😉 I stopped training with them because I don’t fit the new requirements.

    My running group has seen the core group of people (which I was in) go from strength to strength and PR to PR. And I am very happy for my running friends! BUT… I am being left behind. I can’t even find anyone to run with me anymore. All of my running friends have improved. They actually don’t WANT to run with me. Nothing personal, my pace is just too slow for them. Luckily I have another running friend who is from a different running group but lives in my building – she runs at about my pace and she is looking for a running partner. So all is not lost. But I think the difference between you and them is that they are in the beginning phase of their running journey and are getting a lot of motivation from seeing PR after PR (not that you aren’t, but I think you know what I mean! ).

    I don’t care that much about running much faster. I think if I lost 15lbs it would improve already. I just want to run an under 5 hour marathon (and 4:59:59 is fine!) and under 1 hour 10k and a under 30 min 5K. I don’t need to be MUCH faster. I own my running and my training and I accept that not everyone wants to run with me because of my pace.

    I do think I could remove some of the statements you mention above, that that would be more helpful. I do sometimes get a bit negative about my situation when in reality it is what it is and I am GENERALLY ok with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You do raise some great points, but at the same time, I think it’s ok to say it. It’s all about perspective anyway. I may be slow, but I am still faster than some runners. I don’t think it’s negative to be honest. I can’t keep up with certain people, and if they want to hold themselves back to stay with me, then it’s much appreciated.

    I have struggled to find groups because of my own insecurities. Once I got it out of my head that no one judged me and there are people in my pace group, I settled into a great group.


  18. I agree, and you’re right. One shouldn’t compare themselves to others as you don’t know where any other person is in their journey. I also feel one should say “I ran slow FOR ME,” or “by my standards,” because maybe their slow is my fast, and quit personally, it annoys the ever loving life out of me, and if they have the opinion that their 9 minute pace is overall slow, then I won’t follow them. Yes, huge pet peeve for me. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s fine to state your pace whether it be 9mm or 13mm. But whether it’s slow or not is relative. And yes stating that their pace is slow when it’s faster than your own can be annoying.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve also said those things about me. When someone says they want to run with me, I often say that I am slow because I want to “warn” them. I run alone and that is OK with me. I also enjoy running with a group but again I run my pace. Oh, and I’ve been guilty of comparing myself to others. But lately I haven’t cared too much. I am me and me alone and I run my race and my pace.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Its so incredibly difficult to not compare ourselves to others, especially in the day of social media when anything and everything seems to get posted. But you’re right, we cannot compare our progress to that of others, we need to focus solely on our own progress and accomplishments.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: I ran out of ice: 1/22- 28 Weekly Wrap | Chocolaterunsjudy

  22. Thank you for writing this! I am guilty of saying such things, and I need to give myself more credit! One of my friends always reminds me that a mile is a mile, no matter what speed you go, we are all covering the same distance in a race!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the truth- If you run, you are a runner!

    Liked by 1 person

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