Tales of a runner: the frustration edition

Has there ever been a truer quote?

The other day, I went for a run and it FRUSTRATED me that I wasn’t better than I am. I actually posted a thread on twitter because I wanted to get out my frustration. I wanted it logged in my own world that it’s not all rainbows and successes and that there’s some true struggles:

Today’s run was a struggle. I don’t know if I’m actually getting faster so I need more breaks or if I’m just giving up easier because it’s not easy. Running is definitely a mind game and days where I get it right, I’m cush… but days like today frustrate me.It frustrates me that im still not as good or as fast as I want to be. I know that this isn’t going to be a linear progression and that you don’t just become a “brilliant runner” in a year, but the perfectionist in me does beat me up for it. I know, I know, look at the progress.But that’s not always a thing that’s easy to do in the moment. I love running. That’s not something I ever thought I’d say, but as a person who thrives in excelling at things, it really frustrates me. I’m better than I was, but not as good as I want to be. Please know I’m not saying all of this for sympathy or praise, but I don’t often voice my frustrations about running.

For me, like I said, I LIKE to be good at things. I LIKE to just GET things and BE GOOD at them straight away. I thrive at being good at things and succeeding. It’s not because I don’t understand that things take a while to get good at; it’s more I feel like a bit of a failure when I don’t succeed (we won’t go into my failure complex right now).

Running isn’t something that comes naturally to me (does it come naturally to anyone?). It’s something I’m having to constantly work at; it’s something that is hard; it’s something that I think I will have to KEEP trying at for as long as I run. There are so many things that I don’t think i’ve cracked or so many things that I think I’m doing ‘wrong’ when I’m running. And that’s what frustrates me. It’s not something I can just BE GOOD AT in the click of fingers.

I know a lot of this is mental and my own headspace rather than anything else. None of this is from someone else pressuring me to be better; it’s ME pressuring ME to be better. To be faster. To be fitter. To be better at something that I WANT to be good at.

When I’m out running, and I have to slow down/walk because my lungs/legs just can’t take it, it’s like a kick in the gut. I see other people who are running faster/better/more composed than I am and I just want to be that. I want to be faster. I want to run with other people and not worry about slowing them down/not being as good as them. Why can’t I just run continuously? Why do I need to stop? Why do I need to do this? Why am I not able to just run and run? Why am I not faster? Why am I not as good as they seem to be? When will I be better?

I KNOW the answers rationally… but that doesn’t stop me feeling frustrated about being better.

I can however see that the fact I WANT to be better is a sign that actually I care about being a runner. There was quite a lot of snow in Newcastle recently and I couldn’t get out for a run – that frustrated me. I like being the challenge of running. I LIKE that it’s hard. I LIKE that it has pushed me past what I think I COULD do. I LIKE that it’s hard… so when I couldn’t get out and even just do a short run, I wasn’t a fan of that.

I can look back at less than a year ago me who would never run, who never thought running was even an option and think ‘Gosh I’ve made lots of progress and I’m so much better, and I’m getting out and I’m challenging myself and I’m doing it and that’s better than not doing it’. I recognise and acknowledge ALL of these things; I am proud of how far I’ve come. I am proud of the fact I’m still doing it… but my god, does it frustrate me that I’m not better/faster yet.

S x

2 thoughts on “Tales of a runner: the frustration edition

  1. Charlotte says:

    I definitely identify with the frustration at not being instantly good at something. Running has been a particular nightmare for me. But I am very much like you and pressure myself when I am not where I want to be. I am proud of you my friend.


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