It's one of the most googled phrases by runners all looking to get leaner, faster and stronger. Everyone wanting to achieve new PR's and distances but fearing their bodies aren't what they should be.
Every time I see one of those articles boasting weight loss to improve or saying "Get those 6 pack abs now" my heart breaks a little. Is THAT what we should be telling young impressionable kids let alone us as grown adults?
I grew up as a heavier kid. Never thinking I was meant for sports or that I could be good at them because I was bigger. To be fair I also didn't stick with any one sport for a long time, partially because I got board but partially because I didn't feel like I fit the mold. Even now we all see the elite runners; lean, fast and having what most people consider the ideal running body. It’s hard to not get swept up into that stereotype narrative. It's not their fault, they are built a certain way and they shouldn't be shamed in any way for it. But it does lead to an even deeper question that I don't have the energy to dive into: why does it need to be this way?
I had spent a long time worrying that I wasn't good enough to be in the running industry because I didn't "fit". A lot of wasted effort trying to fight that I will never be a size 000, I may never have wash board abs, and I will probably have my thighs that don't want to be apart (a love story for the ages) Having to focus on just the basics, it all comes down to exactly what I preach: If you have a body and run, TA-DAHHHHHH you have a runners body!
It's easier said than done to embrace it. We all have our good days and our bad days, even me to this day. The big question is HOW do we accept this and move forward?
One step at a time.
Pick a power outfit: I have a certain running outfits that I put on and immediately feel like bad ass. Doesn't matter if I'm bloated, going for a run or just strolling around the house drinking coffee---Once I put it on I FEEL that running energy.
STOP weighing yourself: Really, it does nothing but effect our mood. If the number is down, we are happy. If the number is up, we are miserable. If you eat well, move and are trying your best----ditch the scales!!
Don't tie your worth by what size your clothes are: If I see you running, I'm not judging what your clothing size is. In fact, I'm abbot judging at all! I may want to be your friend, give you some coaching or want to run with you BUT I will never judge. Spoiler alert, no one can see your pant size and if they are seeing it they are either doing your laundry or being invited into your pants for a reason (win win depending 😉)
Forget the pace comparison: Somebody's "slow" is another persons "fast" and vice versa. Just like you can't compare someones life to your own, you can't compare your running. It will NEVER make you feel better.
Celebrate what your body DOES: Can you lift weights? Walk without getting winded? Run, bike , swim, all three? THAT is something that you should be proud of. It's not easy to get up and out there day after day. Would you rather be able to move, push yourself and grow or fit into a smaller size? For real, think about it.
Unfollow/stop reading the false narrative: You DON'T need to buy the weight loss teas, juice cleanses or spend 15 hours a day in the gym. STOP giving diet culture and influencers the power to tell you that if you don't do XYZ you are lazy or less than. You are awesome, strong, and brave---F the haters!
I have had to work on my confidence a lot both on and off the road. I've had to accept that my worth as a coach had nothing to do with my own PR's, body type or race distances. What makes me a good coach has nothing to do with MY body. Just like your worth as a person or runner isn't tied to your body.