From Skinny to Strong: Why Comparison Steals My Running Joy (and Maybe Yours Too)

For over ten years, I’ve pounded the pavement, chased that runner’s high, and tackled everything from 5Ks to gruelling 50Ks. It’s been a journey, and one thing’s for sure: my body has transformed.

Gone are the days of being “skinny and fast.” Now, I’m “solid but strong.” And let me tell you, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap when you see those old photos. “Look how skinny I was!” I think, a pang of longing tugging at me. “Oh, to be that thin again.”

But here’s the truth (the truth I sometimes have to remind myself of): that skinny me in the photo? They couldn’t do half the things I can do now.

Comparison Steals the Joy of Our Journeys

We all do it – compare ourselves to others, especially past versions of ourselves. It’s a recipe for discontent. Focusing on what we’ve “lost” blinds us to the incredible strength and resilience we’ve gained.

Think about it: that “skinny and fast” runner might have cruised through a 5K, but could they conquer a hilly marathon? Maybe not. My body might be different now, but it’s carried me farther, pushed me harder, and experienced the incredible joy of accomplishment that comes with those challenges.

Here’s the Thing About Strength

Strength comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just about the number on the scale. It’s about the mental fortitude to push through a tough run, the physical power to tackle a hill, and the endurance to keep going when your legs scream.

Celebrating Your Own Journey

So, how do we break free from the comparison trap? Here are a few tips that help me:

  • Focus on progress, not perfection. Celebrate how far you’ve come, not some idealized version of yourself.
  • Reframe your thinking. Instead of “I used to be thin,” think “I’m strong now!”
  • Appreciate your body for what it can do. It’s the incredible machine that carries you through life’s adventures.

Running isn’t just about speed or weight. It’s about celebrating your body’s potential and the amazing things it can achieve. So, let’s ditch the comparisons and focus on the joy of the run, the strength we build, and the incredible journeys our bodies take us on. After all, the finish line is even sweeter when you know you conquered it your way.

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