I’ve recently seen a movement online for runners to stop calling themselves slow. I have been working over how I feel about this and how best to explain my stance without offending anyone.
I completely understand the concept behind not calling yourself “slow.” I understand that to some, it means that you are also calling everyone who runs at a slower pace than you a horrible runner. But I actually disagree with both that premise and the idea that slow is a 4 letter word of the “bad” variety. Allow me to explain.
Running, while an incredibly social sport, is ultimately about you as an individual. Each day when I run, I strive to be a better runner than I was the day before. It’s not about comparison, it’s about self improvement. With that being said, most things in running (as in life) are relative. I know some incredibly speedy runners and when I look at my times relative to theirs, I am slow(er). I also have some awesome runner friends who when I look at their times relative to mine, I am fast(er). That’s just how it works. So, sometimes I’m fast and sometimes I’m slow. And I think that is okay.
When I say that I am slow, I’m not saying anything about anyone else nor am I implying anything about another runner. I simply am stating that right now I do think I am “slow” and would like to become a “faster” runner. I’m not getting down on myself, I’m not judging anyone who runs at a slower pace than I do. I just know that I am capable of running faster than I currently do – thus that’s why I am including speed work in my training. I have a pace in my head that is fast in my mind. Until I run that pace consistently, I will describe myself as a slow runner. I’m okay with that fact – I’m working hard
every most days to improve my running and I know it’s a process.
Also, in a very practical, lawyerly minded way, I always think: obviously there are very fast runners out there. Every thing has its opposite. If there are fast runners, doesn’t there also have to be slow runners? Of course. And that is okay.
I think the key is being comfortable in who you are and extending that to your running. Yes, I’m a slow runner. You might be a slow runner as well. You might be a fast runner. You might be a “fast” runner in my own mind (all you 8 minute milers, I’m looking at you!) but a “slow” runner in your own mind because you are striving for 6 minute miles. In the end, it’s just words and in my opinion, words with very little power.
What do you think? Do you get upset when you hear others call themselves slow?