Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Running: Good Time vs Fast Time

I think there are a few potential posts here on this topic. Good vs Fast vs Fun. We all have many reasons to run: enjoyment, fun, socializing, health, time goals, personal records, trophies, prize money.  Some of these goals go together well, others not-so-much.

Fast times are often, but not always, our goals as runners. We want to run well, fast, and set personal records.  If not a PR, maybe an age group award. That's fine.  I fall into this camp fairly often. Why race if not to test yourself? But the pressure of performing can reduce the fun. It can turn a good time into a bad time. I might run fast, set a PR, but get injured. That's not fun or good. Or I might avoid interacting with other runners (socializing is fun, right?) in my sole pursuit of a PR. Or, heaven forbid, I try for a PR and miss it. Sad...and not fun. Of course, running fast has its own rewards and can certainly be fun. Even aiming high and falling short can be gratifying. I'm not telling anyone to avoid setting goals or trying to run fast. Just don't let it overshadow the real reason we run--to have a good time and enjoy the experience. We get to define what "good" is for ourselves. Don't be pressured by others to define "good" in very simple terms like "fast" or "first." We cannot all finish in first place, but we can all have a good time.

Don't over-indulge in seeking only fast times. We need to remember that "good times" can be fast, but they can also be slow. Good running times are often the best when they are care-free and unaccompanied by goals. Don't miss out on having fun (a "good time") just because you want a fast finish time. Fast and fun are not the same. Neither are fast and good. The two goals are not mutually exclusive, but they do tend to interfere with each other. Find the right time and place for each. Happy running!  I wish you many good runs.

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