Distance running is a strange sport: at the sharp end, the elites race each other to see who’s the best; the rest of us are left racing ourselves and chasing PBs.
I often joke about it, but the variables involved in running training are countless and all have an effect on how our bodies react to training and perform on any particular day. Eliud Kipchoge’s and Brigid Kosgei’s marathon World Records were the result of years of measuring everything before, during and after training, leaving nothing to chance. If you remember back to the Kipchoge’s sub-2-hour marathon in 2019 (technically not the world record), there was a pace-setting laser-line projected onto the road in front of the pack, the pack itself was arranged optimally, the road was swept in front of the runners; and countless other ‘accessories’, only some of which the Ineos 1:59 Challenge team wanted to disclose…
We mere mortals just can’t live like that. We have jobs which might limit the time we have for training, diets which include the things we like, as well as what’s good for us, interrupted sleep thanks to babies and noisy neighbours. Many people also have their hormones turned upside down every month.
But still, we’re human and so it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing our running performances with others without taking everything into account.
Perhaps it’s best then to do what we can, when we can; be the best at being you.