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Why We All Need To Stop Going On About Times When It Comes To Running


Last updated on September 28th, 2023 at 07:20 PM

Fast, slow, graceful, boxy, half-jog, half-walk, slog or a pleasure, however you run, the likelihood is, when you start, you’ll be asked how quickly you do it.

Many ask to be polite. Some ask to size you up. But one person who wants that conversation to be killed is running coach Chevy Rough. He’s urging all runners to focus on their event and avoid getting het up by times.

So as race season is underway with events up and down the country every week, Chevy lays out why our conversations about running need to change…

We need to think differently about running in races

We all try and validate our journey through time. What’s the first question people are going to ask you on the Monday after the event: What time did you do it in? Then you get people saying, ‘I’m scared to run with people. I’m too slow. I’m going to get left behind, I can’t run that far.’ We quantify running by numbers and actually, we should forget that. It should be done by feel. What am I capable of doing today? How can I slowly progress to where I need to be and how can I enjoy it?

Forgetting times is especially important on the big day

For me, the event day is a celebration of all the training and hard work you’ve put in. If it’s your first half marathon, marathon or event, anything you do is going to be a PB. As opposed to putting on too much pressure on yourself, try and disconnect from the numbers and enjoy it.

You shouldn’t care how you complete the race course…

I look at movement. I don’t care how people move. I don’t care if you walk 13.1 miles. I don’t care if you jog, jog-walk, run-walk, whatever. I just want you to move around 13.1 miles – or whatever the distance – in a safe and fun manner. Connect to that movement while you’re doing it. Connect to the crowds. Connect to the energy, connect to yourself and enjoy the process. To me, it’s that connection that keeps you doing it. As soon as you disconnect from the numbers, you’re more likely to stay in love with running, and stay moving long-term.

But how can I stay motivated if not by time?

The key question to ask is not what time you’re going to run, but how you are going to feel when you cross that finish line. Race day is brilliant. I want people to race and hit those goals and PBs if that’s what drives them, but race is an off-putting word. It’s just a festival of sport. A celebration of movement. A day to celebrate all the hard work you’ve put in and the fantastic feeling of travelling those miles on your feet.

Virgin Sport Festival of Fitness series is underway. The Westminster 10k is on July 9.