The Comparison Trap

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 6 – Monday 4/8/19 – Sunday 4/14/19

I’m on a few Facebook group pages devoted to running, triathlon and some of the races I’ve done, and I have seen people post training and racing results that others will compare themselves to.  I have done that in the past as well, but I learned that when you have a large group of athletes, there are going to be some that are really fast and some that are at the other end of the spectrum.  I usually warn people, especially beginners to avoid comparing their times to those of others who may have been high school or college athletes, or who are twenty years younger than they are, or just simply more gifted athletically.  But this week I kind of fell into that trap as well.

There was a guy who posted on a local cycling page that I was recently added to who claimed that he was going to ride on Saturday and asked if anyone wanted to join him for the two-hour ride.  I was tempted to join in until I saw that he intended to ride at 18-20 mph.  Really?  Is your name Lance?  Last week I rode very hard and out of my planned Z2 heart rate zone and could only barely manage 16 mph.  Then others were commenting on his post like they would join him if they hadn’t already ridden earlier.  I was taken aback by these people and their apparent ability to ride fast.  I commented, “You all can go that pace?!”  I really had trouble believing that some of these people could average that pace this early in the spring.  I’m a 3-time Ironman dang it!  Why can’t I do that too?  So I got on my bike again and tried to see what I could do on a pretty windy day.  My results were pretty much as I expected, 33 miles in 2 hours, averaging right around 16 mph, and way out of my Z2 training zone.

I looked up Mr. 18-20 MPH on Athlinks, a website that basically will show the results of races for anyone who has signed up and raced.  Although he didn’t have any cycling results on Athlinks, he did have some running results.  Those results were what I expected; a couple two hour half marathons and a nearly 5.5-hour marathon.  I now doubted his ability a little more.  But I know another guy on that page that struggles with running but can definitely kick butt on the bike.  I reminded myself that generally cycling doesn’t make you a better runner, and running doesn’t make you a good cyclist.  However, it did make me wonder what I am doing wrong that I can’t do that tempo as well.  Then I realized that I fell into that comparison trap where I am comparing myself to someone I really have no idea of how fit he really is on the bike.  I need to just worry about myself and progress slowly for 30 weeks to complete my goal.  His goal isn’t mine, and I just need to remember that.

 

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I took a road I never use and ended up getting turned around a little.  I took a quick moment to document my dumb self.

 

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Best I could do on a windy day.

 

The weather this week was crazy.  Some of the days were very spring-like and yet old man Winter would remind us that he’s not done yet and dump snow on us again.  My Sunday run was forced indoors due to a crazy mid-April snow storm.  Summer needs to get here fast!

Week 6 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 61.6 miles > Runs: 4 total / 23 miles

 

 

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One of my favorite running quotes:  “Comparing our performances to the performances of other runners is not nearly as constructive as comparing our performances to our own potentials.”  – Jack Nelson

 

 

Author: Ironman Chris

Family, running, triathlon and drumming are my things.

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