Whose Opinions Matter?

As runners, we often hear criticism. From loved ones, from runners, from non runners, twitter, blog comments, you get the idea. Lately, I have heard a fair amount that has me wondering…even though others’ opinions shouldn’t matter.

When I started this blog 3ish(?) years ago, it was to track my goal of racing the states, finding cool bling, and keep up with my running and life in general. I am a competitive, Type A person. I make no bones about that. So obviously, getting faster is high on my list too.  I know accomplishing all of these things won’t happen at once but I like having a plan to try and work towards all of it.  I’ve read plenty of other blogs to know that it can be done too.

Over the past few months, I’ve heard the same two statements about my running way more than I am used to hearing and I’m not really sure why.

1. You race too much.

I know I run a lot of races. That is obviously going to happen when there are 50 states to run. If I only did 2-3 races a year this goal would take a lifetime. So,sometimes I may run them back to back weekends. Sometimes I may take 2 months off. Sometimes I may run one every other month. It really just depends on which races I need/want to do. Either way, this is MY choice.  I am disciplined and experienced enough to actually run these races as training runs and not actually race them. MS Blues was a great example of this. I had 13 miles on my schedule. Run the first 9 at easy pace (which is 8:15-9:00) and the last 4 at MGP (currently at 8:18). I finished that race exactly on target. 1:52.

I would much rather run 13.1 with a group of people in a race, check off a state and score some bling than run 13 miles training alone in Atlanta. I love that Jess is okay with this and works this into my plan. I trust her completely with my training.

2. You run too much/do too much.

No, I don’t. I’m currently where I’ve always been mileage wise. 25-30ish miles a week. I’m running 4-5 days a week. I strength train, take pilates and yoga. It’s a nice balance. I also get regular massages and see a chiropractor. I feel good about my training plan. If I (or Jess or my chiro) thought I was doing too much, I would definitely adjust.

3. All you do is run. Don’t you have a life?

Hmm. Really? Yes, this is my life and it’s my choice as to how I spend my time. I love running. I love working out. I love traveling. I also love that I can combine all of these things into one. I am at a point in my life where I can do these things. If/when I ever have kids, I know that I won’t have the time that I currently have to spend on myself. I may as well take advantage and see as much of this country and world while I can. Yes, I spend a lot of time running. BUT I balance it. I spend plenty of time cooking, reading, going out, and seeing my friends and family.

I would have never taken a trip to Big Sur if it wasn't for the race. I would've missed out on this view.
I would have never taken a trip to Big Sur if it wasn’t for the race. I would’ve missed out on this view.

I really try and not take offense to any of these comments (and few have been from blogger friends) but I find them interesting. I’m curious if you’ve been in a similar situation.

What’s been your biggest running criticism? How did you handle it? Do you ignore the negative judgement or does it bother you?  Is there one person whose opinion really does matter to you?

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  • I get the “you run too many races” ALL THE TIME. obviously, that is why I get burned out and injured, etc. I know people “mean well” but for ME, I do NOT put 100% effort into racing so I get very frustrated when people say that.

    Anyway, I love your blog and always like hearing about your running and racing.


    I’ve been trying to live “normally”, like I would/did before writing about it all on the internet for people to see. It’s stupid how much a hobby (blogging) and people I don’t know’s opinions were affecting me.

  • OK, who in the world said all those things to you? That’s lousy. Clearly, running is your passion. What’s wrong with that?

    PS – Can’t wait to read it when you BQ. That will be bad@$$!

  • My biggest running criticism came when I got injured last spring – from both runners and nonrunners. The nonrunners telling me I should just quit running really pissed me off, but having a runner teacher/friend lay into me for 10 minutes about how much time to take off when I’d specifically said I didn’t want to talk about my injury really hurt. No one should tell you how to deal with an injury except an experienced doctor. Having everyone and their brother tell me I should just quit was so maddening.

  • I don’t get much criticism, but I believe the reason is that all my friends are runners. Some I met through running and some started running while we know each other. I think it is important to be around happy people and people that understand.

  • I used to get all those so much my first year back to running, now i think my friends just now and don’t bother me. The sucky part is when they all plan stuff and don’t invite you because they thought you were out of town racing- had that happen more than once haha. Runner problems

  • You know what is best for you so that’s definitely all that matters. Mine was definitely doing too much too soon (though had plenty of supporters too). I could always tell people who felt that way but hey, it’s me and my hobby so if I want to do it, I will and if I learn a few lessons along the way on my own, that’s probably a good thing too!

  • I read about running a lot. This is a new hobby for me (since last Spring) and though I followed a basic plan for beginners, I got injured. My boyfriend tells me all the time that I’m doing too much, too fast. It’s hard and confusing to hear because I value his opinion, but my research says otherwise.
    I do the researched plan and get injured, I rest like he says and get injured… Who knows whose opinion matters??? I guess being in touch with your body like it is another person with an opinion is the answer…

    • Getting injured is a part of being an athlete. If you are doing your research and using a plan and stretching, etc, then I would say go for it. I’ve been running for years and every year I tend to get some injury at some point and I need to take a little break. I think it’s funny when non runners try to give me advice about running!! Ha ha – enjoy your sport and know that injuries are a part of all athletics, not just running 🙂 It’s a part of pushing ourselves to be better.

  • I stopped writing as much about my training because of the opinions others have. I have a coach and a husband who keep me in track. If they question me then I will question it. Everyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t matter to you either. You will reach your goals as long as you keep moving forward and you are doing it the right way.

  • Preach is sista’. I get that stuff all the time, but what no one seems to understand is this is my life, my hobby, my passion. I do not care what other’s think b/c my husband and I enjoy doing all of this. Also, we love the social aspect of it all. We have met some really great people and wouldn’t change it for anything.

  • I ran over 70 races last year so how much is too much is all relative! I have been pretty lucky in that most of the feed back I get is positive. Even if it is a bit negative. “You are crazy!!! That is a lot of races” is one I hear a lot but I also hear “You inspired me to start running” a lot so it is worth it 🙂

  • I bet the majority of the people who are saying you run too much, probably need to get out there and run a few miles. Or they are former runners that gave up. F them. It’s your life, your body, it’s your perrogative you can do whatcha wanna do (yes, I did just insert a Bobby Brown lyric). Carry on.

  • Elizabeth, I had to laugh at this post. However, I am NOT laughing at you. I just think it is “funny” that people are actually criticizing you for doing something you LOVE. What do they know right? Actually, they’re just jealous because you are are a ROCK STAR in the races!! Hang in there girl!

  • No matter who we are about half the people will love us for it and the other half will hate us for it. That’s why we just have to be ourselves and forget about the haters. Cause they be hatin anyway.

  • I loved all of your answers! I think you are doing everything right! I think people are either jealous that you can run and race as you much as you OR they are too lazy to run and race as much! Whatever works for you!!
    I love racing and training. I like to do a race every month or most months. Sometimes I think its too much but as long as I stay healthy and am still enjoying it..why not! Plus I like medals! Most of my races are centered around travelling. I like going to different cities to race and see the city!

  • Not sure why others would have an opinion about what you choose to do with your time but…I sure like reading about your adventures! Keep doing what makes you happy! Lately, I have been getting told lately by well-intentioned friends that maybe I need to take it easy & not run so much. They just don’t understand…

  • ah yes the endless un wanter comments…i get them…”why everyday?” “you know you are not going to go to the Olympics right?” and my favorite “you are too thin, you need to run less”…some of it bothers me…my brother used to be the worst..during my 70+ lbs weight loss…he and my dad were the worst…zero support..all negative..now it is better…:) I am like you I run many races. I like it. I like to be a part of the event.

  • The truth is, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or does. The only thing that matters is what you believe is right for you. That may not work for everyone and what works for others may not work for you. The beauty of it all is that you get to make your own rules.

  • I think some people are determined to look for fault where there is none but give them time and they will find something to complain about. You are a very well-rounded person and I can’t imagine anyone thinking that you do nothing but run.

  • Great read. I know where you are coming from. Hey maybe people want you to sit around watching reality TV for 40+ hours a week.

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