Whether they have an enviable running form, cooler clothes (or just look better in them), better attitudes, more structured training schedules, or flashier shoes, there are always reasons to envy other runners. This can be viewed as a positive (something to strive for!), a negative (comparing yourself to others may result in disappointment or negative self image), or just a fact of running. I prefer to think of it as the latter, as I don’t know a single runner – myself at the top of the list – who hasn’t experienced runner’s envy in multiple forms. If you’re unsure where you lie on the spectrum, here are eight ways to tell if you’re experiencing runner’s envy.
You buy the same shoes, shorts, sports bra, headband, etc. as a runner faster than you, honestly believing to some degree – admit it or not – that it may help you become faster. You are sorely disappointed every single time.
2. Gettin Nosy
You come to a stoplight and are immediately jealous of the runner bouncing in place next to you waiting for the walk sign. Your jealousy increases when you notice their waterpack – a telltale sign they’re on a long run – and you’re more than half tempted to roll your window down and throw something. Instead you ask how far that person is running.
3. A New Definition for Hot
You see a picture of a rail thin model and think, “Eh,” but when you see a sweaty woman in a sports bra, spandex shorts, compression socks bouncing by you think, “Damn! Girl looks good!”
4. Mileage Envy
You casually ask other runners what their weekly mileage is – so you can be sure to run at least as many miles, preferably more. You may also run their routes, adding an extra loop somewhere to “improve” upon it.
5. Envying the Tarahumara
You read Born to Run and then tried converting to barefoot running or veganism, believing it would lead you to ultrarunning greatness. Odds are, it instead led you to a foot injury and the ice cream isle.
6. Faking it til you Make it (or not)
You sign up for a race far beyond your current capabilities just because your friend does, or because you want to brag about training for it – even though you’re scared out of your mind and already determining excuses to get out of actually doing it.
7. Comparing yourself with the pros
You’ve watched the summer Olympics and honestly thought, “I think with enough training, I could do that.” Sorry to break it to you dude, but you probably could not.
8. Feigning support for a friend
A friend beats your marathon time, and you smile and shriek, “Congratulations! You did soooooo well!” while you’re actually thinking, “Damnit! Now I need to run another one and beat her time.”
Envy is one of those pesky human emotions we all experience – like it or not – simply because we’re imperfect. Although some choose not to admit it (or let it show), we’ve all been touched by envy. The key is to make the best of out it and use it for motivation rather than competition. By doing that, you just may end up being the runner that others envy.