One of the biggest pit falls in fitness is relying on other people for motivation.
This was one of the biggest reasons why I struggled to get faster on the bike for many years. When I would race, I needed people to help me focus and push me. If someone was behind me then I would try to keep them from passing me. If they were in front of me then I worked my tail off to get past them. My whole work ethic was down to how I related to other racers.
Most of the time, I would find myself all by myself on the course. Anyone who was ahead was too far ahead for me to catch them. Anyone behind me was so far back they weren’t a threat. So I just put in a modest effort for the rest of the race. It was rare to find someone who was on my level.
I finally started to get faster when I took on a whole new approach. Each race wasn’t to race other people, instead I was racing the clock. This meant that no matter what other people did, I always had to push myself.
It’s easy to sit back on your laurels when your ahead of other people. It’s also next to impossible to push yourself when other folks are far ahead of you. But trying to improve on your own performance is always the best level of pressure. Never too much, never too little. It’s just right and it’s always there.
The lesson is simple. Run your own race. All of the other racers are running their race, you just happen to be on the course at the same time. But no one ever became faster by winning a race. No one ever became slower by losing one either. They became faster or slower by actually going faster or slower. It all boils down to your personal performance. Not the performance of everyone else.
Seek to be faster, stronger, or whatever fitness characteristics are important to you. Progress is always far more rewarding than where you stand among your peers.