I think everyone does it from time to time but there really is nothing worse than the humble brag. Maybe a few things are, but it’s still pretty bad! They can take many forms but they could be a complaint about an actual accomplishment, burring the lead or a dismissive tone. Humble brags aren’t specific to running, but runners are more than guilty from time to time. Remember that the vast majority of the population can’t even run one mile so every run is kinda a big deal. Personally I think it’s okay to talk up your accomplishments if you want or even post every single run on social media if you want to. But the humble brag really isn’t cool in my books. So let’s be on the lookout for these common runner brags.
Not far, just 10k
I’m fairly of the mind that running a mile or even one km is kinda a big deal. Most people out there can’t even do that at the moment. So you’ve got to understand when you’re talking to a non-runner/athlete saying ‘not far, just…’ is pretty aggressive. If you’re talking to a runner who would never run that far you might be making them feel inadequate. No matter how far you run you know that feeling after talking to some one else. It’s totally cool to tell people how far you ran even if they don’t ask but drop the qualifying statement from your sentence.
I wasn’t feeling my best but…
Lots of physical ailments big and small can zap your speed on a run. Side stiches, being super duper tiered, coming back from illness or an old injury acting up can slow your speed and even lead to lots of walk breaks. Other things like being irritated at something, just the right type of uncomfortable or being a bit anxious that day can actually propel you to go faster than you normally would. Any run is subject to so many factors beyond our control that comparing one to another gets a little tough for every runner out there. That leads us to surprise on how fast or slow we go on a particular run all the freakin’ time. If you turn in a great time just accept it and take the compliments.
But this IS my easy pace!
This one can take a few forms but the most irritating version happens when you’re running with someone else. In this particular circumstance the humble bragging runner acts as if they physically can’t run slow enough to stay with you even though you’re giving it your all. Now this is a fallacy at the best of times. Sure if might feel like you’re going incredibly slow when running with a slower runner than you, but it is possible. I am usually a solo runner with a couple of occasional exceptions. Sometimes I happen to hook up with a love local running lady who Boston qualifies every single year even if she’s just running occasionally that year. I does take us a km or two but she’s always able to slow down to my pace for the day and if she can do it you can too. I also occasionally run with my senior citizen parents who let’s just say aren’t in danger of breaking any land speed records and I can run along side them too. If you’re claiming to be incapable of meeting some one else’s pace and making them feel bad perhaps solo running only is just for you!
I got a PR but I still lost a lot of time
In this circumstance you try to pass off a new personal record as actually way less than your actual potential. By definition a PR is the best that you can do and trying to pretend that it’s not really sucks. This humble brag is characterized by listing reasons why you went slower than your potential at the end of the record breaking race. That might mean that you complain about getting stuck behind a super slow runner on a narrow section of the course, having to re-tie your shoe repeatedly or an on going outfit malfunction that slowed you down. This is a fallacy because at longer distances something always happens it’s just part of endurance running after all. At shorter distances we all do our very best to ignore some irritating issue and just finish fast. Here’s the thing every runner on every run is dealing with something and that’s part of why getting that PR is so sweet. Just accept the accolades and leave the excuses behind! Ditto if you just come really, really close.
I used to run 5k’s too
This one reminds me of piano recitals as a kid. Let’s just say lots of 12 year olds where I took lessons were much more accomplished than me. Hell, so were lots of the 7 year olds when I was 12! There were a couple of snotty kids (and their parents) that would complement me on my performance while pointing out that they has performed the piece years ago. And that’s how I first became familiar with the jelly-fish compliment. It seems complementary but you don’t realize you’ve been stung until it’s too late. Pointing out that you used to do what another runner is working on now is just like that! Really this isn’t even a humble brag anymore it’s designed to cut another runner down to size. Sure, maybe now you only run 100 mile ultras and nothing else but at one point you focused mainly on the 5k too. Experienced non-douchbag runners also know that every single race presents its own set of unique challenges and the intensity of the 5k in particular can make it one of the toughest.
You think you’re busy I’m a mom, CEO AND ultra-marathoner
One of the hardest things for any runner to do is to find the time to dedicate to effective training on an ongoing basis. It’s hard if you work part-time with no kids or overtime with 5! I think it’s a really big deal if I hit the road for 6k at 6 am and more so if it’s dark when I start. You might very well be out the door for your 30k at 4:30 am and that is a much bigger deal. No one is even saying you can’t drop that fact. Maybe just maybe though, leave the time related one upping off the table. We all make sacrifices to get our runs in and unless you’re commiserating with a close running buddy keep it to just the facts when asked. As someone gets to know you a bit more they’ll learn just the level of warrior you are!
It depends on what you call fast
When someone asks you about your running pace answer the question as yes or no or with a specific time if you wish. All of those options are cool and not humble brags. If you however have to get into a philosophical conversation about how fast is fast we know what you’re doing. That is trying to draw out the suspense for your reveal that you are in fact quite fast and/or trying to gauge how fast the other runner is first. I get it totally matters who you’re talking to if you are fast or not. All my running family members for example think I run with the wind however the senior citizen yoga lady in my class can wipe the streets with me. Unless you’re looking to actually win or make money running it doesn’t really matter how fast anyone is. Just like all the runners I’ve met I too would like to get faster. But its way more of an accomplishment that I used to be a slower than average runner but now I’m not. The years of hard work are way more important to me than how fast I go!
I think all the runners out there deserve to share their accomplishments and should whenever they want to. That’s because every run you get out there and do is a really big deal! What humble brags are yo guilty of from time to time? Which one did I miss? Which one do you hate the most? Leave it in the comments below!