You know that feeling where you feel out of place when you join a group run because you're worried about pace and distance, and maybe the whole experience is even ruined because you spend the whole run worrying about whether you're holding your training partners back? And then you get so caught up in that mindset that you don't even enjoy the run? And so the run really doesn't even relieve stress because you've gotten yourself so worked up that you might be more stressed than when you started?
In Episode 136 of the podcast, I share an observation from a triathlon I did several years ago. Everybody I was training with was at 40-60 years old at the time. Most of the people no longer had the ultra slender body that you would stereotype as being a "triathletes' body." Being perimenopausal and menopausal, most of the group carried a little extra weight around their mid-sections (which is completely normal and should be talked about more too!)
One of the things that has always bothered me about the shirts you buy at races is that they are made for people who have the body of a 13 year old (no offense if this is you, but I would venture to say that unless you weighed 110 pounds, the shirts at this event would not fit you)
I talked to the t-shirt vendor about this because I think it sends the wrong message--and it also severely limits the vendor's sales because there are way more people doing races--whether it's running or triathlon or recreational running--who are competing for fun and are not fiercely competitive--and they are not a size XXXX Small. They are people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and vendors should keep this in mind when they create things like race shirts or apparel that they sell at the races.
I think this is one of many subtle things that takes place in the racing and training world that sends the signal that "we want your money, but you really don't belong here."
I know that this is not a new topic, but it goes back to what I am trying to achieve with my new run club. I want everybody to feel welcome. I don't want there to be a body type that you have to have. I don't want there to be at pace you need to run. I don't want there to be a distance that is expected. You can run for fun. You can have pride in running at the back of the pack. You can be somebody who wants to run the Boston Marathon someday, and you can have pace goals and distance goals, but I want it to be something where people feel valued and welcome wherever they fall on the continuum.
You can hear more of my thoughts on the importance of creating a welcoming training and racing environment via the player embedded above, or subscribe to the Power Up Your Performance podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, and more.
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