Run the race you are in


I ran the Leeds 10K yesterday.  It was my first run at this distance; usually I just stick to a much easier 5.  I wasn’t very fast, compared to many in the field.  But I was good for me.

The term ‘run the race you are in’ is often quoted.  It applies to running, to organisations, to HR, to life. It is a phrase that I often say to myself when I get frustrated, when I’m slower than I want to be.

The term has two meanings for me.  Firstly, it is about this race.  It is about now.  Not the next one or the last one but simply this run, right here, right now.  The second meaning is about context; good is different everywhere, and for everybody.

When you are running, your real competitor is only yourself.  You care about your performance, your time.  That is why runner crave the elusive Personal Best.  You might know that you can’t compete with the elite runner, but you can be good for you, in your context and with your resources.  There is no point in comparing my time to the time of the fittest, fastest runner in the race. Just like there is no point in comparing what HR I’m delivering against some of the alleged best.

Look to others for inspiration.  But at the same time, don’t worry too much about what they are doing.  They are running their race.

Good running form also means running with your head up.  Work stuff is like that too.  Look up and out. This is what gives you ideas and helps you learn.   But ultimately do what is right for you, at your place and in your race.  My friend Tim Scott is fond of saying that there is no such thing as best practice.  Striving for it is akin to trying to run someone elses race.  Good practice for the context is a much better goal.  The HR PB.

There is another running quote that I like that is as equally applicable to work in general and people stuff too.  Slow is better than did not finish, which is better than did not start.

Run the race you are in.


Everyone needs someone to help them get to the finish line. Thank you to Mark, for getting me to mine.


Image by Graham Smith @AATImage



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