Reaching the limit

  • The limit in running goes beyond chronometric parameters and is relative to each individual’s priorities and life.
  • Judging the performance of other runners based only on times is an excuse for slower runners.
  • It is important to understand one’s real limit, considering personal priorities and avoiding unnecessary excuses.


Don’t worry, this is not the usual – seen and seen again – motivational post on how to go beyond yourself. I’m really talking about reaching that point beyond which you can’t go and chatting together about what the limit really is.

Last week the women’s Half Marathon world record was broken: another limit was raised (at the absolute level). And the chronometric limit is precisely that data that may seem objective but is (totally) not.

To explain further, let me give you an example: some people say that physiologically an 80-year-old man can run 10 kilometers in 1 hour. And it is certainly true. But you also have to think about who that man might be, what he does in life, what other goals (besides running) he has achieved in his 80 years. What I am saying is that very frequently, among runners, we compare and “judge” by time and personal bests as if they were the only truly important parameters.

It’s all an excuse for slow runners!

Do you think so? So let’s take an example: Haruki Murakami. As a writer you may or may not like him but it must be acknowledged that he is a writer to be respected. And, even if I run faster than him, I would NEVER EVER EVER allow myself to consider myself better than him (or treat him as my equal), in any respect, even on running.

For many, running is just a tool to improve life, but their priorities are other: work, children, family, love, culture, [free space: insert what you want here]. And consequently their limitations are also other than those who have running as their main purpose, so it is very very very very (add another eighteen “very”) to be able to “judge” someone.

When in doubt, then, it is better not to judge.

But back to reaching the “limit”

It is important, in order to live well, to understand what our real limit is, related to our life. In fact, if we were to make a mathematical formula to represent our limit, it might go something like this:

[Limite da raggiungere assoluto] / [Priorità] = [Limite reale]

Once we become aware of what our priority is, “excuses” will also fade into the background. And, don’t worry, I’ll explain myself better now.

Many times I hear “ah, I would love to run 5 days a week however I don’t have time: family, work, children, university, study, friends and social life prevent me from doing it” thus expressing quite unnecessary frustration. I continue to be convinced that this is a wrong sentence. The right one-and much more honest-is, “I don’t run five days a week because I have more important things to do.”

At that point you will be setting a clear, attainable, and above all sincere limit for yourself. (And if anyone dares to criticize you, let me know-I am very protective of my friends). ;)


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