Giving up: not an option


Giving: hand over to

Perhaps being a slower runner actually helps me at times (that, and being just a wee bit stubborn): I don’t have to worry about age group awards. Unless I’m the only one in my age group, not gonna happen.

I just had the best race of my life a few weeks ago (maybe you read about it here?). And I came in 26th out of 38 female runners in my age group. Yes, next year I will move up into a different age group. No, I’m still not expecting to win any age group awards.

Expecting an age group or personal record? That is giving a lot of power over to a time. And that time is influenced by so many things out of our control: the weather, how we’re feeling, the race support, the course, etc.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
–Thomas Edison

I didn’t put pressure on myself to PR on a flat course. Maybe it’s a good thing that I just assumed it would be warm and humid, and knew that in such conditions I don’t race well.

I wasn't pushing hard here!
At the very end. I quit but finished ZOOMA Annapolis.

Now, you might think that that is, indeed, giving up. People can push through bad conditions to run their best, but I have had hot race after hot race that has proved to me that I am unlikely to.

I gave up time goals, and then totally smashed them

Perhaps by giving up my PR aspirations I actually set myself up for success. I will almost always try my hardest, but I was simply watching my pace and not my elapsed time, and not trying to calculate my potential finish time in my head, either.

It is very odd that giving up can lead you to your best race

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Can you think of situations where giving up is a good thing?

Do you find yourself giving up when you think you can’t reach a goal?

Are you growing just a little tired of “giving” right now?

23 thoughts on “Giving up: not an option

  1. I think there’s a difference between ‘giving up’ and being open minded about outcomes or expectations. I suppose it’s more ‘playful’ to just go into something with a ‘let’s see what happens’ attitude rather than trying to be in control. It worked out well for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wouldn’t say you gave up–I think you took the pressure off yourself to meet your goal time. That’s a huge difference. A lot of us follow the mantra: run the mile you are in. Take a long race apart, and run it mile by mile. It’s hard to do, and I didn’t do that at PCB.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did do that at PCB — and yes, it really worked well for me. I’ve definitely had my share of bad races, though — it just comes with the territory. 😦

      You also the the added hardship of flying down the day before — that doesn’t help!


  3. I often adopt a “never give up” attitude when a race is especially difficult for me – which has happened more times that I care to count!

    I think that there are definitely situtations where you have to give up, especially if it’s a very negative or toxic situation and it’s better for your mental health to walk away/give up

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think letting go and giving up are two different things.

    Giving up to me is , I am not going to try at all and I got care the outcome.

    I think letting go is knowing your capabilities, being realistic and not worrying about the outcome.

    I can see how giving could also work with knowing that something is not going to happen and so one gives up the thought and expectation.

    For me I have giving up caring about what people think of me. This is who I am ; )

    In certain instantes, I find myself giving up when I can’t reach a goal. Mostly out of frustration.

    No not tired of giving , yet 😉


  5. You probably know where I stand on this…right by your side 😉 I have spent (wasted?) so many races chasing a PR (usually in adverse conditions, none the less), and finished the race utterly disappointed that I couldn’t dig deep and run “fast” anyways. I’m grateful for the gift of running, and I’m gonna focus on that from now on…if I’m blessed with optimal race day conditions, great. If not? I can still enjoy the experience of being there. 😉


  6. YES! I love this. When I am chasing a PR I never seem to get it, but when I let go of expectations amazing things seem to happen at races! It’s like all of the pressure is gone and I can do what I love to do!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, I guess I missed your mesage…..but I read this one line “It is very odd that giving up can lead you to your best race” and it reasonated with me beacuse every race I had specific time goals for in 2016 I bombed and the races I just decided to have fun and just run I ended up with PRs and great races 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve often said that “I gave up” when I knew that I could not PR in a race.

    But really it wasn’t giving up, it was just a change in mindset. Just finish the race, have fun instead of pushing yourself to the limits. I never look at pace – always at my estimated finish time.

    I have pushed myself through an injury (ie broken foot & stress fracture) but I have never pushed myself to finish a race so hard that I got injured and had to take time off as a result.

    I’ve said it before, Injure-free trumps fast finish time.

    I’d rather not PR than be injured or gasping for air at the finish line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t race on a broken foot. But hopefully I’ll never need to find out.

      I think you just need to think about it a different way in races where you know you’re not going to PR — because there will always be races we don’t PR.

      I think gasping for air is ok (throwing up is a different story).


  8. Judy – every time I put pressure on myself in training or in a race I don’t run as well. Taking the pressure off is setting you free and you’re body can actually do what it’s has been trained to do. Great post!!


  9. Instead of “giving up” on an expectation, I like to think in terms of “giving away” something that isn’t helping you. Running is a powerful, life-enhancing thing, and so is racing. Particularly the way you’re doing it. You have given away the aspects of running and racing that don’t serve you, and you’ve given yourself power in the bargain.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this post! for many reasons 🙂
    First I was doing the calculating when I passed you and I was stoked to realize how much of a PR you were on pace for and I was even more excited to see how relaxed you looked as you crossed the line on your best race ever.
    I had this very strategy for my PR half…
    I went and just threw out all my time stuff, I gave up and just ran what felt doable and I ran my best race ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so funny, I did not at all feel relaxed crossing the finish line, or maybe I did because I was FINISHED. But that cramping . . .

      I will admit that it felt pretty easy, or as easy as a half gets, except for the cramping. Which always leads me back to could I run a flat one with the right weather even faster . . .

      Since I had no PR goals, I wasn’t trying to push myself. I still dunno quite what happened!


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