What’s Your Pace?

During a recent dinner with a few friends, the conversation turned towards running. They run. I run. We are all runners. Put a few runners in the same room and talking about running is inevitable.

We started to talk about upcoming runs, past runs, and our favorite routes.

We started to discuss weather and water, getting outside and getting older.

We started, and then the focus shifted.

“What’s your pace?”

Instead of talking about nutrition plans.

“What’s your pace?”

Instead of talking about the mental game of running.

“What’s your pace?”

Instead of talking about why we run and what it means to us.

“What’s your pace?”

Instead of talking about good runs, and bad runs, and the entire running journey.

“What’s your pace?”

It was the narrow and continuous focus that caught my attention. They kept asking, and I kept trying to steer the conversation away. I wanted to know so much more about them and their journey. I wanted to share more about running through my 50’s, trying to remain injury free, and the mental game of running.

Maybe I am the outlier, but I had an advantage that helped me notice what was happening.

Over the past few months, I have been both participating in, and coaching a Mental Fitness program. This program raised my awareness of my own tendency towards an overuse of achievement. This “hyper-achiever” inside me creates a cycle of constant performance and achievement for self-respect and self-validation with a focus on external success.

The conversation’s focus on pace, was triggering this “hyper-achiever” inside me. Combined with my internal narrator (or Judge) who judges myself and others (especially through comparison) wanted to share my pace and talk about my faster runs.

But comparison and competition is not what I want in conversations.

That goes for all conversations, not just the running ones.

What is the alternative?

Recognizing this pattern is the first step. The next step is learning to shift away from these default approaches, and establishing being curious as a practice. This curiosity helps you ask better questions and explore with the other person.

Instead of “What’s your pace?” try a few of these questions:

What are you struggling with?

What have you learned after all these years?

What has been your greatest success?

When do you feel at your best?

How can I help/support you on this journey?

Magic Bonus Question: The AWE question – And what else?

These questions apply to all of our conversations. Being curious and exploring brings us closer instead of creating competition that drives us apart.

For me, pace doesn’t matter, exploring and getting to really know other people brings the real magic.

Interested in improving your Mental Fitness? I have a few spaces remaining for the next group program. Contact me for details.


At times, our busy schedules, full plates, and drive to get things done can become excuses or justification for our lack of intentional communication.  Over time, how we communicate with others is more of a habit and we give it little thought or consideration.

The other day, while working with a group I heard some interesting dialogue.

“If they would just understand what needs to be done here without complaining, it would be just fine.”

“They always micromanage us and do not understand how much we have to accomplish.”

“They are just difficult and this is not a democracy, they need to do their jobs.”

“They never listen.”

“They.”  In each case, both groups were placing blame onto the other.  Over and over during the session I heard this term “they.”  It would be comical if it wasn’t sad.  There was no “I” or “We.”  Replacing “They” with these terms reveals part of the problem.  It is much easier to describe how others need to change, or what they do wrong, versus taking ownership of what I or We do not do well.

When you find yourself blaming “They” perhaps it is time to check out that mirror on the wall.  Imagine the progress any team, relationship, or workplace could make by taking ownership for their own actions first.