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Progress by stealth

by Andy Mouncey
Thursday 1st August 2013

Run247 columnist Andy Mouncey points out that we sometimes need an outside view to notice progress

‘You do realise,' I said to the ladies and David, (ten members of our fairly new running group Giggleswick Gazelles) during last week’s run, ‘that this is probably the most running we’ve done in one outing since we started.’
I could almost hear the internal dialogue…
Is it really?
Have we been running?
Is he saying what I think he is?

I could see I had some more convincing to do.
‘Remember when we started there was lots of stop-start-walk stuff and comments around how far is it and how long will we be out?’
OK. Definite signs of recollection appearing now…

‘Remember also that a definition of competence – even hint of mastery – is to be able to do what we want to do without really being aware that we’re doing it.’
Another pause to allow that to sink in.
‘And no-one’s asked about how far we’re going or how long we’ll be out and you’re all chugging along quite happily and – I have to say – looking rather good as well.’

And they were: In addition to some very relaxed running styles there was a fair amount of running wardrobe upgrades in evidence as well as confidence from the inside stuff translated into appearance from the outside.
Now we’ve got exchanged murmurs rising in volume as something along the lines of does he mean us? I do believe he does…reaches the level of collective Gazelle conciousness.

‘So Penny’s just been questioning whether she’s any fitter now than when she started, and I’m here to remind you that sometimes the most significant measures of progress can be the less obvious ones – and it might take someone else to point them out. When that happens we just say thank you, accept the truth in the observation – and treat ourselves to a sneaky smile on the inside.

Sometimes other people see evidence of progress that we may miss – but that doesn’t make that evidence any less real.’

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