Bob32 Fri, Feb 3 2012 Likes0 10 comments Facebook0 Twitter0 Competitive Edge, Help or Hindrance? A bit of a change this time from my usual blog subject, as something happened at my running group that got me thinking and I wanted to see what other people thought.We have quite a varied group of runners at the group I coach with, The Running Inn. I tend to run with new people or people that may be on their own, or if someone wants to push that little bit harder, I will be there pace maker (obviously this does not apply to those who can run much quicker than me!) Last week we were doing a split session of 3 x 1000m then 5 x 200m. I ran the 3 x 1000m with a new lady. But the 200s I ran with somebody who was struggling a bit, I'll call them Bob for the purpose of this story. Bob wanted me to keep a consistent pace as he knew he would give up if he tried on his own. We were on the 4th rep, and as we were running, another member of the group came past us. I know that Bob usually liked to make sure this person does not pass him, and would use that person as a motivation. So I knew that when this person came sailing past it was going to either spur him on to run quicker (and possibly push to hard) or really demotivate him. Unfortunately it was the later. But what Bob didn't realise is the person that came past, had not run the other 200m reps. When we got to the end Bob said, "I wish I had more of a competitive edge! When they came past me I should have picked up my pace and not let them past." He was very down with himself. I said to him, "That was the first and only rep they did, you had done four fast, consistent reps before that. I knew you would think that as they came past, but the variables were different."Although a competitive edge is good, when you don't know what the other person is doing or has done, you can't measure yourself against that. Also, had you pushed hard on the 4th, you may not have been able to complete the final rep at the standard you did."Bob felt better after we had discussed it, and said that sometimes you just have to forget everyone else around you and just run for yourself. But this got me thinking about the 'competitive edge' for those of us that are not elite athletes. Does it help us? When you are elite, you spend your time watching and researching your competitors. You know when they have been out injured, or have had a good season, but what about the rest of us? We don't know if that guy in front that we are determined to beat or catch is using the race as a training run and not really putting much effort in, or if he is been taking the first half easy and is about to shoot off for a negative split!Trying to stay with people or catch them could end up with us burning out or getting injured. Or is it ok when your out training and you see another runner and your determined to catch them. You may have just done 15 miles and they may be on their 3rd, but you pick up the pace, because you won't let them get away. Does that help with training? Or should we try to stay in our zone and ignore other runners?Does the competitive edge for us mere mortals, mean we could be setting unachievable goals? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.