A problem of a reader.

"I'm an associate at a large national firm.  I'm not in the peak of shape but I'm not clinically obese.  Anyway I recently started running at lunchtime to try and get fitter and maybe even live longer.  The problem is that I have started to be joined by a few others in my team.  Whilst it's bad enough to be accompanied and observed by running zealots as I puff and huff along the Embankment to my "couch to 5k" app, I'm now being joined by a partner from my team as well.  

Whilst I like and respect this individual, they are much more driven that me.  It has turned into a prolonged session of them showing and urging me on to ever greater feats of endurance whilst I curse and groan under my breath.  Rather than helping me become a proficient athlete, it is putting me off.  The problem is I don't know who to stop this situation without stopping running, which would look like I'm weak and not a "stayer".  Although it's meant in a good way, it's almost turned into bullying.

How do I get out of this?"

The Legal Agony writes:

This is also an unusual problem for me in that you like and respect the partner involved.  So the usual nuclear options don't apply.

This is a blessing and a curse.  Whilst an encouragement to lead a healthier lifestyle is laudable and the partner taking time to run with you and encourage you is I am sure meant in a good way, there are certain parts of your life you may want to keep separate.

Obviously one way of doing this would be to run from home and not in the working day, although as the working day increasing expands and you need to be seen to be in the office early and late, there are less opportunities to do your own stuff in your own time (look at the internet shopping habits of most lawyers).

Indeed really what you are trying to do is to avoid hurting the partner's feelings without giving up the running and as a result being thought less of (not sure not about the grammar of that).

So you could fake an injury - a temporary interruption in the program and hope that the others lose interest in your progress and you can restart with a lower profile.  

 "I'll be OK next week"

Perhaps you should look again at starting early before work.  Try Project Awesome for a great way to start the day. They meet at stupid o'clock so you will still be at your desk first thing with a story to tell.


My recommendation is that you say you are training for the marathon as a charity runner and start stepping out in a massive poo emoji costume. No one can criticise you for that but they may then choose to keep their distance.  And this has the added advantage that no one can see it's you (not indeed hear you scream).  

 "I'll just pop to Boots on the way.."



Anonymous 09 June 17 02:45

and you dont have to feign an injury - "i'm doing some cross training today...going to the park for a session of 200 burpees" would be enough to scare off all but the maddest cross fitters so a runner with a runners physique would avoid that like the plague

Anonymous 23 May 17 20:12

One option might be to find a couple of other people - not necessarily in your firm - and set up a pace group within your lunchtime group. Incidentally, you are risking a chronic injury by pushing too far and too hard for your own level. Any decent runner should respect your right to go at the pace appropriate for you.