Can we please stop saying the word SLOW?

Sorry ladies prepare yourself for a bit of a rant coming your way.

Each week at TFTR HQ I receive loads of email and social media messages from women around the world who have just discovered my blog or my ebooks, and their messages often start with something like this….

Hi Julie, I hope you don’t mind me messaging you, but I just wanted to say thank you for everything you do to promote running for larger women and I am just so glad I found you because despite my size I am now starting to believe in myself as a runner.

Messages often include one or both of these following statements too

1. At the moment I can ONLY run for 20 (or another amount of time) minutes without stopping


2. I am really SLOW though (and often descriptions of turtles running through treacle)







When I started running I could barely run for 30 seconds, and it took me a good few months to build up to 20 minutes of consistent running, and even now with 3 marathons under my belt I still have wobbles either in my fitness, strength or confidence and still find myself having to work really hard not to have to stop. Does it make me any less of a runner? NO!!!

And when it comes to speed…well I have always run at what I like to describe at a steady pace, but I do not describe myself as SLOW…because come on guys, how does that change anything?What does SLOW mean anyway?

Over the past 10 years my running speed has changed as my training has evolved and I have run everything from an 8 minute mile to a 16 minute mile, with my current pace around 11.30-12, the point is some runners might consider all of those pace settings slow, but for me there is a whole world of difference amongst that range and I am proud of my progress.

When you say “I am a slow runner” in many ways it is meaningless. Because slow in comparison to what? An elite runner? A toddler? A camel?

By using the S word you are also putting yourself down and not being proud of what you are achieving along your journey, and whats the use in that? you are running, so no matter how long it takes you to cover 5K be proud of the fact that you are on the move.

I find a much more useful way of talking about speed is by eliminating the S and F words all together and simply talking explicitly about your pace.

If you phone your local running club up enquiring about the different abilities within the club, its much better for both of you if you say “I currently run around 13 minute miles” than simply saying “Oh I am a slow runner”, at least that way the club can asses whether there is a group or session best positioned to support you, and you don’t start chickening out before you have even started.

Similarly if you are looking for a running buddy, you and a friend could both be putting the idea of a joint run off, due to fear of slowing the other one down when you are both in fact exactly the same pace.

Test your pace, understand your pace, and talk about your pace without any moral judgement and you are far more likely to build in confidence and see improvements in your running, than by continuing to say

“Oh I’m just so slow”


Ps. Please continue sending me messages, they keep me going and I love reading them…even if you do use the S word xxxx

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