Progress is not completely linear. As runners we expect “x over y,” but that is not how a sustainable relationship works in reality. It is not a straight line, but a series of undulating waves that reflect our unique, individual journeys.
Perhaps you peaked before being sidelined by injury, or maybe you racked up big mileage one year only to see a drastic dropoff when a work or family situation changed. We should not always compare ourselves to what we used to be, but should instead be a reflection of our best selves in the present moment.
Do not fight the tides of life; it’s a losing battle. Ride each wave and experience every moment as it is, setbacks and all. Perfectly linear progression is less important than making sure our “waves” are trending in the right direction over time. Being a better runner doesn’t mean running further faster, it means having the highest quality experience for the longest possible time.