I hate that expression, “lapping everyone on the couch.” I get that there is a virtue to just showing up. I also get that it’s okay to be slow. We can feel good about showing up and running slow though without the comparison to those who choose to stay home and not run at all.
You’re not entitled to feel better than people on the couch. Why even is that a comparison that we want to make? We don’t like it when the speedy people say at least they are better than the people who take walk breaks. The couch sitters have their own plans, ideas, and reasons. See Am I really lapping the people on the couch?
I hated that expression years ago and I still hate it now. I wrote then that the idea of lapping people on the couch “rubs me to wrong way. I think it’s the comparisons thing. Yes, I’m faster than people who aren’t running! No surprise there. But it’s the assumption that I’m better than non-runners that I don’t get. I work hard not to feel smug about exercise, about fitness. I try to resist healthism and the politics of respectability. I’ve got friends who prefer reading to running, watching Netflix to bike riding, and hanging out on the sofa talking over CrossFit. I’ve even got one friend who thought she hated all exercise but later who admitted she was wrong.”
The point is that these are fine choices too. They’re not mine but you do you.
Ragen Chastain feels the same way. She writes:
“The thing I don’t understand is why it’s so important to people involved in athletics to be “better” than someone else – I’m not talking about people who choose to compete in a race. I’m talking about people who talk about lapping people on couches, and people who are sitting on couches who didn’t ask to be involved in this mess. I choose my own goals for my own reasons and I pursue them. At this time one of those goals includes running. I have no need or desire to claim be “better” than anyone else to be happy with myself and my choices.”