One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received as a runner…was to stop posting my Garmin face post-run with distance and time. Stop putting my splits up on social media for others to see. While a lot of times, this garnishes so many LIKES and compliments…it also, honestly, is no one’s business what my run looked like that day. And, sometimes, it can also bring about negativity…or pressure to perform.
How often do we do this to ourselves? We go for a run. We feel good during the run. Or maybe we don’t. Maybe the run feels hard, but we’re pushing. And we’re just giving it all we have (I don’t recommend doing this for every run you do, btw). And when we’re done, we click that stop button on our watch and check our time…
And how often does that time…or overall pace…determine for YOU…whether that run was a “good run” or a “bad run?”
Hey…I’ve been guilty of this myself.
When a run feels hard and it should be easy…guess what…you’re probably running too hard.
When you feel good through your entire run, but then stop your watch and are disappointed with your overall pace…guess what…you have forgotten the golden rule of…easy runs should be easy…hard runs should be hard…and BOTH are important. You probably did this run perfectly…you felt good…but your Garmin spouts off an average that makes you feel inadequate.
So many people play that social media comparison game. Just because one person can easily crack off 7 minute (or less) minute miles, everyday, for most distances….doesn’t mean that you have to be able to do that too. That’s the great thing about being a human being.
WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. And guess what?! OUR ABILITIES ARE ALL DIFFERENT!!
Am I screaming at you? Yes!! Because I often get told that someone doesn’t think they need to recover as much as I do because I run so much faster than them. Well, my 8 minute mile might be just as hard to me as their 10 minute mile is to them. The effort is equal…the paces are different. But someone’s slow will always be someone else’s fast. And it’s a serious problem if you are judging your worth and your fitness or your place in the running community based off of how fast your legs move to propel you forward.
And social media has done nothing more than take all of this insecurity and elevated the comparison game to new heights. It is great to motivate people…but your paces and your miles logged don’t really do that. WORDS do that. Examples do that. Just because you can run that 6:XX mile tempo, doesn’t mean that I can. And expecting me to be able to isn’t right too. Telling me that you’re an extreme runner, or getting it done right, doesn’t make me feel good about my 8:xx tempo of the same distance that day…probably less consistent than yours. Your Garmin watch face…your split times…your average pace…that does have the power to motivate…and inspire…but it also can really get into people’s heads.
And let’s talk about burnout. So many times…these “extreme” runners that consistently post these fast times in training often burnout or hit a wall…when it counts most. On race day.
Sure, it might seem fun to post your 7:XX mile runs during training, every day, no rest days, no days off, but when you end up sidelined with an injury, or your marathon times don’t match up to your training runs, or you hit a wall…hard…at Mile 21, those social media brags and posts will have been in vain.
Let’s face it…an 8:20 pace is not easy if your marathon pace is an 8:30.
IT. IS. THAT. SIMPLE.
Whether you consider yourself a speed demon, a middle-of-the-packer, or a back-of-the-packer…ultimately…the comparison game will only bring you unnecessary stress.
And that’s why, my friends, my Instagram posts don’t show off my pace, my distance, my stats, my splits…because that is for me to know and for me to work on. Not for anyone else to cast judgement on or to compare themselves to. We’re all different. We all run different. We all train different. But in the end…I’m not here to set a precedent for anyone but myself.
Comparison is the thief of joy…and I’m not looking for anything but happiness out on the roads right now. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly have my goals and am actively pursuing them the best I know how to. After all, happiness is definitely a goal worth pursuing.