How Sharing Too Much on Social Media Can Be Harmful to Your Running Goals

What do you see when you open your Instagram feed or Snapchat story? GPS tracker screenshot, sneakers haul, power breakfast, leg day at the gym? If you tick one or more items mentioned here, welcome to the club, and you may want to read on.

Image Credit: https://ww.deluxe.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Social-Media_iStock_000019499354Medium_1200_800.jpg

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on which generation you belong in), we live in an era when something doesn’t really happen unless it’s on the internet. Our relationship isn’t yet “official” until we update our Facebook status and nobody would believe that our dog has mastered a new trick unless we Snap it. That was why when The Wall Street Journal’s Chad Stafko went on a rant on how runners overshare, runners rolled their eyes so hard they could see their brains. But, on a closer look, there may be some truth in the harms of oversharing.

The Constant Race

When you share your running routine on the social media for the world- friends and rivals- to see, you’re also opening yourself to a wide array of responses.

Posting a post-marathon selfie can invite comments ranging from “OMG, so cool! Congrats!” (which is nice, encouraging and what you want to hear) to “I saw you running after I finished” (passive-aggressive translation: I totally overrun you, but nice try).

Runners are competitive and combined with the deeply ingrained national value of kiasu-ism, rivals’ comments are bound to fire you up and make you train harder.

While there’s nothing wrong with getting motivation boost from rivalry, the constant drive to one-up your competition can lead to overtraining. You push yourself to run another 5 km when everything is burning because your rival’s 10 km run post has more likes.

The urge to sweat your life away the second you finish a race becomes stronger now because you feel like you have to keep up. As a result, the body doesn’t get the much-needed break and it can’t recover as well. Such competitive cycle, left unchecked, can be harmful to your health and longevity as a runner.

The ‘Likes’ Craving

Ever seen someone obsessively checking the social media account for likes and comments after writing a post? (Guilty as charged here). The reason for this obsession boils down to one simple equation, more likes= more approval= more good feeling.

Now, the danger of oversharing is that people may get tired seeing their feeds being flooded by your daily training posts. People stop liking, and the sense of lack of approval (misguided as it may be) may take away your running mojo. You may think people don’t care enough or what you’re doing isn’t good enough.

Pro tip: to keep the love coming, leave some rooms for curiosity. Try to refrain from posting every moment you breathe in and –not so excitingly- out. Best to claim those bragging rights, humble brags or otherwise, sparingly.

The Public Pressure

Imagine after months of telling everyone (close friends, families, friends you haven’t seen in 10 years, your friend’s friends) about your running goals; you fall short of achieving them for whatever reasons. It could happen even to the best of us. Accomplishing your goals is already challenging enough on its own, but now you have the weight of the world’s potential reactions and opinions on the outcome. You may have trained your physique to compete in a marathon race, but your mental has to be on an Ironman triathlon level of fitness to run with such pressure.

It is true that whether you share your goals with 10 people or 100 people, you may still feel pressure and face possibility of failure. But at least when you share your running goals with a small circle, you can take your time to recover from the failure and learn from it, instead of frantically typing a lengthy explanatory post and possibly ending up overcompensating for the failure by overtraining. Failure sucks, but public failure is especially hard to endure.

“Instead of sharing on the social media, share your running goals and progress with your trusted running squad. These are people who have similar goals and want to achieve these goals with you instead of competing against you.”

Conclusion

Instead of sharing on the social media, share your running goals and progress with your trusted running squad. These are people who have similar goals and want to achieve these goals with you instead of competing against you. Within this circle, sharing your mileage and GPS tracking can be a form of encouragement and accountability check, so you can’t easily opt to be a couch burrito when you should be out there training. We get that oversharing is oddly satisfying kind of like sex and eating good food are, but much like these two, you need to find the right people to do it with.

 

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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

Always providing the latest news and reviews in the mass participation sportings scene! If you would like to contribute to our website or have an event to publish, contact us at info@liv3ly.com.

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