How Social Media Skewed my Thoughts of Running Fast

How social media skewed my thoughts of running fast

I created my blog about a month after I decided to start running.  My running story has been a journey filled with highs and lows, and you can read my entire running story here.  A few years into blogging, I wrote a similar post to this.  Even in the last two years since writing the first post, social media and running have advanced more.  My thoughts on running have advanced as well.

When I first created LOLZ Blog, it was not big, nor did it have the connections and friends.  I did not know that so many amazing and talented runners from all over the world existed!

how social media skewed my thoughts of running fast 1

I first created the LOLZ blog to reflect upon my personal journey of running.  It started with a 12-minute mile, and 5.5 years later, I am here today.  My blog also allowed me to meet people who also shared a love for running and working out.  This was before there were hundreds of blogs, and blogging became an advertisement platform.

When I first started running, I was in my own bubble.  I watched countless races where local heroes ran 17-18 minute 5ks. The first 5k I ever ran was in a time of 30 minutes!  I was in shock at how people could be that fast. To me, these local athletes were my only inspiration and the people I strived to be like.  I never knew elites were running 14 minutes 5ks.  It’s funny because now I routinely talk to these local legends and fangirl them at races.

Like Mollie and Kris
Like Mollie and Kris

Five years later, running and blogging are much different. I have raced in several states and have seen and met hundreds of inspirational athletes.  With race results readily available, I’m no longer in a single community with a single running inspiration.  I have many running inspirations, some I have met and some I have not.  When reading race recaps and reports, the definition of “fast” becomes skewed.  Do I consider myself fast? What exactly makes you a “fast runner”?  What is the standard?  Why does it even matter?  

The athletes running the Olympic Trials marathon this weekend are fast.

The athlete that won a local race is also fast. 

The athletes finishing their first race are fast.  

My definition of “fast” will always be different from someone’s else definition.

With so many different social media platforms, I think: Am I selling myself short saying that I won a half marathon when I ran an X? Or once I ran a (bad race for me) and got 3rd overall?

Before social media, I would have no problems bragging about a race…Now, I don’t want to be “showy” because I know if someone else had shown up, they would have won.  The fact is they didn’t show up, and I won.  Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, your results are everywhere.  People with lots of credentials or even no credentials are judging performance.  

With race results being judged so quicklyI can’t imagine the pressures of being a professional runner.

One of the most common questions a runner will receive after a race from a nonrunner is:

Did You Win?

Runners are afraid to say they won or were placed in an age category.  Instead of saying I won and my time was X, someone will mention “I won, but”…Adding but just adds a backhanded compliment to yourself.  Whether there are ten people are 10,000, if you won, you won.  Even if you didn’t win, place, or just had a bad race, you still ran.

So while local races give you a glimpse of a single group of athletes…social media connects you to thousands of athletes of every speed and ability.  It’s overwhelming.

Where does this all connect? 

Social media is here to stay.  Runner or not, everyone is plugged in and connected.  It’s important to remember everyone’s definition of progress and perception of fast is different.  There is no need to compare yourself to others or even to yourself!  It’s hard to keep your personal training at the forefront of the mind when it’s so easy to compare.  There will always be someone better or faster.  You should use them as a role model and inspiration rather than comparing.

If you are out there and running, you are fast.

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Question for you: 
Who are your inspirations and role models?
How has social media changed your training?