You finish up an epic, endorphin-filled, long run on a beautiful, warm and sunny morning. You pushed yourself faster and farther than ever before. You crush your goal. You couldn’t do this six months ago. You feel yourself getting faster, tougher, stronger. And you’re soaking in that post-run bliss… nothing can bring you down!
Until it does.
You cool down, stretch out, grab some water and a protein shake, and mindlessly hop on Instagram (oh, what a terrible habit it is!) only to scroll and see that another girl just ran the same distance. Except way, way, WAY faster than you.
Your parade TOTALLY just got rained on, right?
Suddenly, you’re not proud of your run anymore. You just feel inadequate – again.
Sound familiar? At least, that’s the way it’s been for me before. Countless times, I’ve hopped on social media wanting to share something I’m proud of, only to be instantly crushed when I feel like my best run isn’t good enough. I got caught up in the stats and the times and the splits and was so focused on what everyone else was doing that I couldn’t celebrate how far I’d come on my own running journey.
If you’re in the Instagram fitness + running community, you know it’s amazing. Like me, I bet you’ve made some incredible friendships and found some serious inspiration, encouragement, and really helpful resources in those little squares. When running is such a solitary sport, the online community can bond and connect us to feel like we’re all on the same team.
But you know what else is tucked away in the dark corners of the Instagram game? Self-doubt, insecurity, and comparison.
And I’m breaking up with it.
I’m not breaking up with Instagram – I’m just breaking up with posting Garmin (watch) selfies and my running stats. No more numbers. I might share how many miles I ran or a beautiful shot of a route I enjoyed, but why get caught up in what the watch says? I’ve got nothing against those of you who post Garmin selfies – I love seeing you improve and cheering you on! But I don’t want my running stats to be someone else’s measuring stick. I never want someone to see the numbers behind my run and feel like they are less than.
Because I know I have felt like that before. I’ve felt like my personal accomplishments don’t matter, when I see girls that are qualifying for Boston or the Olympic Trials and I’m over here just trying to build my mileage up without passing out at the top of every hill. I’ve run long and fast tempos, faster than I ever have before, only to hop on the ‘gram and see that someone else’s “easy” day is still two minutes per mile faster than my best effort. That kind of thing can crush your spirits like no other, if you let it.
And alternatively, I’ve had friends say to me that they wish they could run at my pace, or that they’re embarrassed with their pace compared to mine as they start to build their endurance and figure out this whole distance running thing.
Y’all, that’s crazy. My friends are out there running SO MANY MILES – and a picture of my watch and some numbers just diminished their achievement?!
Your best effort is never something to be embarrassed about. Your best effort is just that – your BEST – and that is something to be celebrated!
All of this comparison, ladies, it just ain’t worth it. I don’t want to play anymore.
I’ve posted lots of Garmin selfies over the past couple of years. And I’m so sorry if my numbers ever made you feel like yours aren’t amazing, just like I know I have when I look at other women, crushing their goals.
Hear me loud and clear – if you are a runner, you are amazing. The fact that you are out there, running at all, is a huge accomplishment that can’t be measured. Numbers are just that – silly little numbers. When we get caught up in the stats, we miss out on the joy that drew us to this sport we love in the first place.
So for now, I’ll keep taking Garmin selfies. But you won’t see them on my blog or Instagram anymore. I might occasionally send them to my mini-group text of real-life running friends – we do that with each other and I love it. But mostly I’ll just store them on my phone, privately, to quietly celebrate my wins and to not let them be dampened by or dampen anyone else’s.
And perhaps most importantly – I want to run, JUST TO RUN! What a novel idea. 🙂 Not to have something to post. Not to prove anything. Not to get likes. Not to impress. Not to measure up.
My mom (best coach I ever had) used to preach this to us during grade school cross country: It does not matter how fast or slow you go – it just matters that you go.
Keep running, ladies. Keep pushing past your limits and keep finding your new best.
Did you hear that last one? YOUR new best. Not her new best. 😉
And don’t let those silly numbers get in the way.