Why I ignore your workout details on Instagram

My Instagram and Twitter feeds are filled with runners, and often, that means posts with details of workouts.

You know the ones, the shot of the GPS watch or the carefully constructed photo with workout details overlaid. They are nice photos and accomplishments; I don’t write this to demean them.

But you’ll never see me post anything like that.

While many runners enjoy sharing their workouts and daily accomplishments for the encouragement and accountability, both of which are good things, there’s another type of runner who sees those posts and feels a churn in their stomach. Anxiety swoops in.

“I didn’t run that much. I need do more.”

“My workouts are too slow.”

“My long runs aren’t that fast.”

I am firmly in this camp. That’s why I generally ignore those kind of posts, even if I am impressed with the workout. My feeds show an incredible work ethic and talent from many runners.

But the best training for one person is, of course, not the best training for another. I personally thrive off of medium mileage and a actually slightly undertrained to remain healthy.

Running for me is an artform rather than a science. I’m not Type A when it comes to data. I use my handy Garmin for races, workouts and my fast long runs. but otherwise, I leave the watch at home on my easy runs. I have run well in the past few years and have improved by leaps and bounds in ways a number cannot show. The last time I was injured: 2011. My mental fortitude is stronger than it’s ever been.

And yet, I wonder what I could do better. There is a pull to always do more.

Those social media posts hit the vulnerable part of me. They mess with the worrisome competitor I am. When I’ve ignored myself and my body out of fear based on what someone else is doing, I’ve gotten hurt.

Recently, a fellow Oiselle Volee member voice said on twitter she also worries about her own mileage when someone else posts theirs. I knew I couldn’t be alone in my anxieties, and yet it was a relief to read her tweet. And she inspired this post.

Here’s to my fellow runners who feel anxiety when they look over someone else’s training numbers. Those numbers don’t matter for anyone but that person.

I am teaching myself to ignore those posts. I will trust myself, my training and my body. So for those of you who like to post training data, I’m glad you are proud of your training and wish to share it. Honest. It takes courage to share that kind of personal information! And yet, I may scroll right past your Instagram photo of your GPS watch without looking at the numbers.

Trust me, it’s not you, it’s me.


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