What you see doesn’t tell the whole story

Lisbeth Hoyt, PT, DPT, CSCS

Instagram, Facebook, and Strava all share a few things in common but the biggest thing they share is that each post reflects a singular moment in time. If you keep track of your runs on Strava, then every run, whether it’s a good or bad one, is posted with your statistics for all of your followers to see. Social media allows us to highlight moments we want to share with the world, depicting ourselves in a way we want others to see us.

But what about the things we don’t see? Behind every post, how many deleted or edited pictures are we not able to see? How many attempts did it take to get the perfect angle or lighting? And are we seeing a filtered or touched-up picture? Probably.

Unlike the Instagram highlight reel of what we choose to post, Strava (if you opt-in) will post every run or workout you sync to it. You can choose to keep your runs private but if you don’t, your followers can see each run, workout, swim, or bike that gets logged. As a runner, it’s easy to get caught in the comparison game of how others are training. We can see how many miles a day or week our friends are running, what their paces are, even where they start and end their runs. But similar to the Instagram bloopers we don’t see, Strava doesn’t tell us everything about someone’s run. Unless it’s written in the description, you have no idea what the weather was, if they were running alone or with friends, if they struggled, or any other details that may change your perception of that run.

As fall training gets underway, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what other runners are doing. Whether you train alone or with others, keep in mind each day of your training plan is personal to you! If you regularly see one of us at Custom or have a coach, those are the only other people who should be involved in your running plans. And if you’re someone who gets caught up in what others are doing, maybe take a break from Strava or Instagram during this training cycle. Remind yourself that what you’re seeing is only a small piece of the overall picture.

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