Social Media + Workouts: Helpful or Harmful?

>> Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article for my gig at WalkJogRun about social media + workout motivation. For the most part, I see a ton of positives going out and running/walking/swimming/biking/etc. and then sharing the details on Twitter or blog for a boost of confidence. I've had some trouble, especially since becoming a mom, with sticking to training plans -- and sometimes a little "way to go!" or "great pace!" from a friend or even stranger has made time spent moving more gratifying.

Sometimes.


But then I thought about it on the flip side, because I've certainly had days and even entire periods of my life when social media sweat session boasting has irked and even derailed me. Of course, it's all on me how I decide to spend my time + interpret information + subsequently stew in my own annoyance/frustration/whathaveyou . . . but, as an example, I had to block from my feed almost all my running club buddies for the latter part of my pregnancy.

(Yeah, guys. Sorry about that.)

It was in late summer and early fall -- at the height of marathon training season. And they were on fire. I felt happy for my friends and enjoyed living vicariously through their training. However, hearing about all those 20-mile long runs as my own had dwindled to single digits and then to zero did anything but invigorate me. The constant, up-to-the-minute reminder of how far I'd fallen "off track" was actually quite upsetting, even when I felt confident in my own decision to do what I was doing.

At other times, I've looked at my Facebook wall or Twitter feed or favorite blogs or Instagram snapshots and felt like "why the hell can't I muster enough energy to train for X, Y, or Z?!" Or "So-and-so is doing THIS, what's wrong with ME!?" You know, "Since when did we all have to exercise twice a day or run ultras to be REAL athletes?" Or other nonsense that I've thought in the past year, month, week, hour.

I am certainly guilty of posting mostly my best workouts. I certainly favor sharing PRs versus total bombs for race times. So, I suppose this isn't really a rant but rather a curious prodding. How does social media influence your exercise, if at all? 

What are your positive/negative experiences?

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