Many of the running apps available today are integrated to allow you to instantly share your training and race results to social media. Additionally, most of the bigger races have runner tracking options that will automatically post your start, split, and finish times to the social media platform of your choice. While the use of social media invites questions about whether folks over-share (and many do), there can be no doubt that sharing your training and race experiences on social media can have a positive impact…on your friends. That’s right, your friends.
The Casual Runner Team knows that it does not matter where you find your motivation to get up and be active, the important things are that it be a positive motivating force and that it work for you. After all, the point of Casual Running is for you to enjoy the experience so that you will keep going and enjoying the benefits of it.
A few years ago my good friend Stephanie, a life-long East Coaster who also spent a few years in Chicago, moved to Seattle for work. One day she was explaining to me how weird it was to “live 3 hours behind everyone else.” I asked her what the biggest difference was, and she said it was the powerful motivation of “Facebook guilt.” You see, she would wake up on a Saturday morning, pour herself a cup of coffee, and be content to spend the morning on the couch with her husband and her cats while surfing the net. The problem was, by the time she woke up on West Coast time, all of her East Coast friends had already posted status updates about their morning training runs and race finishes. At this point, “Facebook guilt” overcame her desire to be lazy, and Stephanie had no choice but to get up off the couch, lace up her running shoes, and go out for a run.
Earlier in my life I lived in Washington, D.C. for several years. Even though I was not a Casual Runner yet at that time, when I would see scores of runners jogging along the Potomac River, it would motivate me to go out and suffer through a mile or two. Now, I live in a town where one does not come upon too many runners on any given day. As a result, I do not get the daily visible motivational reminders of Casual Runners out being healthy and enjoying themselves. As a result, I enjoy (and to some extent, rely upon) seeing online communities of friends and fellow Casual Runners who are celebrating their own personal fitness accomplishments via social media to give me the extra needed boost (or is it guilt?) to get up off the couch and bang out a few miles. So, I for one, appreciate the benefits of positive peer pressure.
The vast majority of the training miles that I have logged as a Casual Runner were run solo, but that does not mean that I have been alone. Throughout my weeks and months of solo training, I have relied upon conversations with friends – whether it be via telephone, text, G-chat, or social media – in other cities to share and compare our Casual Running adventures. We help motivate one another to keep getting out there and logging those miles. In doing so, we turned a solitary endeavor into a community one, and one that is all that much more enjoyable and rewarding. On those occasions where we do get to go for runs together, we already know each other’s likes, dislikes, and styles, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable for everyone. As importantly, we know that we helped to motivate one another to keep on going when our personal motivation may have been otherwise lacking.
Please let us know your thoughts…do you find motivation in social media posts from your friends? Are they prone to over-sharing? Have you ever sent one of them a nastygram such as: “Dear Steph, I was going to be lazy and not run today, but you just HAD to post about your race this morning, which forced me to go out and run 10k in the rain, so thanks for nothing! :-).”
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