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Dear Strava (and all runners on social media):
I used to say that Strava was the only healthy social media. I felt that Facebook was where people tried to make you jealous of their vacations, Instagram was where people tried to make you jealous of their appearance, Twitter was where people went to get into fights (usually with computer bots), LinkedIn, well let’s be honest no one really knows what that is for. Strava though, Strava was where you went to see how fit your friends were and how hard they were working at it. What could be wrong with that?
Well, it turns out, I was not aware that people paid attention to the pace and/or speed of their friends, and judged their own progress from that. I ignorantly thought that people just looked through, saw you did something healthy that day and gave you a thumbs up for getting after it because that’s how I always used it. So Strava (and others on social media) I would like to make a simple request, stop sharing or showing people’s pace. At least until people are able to realize that someone else’s pace is not impressive unless it is a race.
It turns out that all this is doing is causing people to race in their training, and not race themselves, although they may tell you that is what they are doing. No, they are racing their friends, they are running at a pace not appropriate for that workout or their goals, so that they can later post that run to Strava, Facebook, Instagram, or My Space (why don’t I see anyone on there anymore?).
The real and unfortunate truth is that the only people who are impressed by someone else’s pace on a training workout are people who really don’t know what they are looking at. If they did they would cringe and have a pained look of disappointment on their face. Why? Because it is a training workout, not a race, and should not be raced.
I must admit I have wondered if I should write this letter to you because, to be honest, this type of behavior is quite good for business as someone who treats runners and endurance athletes for the injuries caused by this behavior, but I can’t stand seeing all these people with totally preventable injuries due to this behavior.
Now I know that Strava is unlikely to stop sharing people’s paces, and so I am asking the other readers of this letter to stop sharing your pace on your workouts. I love to see the pictures, I love to see the new routes you find, the turtles, even the snakes, but please keep your pace to you. It is, after all, only your pace. If you are someone who finds it hard to slow down and run the proper pacing for your workouts because you worry what others will think when they see your workout, please know that those of us who know what we are looking at, are way more impressed by the ability to slow down and properly complete your workout, than racing your training runs.
When you race your training runs, try to set 5k PR’s in your long run, sprint your recovery runs, the only person that wins is your Physical Therapist, and trust me, we don’t want to win that way!