'Don't compare yourself to anyone else, there is only one runner that counts: you'
This quote popped up on my Twitter feed last week and I felt the need to retweet it. It's a little bit ironic that by doing this I sent the wording onto the timelines of the 550 odd followers I have on Twitter; the majority of which are fellow runners who I have never even met. I love social media, I will not lie. I think its a powerful tool for connecting people, promoting activities, seeking information, accessing news and also for entertaining. I appreciate however, that it does have its negative uses.
As the above quote suggests, I am guilty of sometimes comparing myself to other runners on social media. A tweet telling me that someone who is training for the same race as I am has ran further for their long slow training run than I did, can hit me with a small wave of panic. Comparing my pace to someone else who has proudly posted their stats on social media can also sometimes make me question my ability. I know its wrong, and that what you portray on social media only tells a tiny fraction of anyone's life (unless you are really addicted to updating your feeds!) Yet it is all too easy to take a small 140 character tweet too seriously.
On the other hand, the way social media has enhanced my running is also huge. Last year when training for the London Marathon I was identified by Virgin Money through my tweets about my training and became an #extramile ambassador, which included a free marathon training day in London with Martin Yelling (see old blog posts). I have also won a few rather amazing competitions with race entries and running gear thrown in via Twitter. The support from the community of runners is however the most outstanding feature of social media. The UK Run Chat account and the #ukrunchat hour on Twitter has become a regular fixture of my week, and its claim of being the 'fastest hour of the week' is certainly not a lie! I asked a question during this week's hour regarding my Garmin watch and my phone went absolutely mental with notifications as runners sought to answer my query. A sign of the support and kindness out there.
Social media will always have its pros and cons in any context - not just running! I think if we all (and I very much include myself in this!) keep the notion in our heads that it is for supporting, not comparing, and we embrace the ethos displayed on channels such as UK Run Chat then we will do just fine!
Feel free to give me a follow me on twitter: @_AliceCarter_
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...