RUNNING MATURITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Upon initially glimpsing the title of the article, “Is Social Media Helping or Hurting Your Running” by Theresa Juva for Competitor.com, I wanted to check it out it but did not have the time just then. It was shuffled away into my mental “to read” file folder and forgotten for a few weeks.
The item was not easy to locate afterward, since the exact title was forgotten as well as the source and author. A quick internet search (“is social media hurting…?”) turned up a long list of items that people were apparently worried about being damaged, from various personal body parts to relationships, career, image, politics, and society in general. Adding “running” to the search query took me to the article I sought.
Juva takes a safe approach. She neither enthusiastically promotes or knocks it's use but offers thoughtful, helpful advice; benefitting from her suggestions requires maturity.
You Can Do It Alone
Earned Runs was founded on my real-life experience, of having to go it alone when it came to running while in medical school, raising or helping my family, working and building a career, etc. It’s all detailed on the ABOUT page, so no need to repeat it.
The principle behind Earned Runs is that the most important commitment to train and face a challenge is the one made by the individual, alone, to himself or herself. The rewards are personal and the struggle is personal. Limited sharing of that commitment within a supportive close circle of friends or family members can 'up' the stakes and increase resolve. Others outside that close circle, like running groups or organizations may encourage and enable (like giving free race bibs). But the gains to be made and accomplishments to be achieved must be earned by the individual. You can do it alone, if that is the only option.
Do you need to share goals and obtain widespread social media approval to initiate and then persevere in a personal quest? To overcome daily physical obstacles and chase away mental demons that threaten to derail your best efforts to reach a goal? Earned Runs says “no”.
Information and inspiration can come from sources other than interactive social sites. Traditional media like magazine articles and books have long provided me with non-judgmental motivation. Runner's World, Running Competitor, Women's Running, Men's Health, and Women's Health (links below) have invigorated my training for years! I still prefer paper over online materials, but am grateful for having both available to read.
Early in the process of developing a fitness program, one that will safely meet training needs and allow staying on track, trial and error is required. The trainers, coaches and athletes who contribute to one-way media give expert advice to help with that process. Usually there's opportunity to easily contact them, so it's not completely one-sided communication.
Once you have begun to successfully train and have quietly proven yourself to yourself, engaging social media might further bolster your efforts. Juva’s advice can be helpful at this point: be prepared for negative comments, find a balance, and take breaks regularly.
It’s not a coincidence that there are frequent online searches about the potentially harmful consequences of engaging social media. In the case of runners and walkers taking on significant new challenges, like children and adolescents, a certain level of maturity can prevent them.
If you DO it alone, you won't BE alone. Whether you share experiences online or not, you'll join the community of runners and walkers striving to reach a personal goal.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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