I assume we all have seen that above meme, or some variation of the same, being shared on Facebook/Twitter by at least one of our friends at some point of time. It irritates me a little, but I brush it off by telling myself that those friends of mine simply don’t get it. I never did care enough to want to discuss it in detail until I chanced upon this 2012 article on Runner’s World yesterday – Does Social Media Make Better Running?
To the Muggles, a runner posting about their timings, talking about the next race they are taking part in and then uploading pictures of them wearing their finisher medal is equivalent to bragging. The same applies when the gym rats mention their latest workout, the no. of reps they did and all. The muggles don’t like it as it serves as a reminder of their own inactivity. It causes them to experience a bout of social media jealousy (don’t believe this exists? Google it) and as a result, “retaliate” by declaring the above – that people don’t need to tell the world about their latest workout.
Guess what? No one needs to tell fb about what they ate for their last meal, with pictures included (am guilty!)… no one needs to proclaim that they are sick… and certainly no one needs to remind their friends how they look like with those bathroom selfies either! Don’t even get me started about the gazillion pictures people upload of their children or of their pet (guilty too!). Though seriously, it’s really none of anyone’s business what anyone else posts on their status. Don’t like it? Scroll on. Friend doing it too often? Hide his/her feeds.
There is really no need for the ‘backlash’ of condescending memes or statements… or worse, articles like this. Granted that the writer’s issue is more against bumper stickers (why does stickers make him angry, I have absolutely no idea) it still serves as an example of what I’m trying to say.
I admit. I used to be a Muggle.
I used wonder why is it that people are talking about their workouts, talking about their trainings and all. For the record, I didn’t get annoyed & neither did I ever post anything negative regarding it (my beef is with kid pictures, but even so, I generally stfu – see? I do practice what I preach).
Then a few months ago, I started running… and dragged myself to the gym more regularly. Then I started blogging about running and reading blogs written by other runners. I started paying more attention to the fitness related stuff my friends were posting on fb. I joined running related facebook groups. I started signing up for run events and took part in my 1st ever event at the Kranji Countryside Run.
Then I got it.
It’s all about the MOTIVATION.
You runner friends are not posting all that **** on facebook to make you feel bad. Contrary to what you think, it is not about you. It is their wall, their status updates and it is all about them. Also, as much as you’d like to think that nobody cares about it, know this – their other friends care. Yes. Friends of your friends, who are runners, fitness nuts or those who are trying to make a lifestyle change, care. It motivates those reading and most importantly, it motivates the poster (a.k.a. your friend).
Friends feed off other friends… no pun intended.
A lengthy, but interesting read, NY Times article Are Your Friends Making You Fat? talks more about it. It certainly does apply for me. When I read about races that my friends are doing, it makes me wanna do them too. Call it friendly competition if you wish, but it’s more about me wanting to “get in on the action” as well. When I 1st started running, I had doubts if I’d ever complete a 5k. I felt it was a p.i.ta.. Today, I just want to go further. Well… not 100km ultra marathon far, but after reading all about peeps running in marathons, I would love to do one someday. Ok. I’d rather be gaming than training, but at least a half marathon I will do.
That is a promise, and now that I’ve said it, I cannot not do it and this brings me to my next point.
Tough I can’t speak for everyone, I daresay that the very act of posting training plans on social media makes a runner feel more accountable, whether anyone comments on it or not. Even more so if someone else comments on or “Likes” the status/tweet/blog post… etc.
btw when I say “friend” I mean anyone you consider as a friend. Doesn’t necessary have to mean that you have met each other IRL – your best running buddy could be all the way across the ocean! That is the lovely thing about the Internet. It connects.
So yeah, dear Muggles, the next time you read about a friend’s status updating regarding his/her miles or workouts, be supportive. Offer a quick “Like” or a nice comment, cos it might just be the push your friend needs to take that 1st step out of the door. Though if you really can’t bring yourself to be encouraging, just scroll away and refrain from posting stuff that will quash the other’s enthusiasm. Don’t be a wet blanket.
All that being said, I had my 3rd and final vertical marathon training session yesterday evening: 4 sets of 24 floors at a dismal timing of 00:27:17.1. I think I’m f**ked as the event is just this Sunday ~ but whatever… I know I’ll have fun taking photographs @ the top and yes, I will upload them onto facebook!