This weekend is both the Canadian and American national championships, and lots of athletes are alerting their followers that they’re taking a break from their social media accounts, to focus on racing.

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While social media has become a huge aspect of everyone’s lives, especially professional runners, it can be a huge distraction. Several runners have tweeted this weekend that they’re on hiatus so that they can focus on their performance and avoid any negativity that social media might present.

The time before races is already quite high-stress, and many studies have shown that social media only worsens the anxiety. The Independent reports that the average British citizen checks their phone 10,000 times a year, which is a little over once an hour, or 28 times a day.

Runners Social Media
Photo: Canadian Running

The Independent also reported that from a survey of 1,000 individuals, “[participants] stated that they were quitting social media for good as 41 per cent stated that social media platforms make them feel anxious, sad or depressed.”

While social media doesn’t affect everyone that negatively, it can be a good idea to lessen or completely cut off your usage when preparing for a big race.

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Phoebe Wright is a former USA champion and pro runner who responded that she likes ditching social media ahead of race day: “Game time is all about focus. Social meeds are distracting.”

Beyond the stress that social media can cause the average person, it can be even more stressful for a runner pre-race if they’re comparing their own training to others on Strava or checking out what people are doing or eating ahead of their races via Instagram stories. Sticking to your personal plan is crucial pre-race, and social media can cause distrust of that plan.

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