Like a lot of runners these days, I’m on Strava and other social media platforms. When I first got into running, I followed as many runners as I could find—Olympians, world champions and runners I knew personally. For a while, this was great, and seeing other athletes posting their workouts inspired me to continue to work hard in my own training. Then, about a year and a half ago, that all changed, and I found myself comparing myself to every runner I followed. So, I unfollowed almost all of them (other than people I knew personally), and ever since, I’ve been way happier.
Focusing on yourself
After unsubscribing to most of the runners I’d followed on social media, I found that I stopped concerning myself with what everyone else was doing in training. Before I made this change, the constant stream of photos, videos and workouts caused me to worry that I wasn’t working hard enough. Even if I’d just crushed a track session, I could come home and see another athlete posting a strong workout and think, “You need to do better.”
These comparisons are useless, though, because at the end of the day, all you can do is work on yourself. When I stopped paying attention to other people’s workouts, I could finally focus solely on my own, because that’s the only work that really matters.
If you can stop yourself from making these comparisons and instead just focus on your own training, that’s great, and a social media detox probably isn’t necessary. But if you’re like me, maybe giving yourself a break from social is a good idea.
It’s not all or nothing
For a Strava or social media detox, you don’t have to unfollow every runner. I continued to follow people I know well, as well as a few big names, like Eliud Kipchoge (pretty hard to compare yourself to a sub-two-hour marathoner). If you think this detox sounds like it could do you some good, find your sweet spot. Maybe you want to go all in and get rid of anyone and everyone that you follow who runs, or maybe you just want to get rid of a few athletes. The best part is, none of this is permanent, so if you change your mind and decide the detox isn’t for you, you can just refollow everyone.
A full-on detox might not be what you need, but it could be a good idea to delete Strava and social apps from your phone in the lead-up to a race. This way, you can just focus on your own training and you don’t have to stress if you see your competitors post big workouts ahead of race day. You’ve put in the work, you’ve executed your training plan, so don’t worry about anyone else.