It’s funny. I just finished a ridiculous training camp and ran my highest mileage week ever, barring my actual 100-miler. I’m waiting for my flight home, feeling pleasantly tired but also psyched because I can still walk, and I can’t wait to get home and get out for some nice hikes, runs and rides with Peter and DW. I should be feeling incredibly proud and pleased with the work I did, the miles I put in.
And then, I log into Strava. Now, I should know better—in fact, I know this so well that I rarely engage with the platform ever—but I figured, “I’ve done a lot of miles, this should be a fun thing to look at.”
10 minutes later, I came up for air (and coffee) after realizing that my feelings of contentment with my training had all but disappeared after scrolling workout after workout. Paces, mileage, and even seeing other people out riding bikes rather than running all left me feeling like I hadn’t done nearly enough this weekend, and what on earth was I thinking, feeling pleased about my high mileage? Plenty of people do 100 mile run weeks. I know these people.
Now, the rational part of my brain is giving that line of thinking a swift kick in the ass. But it’s a feeling that creeps in often. Even at this training camp, when every conversation starts with “which 100-milers have you done?” followed by discussions of weekly mileage, it was hard to feel particularly proud of a long run that plenty of other people were doing (especially people who’ve done dozens of hundred-milers compared to my paltry ‘one’).
It’s funny when contexts shift like that, and you’re reminded that no matter what you’ve done or what you’re doing, there’s going to be someone else doing something fast/longer/harder/different-but-more-awesome-sounding.
Does that mean you should sink into a puddle of feeling like not-enough-ness?
And it’s normal. The person who I’m looking at who did a longer run than me today is likely seeing someone else’s run and thinking the exact same thing.
Especially as things start to come back online and we’re finding this ‘new normal’ and getting back to events / travel / work / life, I think it’s completely expected to feel like this. Many of us (not all) spent so much time feeling like we were waiting to just start living again that we now feel like we need to do / be even more than before.
So, this is just my reminder to myself/all of you that feeling like you’re not doing all of the things, or like you should be doing more, more, more is perfectly natural. I wrote a piece for Bicycling a few months ago about FOMO, and one of the sports psychs I chatted with pointed out that a few years ago (pre-Strava / social media), we had no idea what other people outside of our close friend group were doing for training or racing, and we had so much less to compare to. We couldn’t scroll and see an ultra, a gravel race, an MTB course, a fun run, a camping trip, a beach vacation and a weekend at the cottage in 30 seconds of scrolling, so we didn’t feel like we had to do everything all at once.
If you’ve been grappling with this (especially if it makes you change your training to keep up with the Jones’s), it might be time to back off social media. Me, I’m going to stay away from scrolling Strava again, and work towards being content with my mileage done my way.
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