I recently viewed a post from someone on social media that highlighted how much that individual had improved in their running, from a ‘slow’ 7:15/mile pace a few years prior, to where that person was at that particular moment, at about a minute faster per mile pace. That same person highlighted how discouraged they were to be so slow back then, as they were slow compared to other college level runners at the time.
My first thought was to be appalled that this individual, who I had really thought had historically impressive and motivating posts, would talk down about their 7:15/mile pace when clearly that was fast to me anyway. I also felt a bit offended, I’ll admit.
Just this past Sunday I got 3rd overall in a 5k and felt very happy with my 7:32/mile pace and finish of 23:24.
Who was this person to go on social media and talk trash (for lack of a better word) about a perfectly respectable time of 7:15/mile, when I could only dream of hitting that pace in anything further than a mile?
Then I realized that it isn’t about me. It isn’t about anyone but yourself when you post to social media. At least, that is what has become so obvious in our culture. This particular person is a running coach, but when I asked the person about the nature of their post, their reply focused on their own journey, not any sort of helpful message they may be trying to convey to inspire other potentially much slower runners.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with how far I’ve come in my running-especially this past year. I’ve even gotten to the point in marathon training where I’m loving the long distance! I’m satisfied with where I am in my journey. Despite this, I was a bit offended. So I guess I thought, if I’m offended, or think the post is ridiculous when referencing such a pace as slow, how would the general public view it? How would a slower than average runner view it?
If nothing else, it puts into perspective two things for me.
1. Social media posts are generally selfishly motivated. Usually, as one running friend has referenced it ‘Narcista-gram’, or something like that, is either to proudly display accomplishments, or to try to sell something.
2. Be careful what image you’re trying to convey. One simple comment about a pace that, for the majority of people, would not be considered slow, could alienate your audience.
Overall, I think regardless of your pace when running, the old adage that ‘you’re lapping everyone on the couch’ holds true.
For those of you that truly think a 7:15/mile pace is slow, rock on with your speedy paces! I will be over here happy with my 7:32/mile 5k pace and keeping my fingers crossed as I try to just finish my first marathon in November!