When I was racing as a professional triathlete, stories abounded about the crazy training of other pros. Some of the purported workouts became mythical in nature, many of which were probably just urban legends. Nowadays, with athletes posting their daily workouts straight from their devices to social media, the training regimens of others are no longer fairytales. All of this online data has turned fantasy into fact and exaggeration into reality.
Strava, a social media site specifically for athletes to connect and share their workout data, has been the biggest player in this realm. And I'm a big Strava user; it's been a huge help for me in terms of reviewing my training and performances. But I am not a Strava voyeur.
Most athletes make their Strava account public, as do I. But one of the pitfalls of seeing so much athlete data is the propensity to try to match what others are doing. And with Strava’s tracking of courses and personal records, it is easy to be encumbered with racing yourself and others on a daily basis. This is a potential recipe for overtraining, injury, and disrupting a perfectly well-thought-out training plan.
It's easy for me to put on my social media blinders because I learned years ago that my best training happens when I stick to my own plan and disregard what others are doing. What about other people, though? How do they handle the siren call of social media? I queried athletes, both pros (Lauren Goss, triathlete; and Ryan Petry, mountain biker) and amateurs (Mike Walsh, cyclist; Maggie Fournier, triathlete; and Drew Giacobe, triathlete) to better understand how social media affects their training.
All indicated that Strava has had both a positive and negative impact on their training. Using their responses, I have come up with seven ways to keep your social media habit from getting in the way of your training: