5 Reasons to Think Twice Before Run-Bragging on Facebook

slack_for_ios_upload_720-6I’ll start this by saying that I don’t care how uncool it is or how much better Instagram or Snapchat are, I unabashedly love Facebook. I’ve found long-lost friends from high school, stayed connected with family members from the other side of the country, and I get most of my news headlines there anymore. I also unabashedly love running, just like you do. I love reading about running and chatting about running and writing about running. I love to share funny or interesting things I think or read about running and I love it when you do the same.

But when it comes to running and Facebook, there’s a line in my mind that far too many people seem to be crossing. Lately, my feed is filled with data from my friends’ daily training runs: selfies with distance and pace printed on them, photo montages of your sweatiness and your post-run Garmin stats, or simply stuff like, Don’t you love it when you run 8 easy miles faster than your 5k PR pace? #blessed #runecstatic.

Not everything belongs on Facebook, and your daily run-brag is one of those things. Here’s why.

1. It’s quite possibly unsafe.

Let’s start with the practical stuff. Can you say without a shadow of a doubt that you know and trust every person who has access to your Facebook posts? If so, skip down to point #2. If not, I would venture to say that posting the details of your daily runs, particularly GPS data or photos with distinguishing geographic markers leaves you vulnerable. I’m not saying you should run scared! In fact, I agree with Cilantro and her eloquent post on the subject of run safety. In line with her post, though, it’s not complete strangers who are most likely to harm us but people we know … people like acquaintances on Facebook. While it is not our obligation as runners to change people who want to hurt or objectify us, if you’re posting a selfie of you running alone at the same trailhead every Tuesday at 6:00 a.m., or if you’re posting the GPS details of the same route you take every day, you may be putting yourself at risk without even knowing it.

Even if you don’t care about the possible safety element, there are more reasons you may consider chilling with the Facebook run-brags. Reasons like …

2. There’s already an app for that. 

Ugh, people who don’t run always tell me I run too much!”

“Haha, my well-meaning but ignorant uncle told me running is bad for my knees!”

These are two of the many complaints I hear from runners about their non-running friends and family. Non-runners just don’t get it, we say. You know who won’t criticize your need to run? Other runners. And do you know where you can find these other runners? On social networking sites specifically for sharing workouts. Strava and Daily Mile are two very popular social media sites and apps that exist specifically to allow athletes to compare workouts and brag about them in a place where everyone else is bragging about theirs. Boast about your running there; save your bragging about your kids, your amazing dinner, and your cat’s shenanigans for Facebook where they belong. Well, perhaps we can discuss those in another post.

slack_for_ios_upload_4803. You might be looking for approval from the wrong people

Allow me to dust off my psychology degree for a moment and discuss two different types of motivation. The first type is extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is when we do things to get external validation, or the approval of others. The second type is intrinsic motivation, which is when we do things to receive internal validation, or a personal sense of accomplishment. We all have some balance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. But if you’re constantly boasting about your running, this could be a symptom of an inflated need for external validation, meaning you need others to be impressed to compensate for a lack of self-esteem.

And even if it’s not true, from the outside, it kind of looks that way to others. Dig deep and ask yourself before run-bragging on Facebook: what am I trying to accomplish with this post? If your answer is to fill the gaping hole inside or something like that, think twice. If it’s that you don’t give a flying fig what I or anyone else has to say and you just want to share your happiness with the world, well then by all means post to your heart’s content.

4. We know you’re an ambassador for ____, there it is in your post-run selfie again and no, we don’t want any of it.

There’s an art to guerrilla marketing that very few people understand and, I hate to break it to you, you most likely are not one of the people who do it well. We all see through what you’re trying to do there. We know you propped your phone on a fence post and used the timer to get the shot of you running while eating that cricket-protein bar and we also know that despite your hashtags to the contrary it probably tastes like poop. And even if you just loooooove a product, sell that product, or use the product all the time, telling us constantly about it, especially when simultaneously run-bragging, is actually backfiring and making us want it less than we otherwise might.

5. Bragging, humble or otherwise, is annoying.

We’re Facebook friends. I want to like you and I want to be happy for you, but when you’re constantly telling everyone what an awesome runner you are, you make it really hard. And also, when I’m having a bad day, seeing you bragging about this run and that run can make it worse and at other times I feel bad for you that you feel the need to do it (see no. 3). Basically, it’s annoying and if you keep it up, you’ll eventually have more unfollows and unfriends than likes in reaction to your posts.

***

Facebook is a great place to share the excitement you feel from a big accomplishment. Share those big running firsts, those PRs and goal races and even the silly or entertaining things that happen along the way and I’ll be first to give you a like or a love. But if it’s just bragging and it’s every time you run, few people will realize the momentousness of your big achievements when you have them.

Are you a run-bragger? Do run-braggers annoy you on Facebook too?

I am a stay at home mom and group fitness instructor from South Texas. I love reading, wine, and travel. I write about trends, injury prevention and maintenance, and satire. I am training to break 1:30 in the half marathon sometime soon, and for the 2017 Boston Marathon.

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33 comments

  1. I can honestly say that none of this bothers me on FB. However, I can also say that I don’t usually post any of my fitness/running on my personal page but on my blog page for the reasons you mentioned. Plus, if I’m getting sick of my daily workouts, I cannot even fathom how all my FB friends would gag over them. There is a time and place people – find yours.

    1. I agree-and I think it’s ok to post your workouts on a your running blog. I do post my training log here. But it’s like you said-time and a place!

  2. Absolutely agree!

    I got called on a humble-brag a couple of years ago – not run related (it was that I fit into a pair of my son’s hand-me down skinny jeans, which was a huge deal for me and not intended as any type of brag) … and ever since I have been very conscious of what I post … yeah, I still dump up my sweaty selfies on IG/FB, though generally not with the whole run/pace/time thing on it. But it is generally part of a story of what is going on in my life … because running IS part of my life.

    I know when I started serious distance running about 5 years ago some people unfriended me on FB, but … oh well.

  3. My facebook definitely has a good amount of running stuff on it, but typically it’s big races, PR’s, funny moments and not the day to day grind (unless there is a funny story in there…which occasionally there is). I leave my more day to day life/training for twitter/instagram which is far more run oriented for me than my personal FB is. Not only do I not want to have it be ALL running (it used to be), I don’t need to give some friends/family more ammo for saying that running is my only priority- which sometimes happens because I tend to try and only post good things on FB…and there was a long period of time where running was the only good thing in my life so that’s all people saw. That isn’t the case anymore which helps a lot though 😉 Doesn’t mean I don’t still occasionally run brag (it happens, sometimes unintentionally), but I try and reserve that stuff for other media than FB.

    1. That’s good point – that if it seems like someone is bragging about running all the time it might be because his or her life is a struggle outside of it.

    2. Sort of related-I do feel like IG is a more acceptable place to post daily workouts. Maybe because I know some people have seperate handles (if they’re even called handles on IG) specifically for running-related things.

  4. I’m no spring chicken. I started running at the age of 41 (ancient by today’s standards.) I never even planned to start running. It just happened because someone encouraged me to start doing it on Facebook. I took a social media running break recently for a week. I felt like my running “friends” were starting to distance themselves from me. I thought “am I being cocky?” “Is it my posts?” But then I talked to two true friends and they encouraged me to start posting again. You see, to me it’s not bragging. It’s run-accountability and run-reality. I may not be super fast but I share the good and the bad. I’m proud of every damn mile and I think everyone should be. And like one of my friends said, “You never know who you will inspire and motivate.” So if someone is annoyed by my posts they can unfollow me. And if they can’t be happy for me then we’re probably not real friends to begin with. I’d like to end by saying that every runner has earned the right to brag in my opinion. It’s not easy. Whether you BQ or run a 14 minute mile, you’re still busting your ass!

    1. Doesn’t sound like you’re bragging about running at all, simply sharing your journey! (Also, I’m 41. Ancient?!!! Nooooooo! Hahaha) To me there’s a huge difference between people who post for accountability or because they are excited versus posting to brag. I think it’s not posting about running so much as the bragging about it that is an issue. But someone who is new to it and excited and posting about that is totally great to see! But in the end, we all post what we want to post and we can’t help how others react to it and often what appears to be bragging to the person reading may not have meant to be bragging from the person writing it. I look at my old posts in my FB memories and I would NEVER post that stuff now! But at the time I didn’t realize I sounded like I did. All we can do is what makes sense for us and makes us happy today 🙂

    2. Thanks for reading and replying! I think it goes back to intent (are you posting for headpats? or to help others?)-and you’re totally right, it’s your page and anyone is free to unfollow.

      I think that if I posted my daily workouts, people probably would think I was determined or tough or whatever. But then I think, well, am I determined because I want people to think I’m determined? Or am I determined because I want to reach my goals?

      I DO think you should be proud, you work really hard and that’s evident. And if you’re happy with your posts, that’s all that matters.

  5. I agree-particularly with the point about safety. People who have routines and post where they run are making it easier for stalkers. Chances are, most Facebook “friends” are not psychopaths, but it only takes one. I post about races because they are special occasions and worth posting. Occasionally I will post about other running stuff…a weird or important run, running social event, etc.. Otherwise I reserve my mundane training logs for Salty Running readers….if people really want to read it they can but it won’t appear daily on Facebook news feeds! This also goes along with my run shaming post from a few months ago. Posts about people’s running should not make other people feel bad about themselves. But the sad fact is that people’s successes often upset people who are not happy in their own lives. Runners can help by not going overboard with our postings, or not being cocky and obnoxious about our running. (i.e.I won this 50 person race…I’m number one!, accompanied by a number one index finger selfie). Also, it is kind of annoying when anyone over-posts tmi details of any one thing (religion, politics, other jobs or hobbies), etc., not just running. You’re right-seeking approval or reactions is often the reason behind obnoxious postings.

    1. Yeah, I think most of the time intentions shine through. If the intention is to get attention, I mean external validation (hi Olive!), those are the posts that tend to be the most annoying. If the intention is to share excitement, joy, pride, etc. then it’s usually a lovely post that makes other well-adjusted people happy.

    2. That’s a really good point. I read a post on another site that was called “stop losing weight at me” where the writer realized that she was perceiving other people’s achievements as a knock on her, when it simply wasn;t the case. People do that with running too, I think.

  6. To go with #2 and #1 — Strava also allows you to set a privacy area around your house so it kind of “hides” where you live. And you can adjust the privacy setting for your Strava logs, too.

    I actually created a separate Facebook “page” for my running and Pilates related posts. I don’t post about most of my runs but there are the occasional post-run selfies (I’m not coordinated enough for that “running past your phone” action), plus articles I think are interesting and my Pilates teaching schedule. So, people who are interested in that part of my life follow that page and the rest of my Fb world doesn’t have to see it.

    I run by myself quite a bit so I will admit it’s nice when people give me virtual high-fives since I don’t have training partners who are giving them to me after we crush a workout. Even my husband — a marathoner and triathlete himself — is like, “Oh, you had a good workout? That’s nice.” So there’s definitely some validation there.

    1. Ah yes! The point about running/training alone most of the time- I admit there are definitely workouts I finish and I’m like.. I HAVE TO TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS.

  7. Interesting discussion! Over the last few months, I’ve started using instagram to share running related posts and connect with other runners that way. I’ve really enjoyed it – I like following along others’ journeys and training. As a result, I’m posting less-running related stuff on my personal Facebook, which I mostly reserve for kid/friend updates as it’s a way I keep in touch with friends out of town or who I don’t see regularly.

  8. Similar to any topic, I think it is about intention. When my friends have big accomplishments of any kind in their lives, I want to hear about it. But that friend who constantly posts about her non-stop PRs, or another one who can’t stop talking about how tough it is to have a kid who is a genius beauty-pageant winning, violin vitruoso soccer star… or the other one who can’t stop glowing about her protein powder shake that she’s clearly being paid to talk about…. those are the people I discreetly unfollow. And totally agree about safety – just like you wouldn’t post “we’re going away for 2 weeks, leaving our house at 242 Maple street totally unprotected!” you probably shouldn’t let the world know where you run every morning.

    1. Yeah, I don’t mind sharing triumphs and awesome stuff and proud moments, etc. as long as it’s all mixed with other stuff. Like if every post is how perfect your life is, whatever that entails and you post a lot I just can’t with that. My life has good days and bad days and some days I look hot and others I look like boiled poop in a bag. It’s so far from perfect, that I can’t handle people so intent on making theirs look perfect all the time because … it’s a) not true and b) is horrible to look at during those harder days. But I take responsibility for my feelings and don’t really blame them or hate them, I just don’t want to look at their FB posts 🙂

  9. There’s just way too many of the posts that are – “Oh that was such an awful, slow, miserable run” posted along with picture of totally NOT awful, slow, miserable pace. Ruins all of the running posts for me.

    1. Yes. The only thing that really bugs me is when people post like this: usually something derisive like “just a little hobby jog” next a photo of their garmin showing they did 5 miles at my half marathon pace. Stfu!!!

  10. If/when I post about running on FB, it rarely includes my pace and it’s usually because I earned a new PR.

    That being said, it doesn’t bother me when people post about their running or workouts. If they’re posting it, it’s because it’s important to them. To me, it’s no different than someone posting a million pictures of their kids or cat. These are the things that make people happy, so by all means… share it with your Facebook world.

    The one thing that really does bother me, though: daily food pictures!

  11. Facebook algorithms are so weird, I no longer have any idea why I see the things I’m seeing in my feed. Ugh. But…trying not to annoy anyone with constant running chatter on Facebook is the whole reason I started a separate running blog – so I could dump the running-related contents of my brain over there! And then people are free to read it, or not read it, whichever 🙂 It doesn’t bother me when friends talk about running or whatever else they’re passionate about (you have a hobby? Awesome! i do too!)…unless it’s direct sales.