You’re Not Good Enough – Six Types of Runners on Social Media

You’re not good enough. You’re not fast enough, you’re not pretty enough, and you definitely don’t look as fit as that person over there.

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Maybe it’s because racing season is upon us. My Strava and Facebook feeds have been flooded lately with comments, titles, and posts that are so self-deprecating that I absolutely needed to write about it here to confirm that you’re just not good enough.

Since Strava, Garmin, and Facebook have taken over our lives, we can’t even stop at a portajohn without someone knowing about it. So now we write about every run we’re doing right this second, every run we’re planning to do, and details on how it went after the fact.

Social media (Strava, Garmin, Facebook) brings out “the ugly” in us runners.

Don’t get me wrong — I love these platforms because they create a cool sense of community, support, and interaction over a shared interest or goal. But somewhere along the way, they also created 24/7 competition among us and made us feel like we needed to prove ourselves to each other and to ourselves on every single jaunt (all for the CR). We feel like we need to provide an explanation for why we didn’t do better. It’s stressful. The truth is, other people care way less than we think they do.

See, I think you’re awesome for getting out there and I don’t care how fast or slow you are!

There are a few types of people and friends you’ll find on Strava, Fitbit, Garmin Connect, and Facebook:

#1: The Person Who Sucks

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The Person Who Sucks says things like, “I suck,” or “I’m too slow,” or “I’m not fast enough to…” and I think they actually believe it.

Here’s the deal:
There’s always someone cooler than you. It’s a rule of life. Next time you’re about to say you’re too slow, you’re not good enough, and not worthy, stop it! Because YOU might be that cool (fast) person that someone else hopes to be. I don’t care if you run a 4-minute mile or a 18-minute mile… don’t be a jerk to people who can only dream of doing what you just did! You are amazing. I wish you knew that too!

#2: The Fighter

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The Fighter has runs that read something like: “What a terrible race/run, that was awful”… but was totally fast, good, or at the very least, fine. Nobody died, at least.

Here’s the deal:
I get it… everyone has a battle to get to the finish. If it was that miserable, why’d you keep going? Why are you even doing this? You need a break.

What about people who don’t have the ability to run? What if you could never run ever ever ever again from this day forward? Crap. Even a horrible run becomes a gift.


#3: The One Who Tries Too Hard

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The One Who Tries Too Hard does the “Easy run” or “Recovery run” at a pace that’s not actually that easy. But he/she wants you to think it was cake.

Here’s the deal:
Psst — Your insecurity is showing. It’s not very Maffetone anyway! Fact: most people run their recovery/easy runs way too fast (do you?).  When your recovery/easy pace is hardly slower than your race pace, you’re sabotaging yourself (See “#5, Stupid Beast Mode Runner”).

Related to The One Who Tries Too Hard: “I’ll participate (in the group run or event), but it won’t be very good – I’m injured {or other reason}.”

What kind of friends demand an explanation for why you won’t win or set a world record? You were invited because you’re an awesome person, not for your speed. Enjoy the activity and the company, and don’t sweat how you do.


#4: The Work in Progress

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Someone says to Work In Progress, “Wow – great pace!”
Work In Progress then responds, “Oh, thanks but I’m SOOOO fat/not fit…“ or “Thanks but I’m sooo slow right now!”

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Related: Someone tells Work In Progress, “Congrats on winning the race!” or “Congrats on your finish!”
Work In Progress responds: “I wish I could have finished 3 minutes faster… but thanks though.”

Here’s the deal:
Take the compliment and move on! Don’t dwell on your disappointment with your performance. I propose a re-write of your response: “Thanks — I hope you had a great race, too! Beautiful course!!”

You’re just not going to garner much sympathy from someone who’s not as fast/lean/pretty/whatever than you. To everyone else, you kinda sound like you’re fishing for compliments or making excuses (See #3 – The One Who Tries Too Hard)… and you probably just insulted everyone else who’s sucking wind to/can’t keep up with you right now.


#5: The Stealth Runner

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It’s hard to spot the Stealth Runner because nearly every run is private. When it’s not private, it’s because you were meant to see it. Could it be? Stealth Runner doesn’t do slow! Stealth Runner doesn’t do bad!

Here’s the deal:
C’mon, we know you get out there almost every day. So what if not every run is your best performance ever? Be human with us!


#6 The Stupid Beast Mode Runner

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Stupid Beast Mode Runner makes stupid decisions (training, nutrition, sleep, personal safety) for the sake of kudos, getting faster, CRs, and making sure you recognize how incredibly hardcore he/she is. Stupid Beast Mode Runner says you can sleep later, run more miles, and RAWWWWWRRRRR.

Here’s the deal:
You’re too tunnel-vision or stubborn to see that you’re creating the perfect storm for burnout, injury — or worse. It takes one to know one – as a recovering stupid beast mode runner, I can spot another macho beast mode runner from thousands of miles away. Please please please take care of yourself now (physically and mentally), or end up like me later. And no, 10 miles is not an easy day. You deserve a real break for all that work and time you’ve put in, but do you remember what it’s like to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty/itchy about it? Is it still fun?



….The reality is that no one is judging you. At least, no one who’s worth your energy.
In the wise words of one of my best friends, “No one is a bigger, judgier, uglier a–hole to me than ME!” Yeah, I struggle with negative self-dialogue too. The other day I heard advice so basic it was life-changing: Talk to yourself like you’re talking to a 2-year-old. Be gentle. Don’t yell at yourself. Cut yourself some slack. Be nice. It’s a different type of conversation, right?

….But what about those people who actually are judging how fast, talented, good-looking, fashionable, or fit I am (or am not?)? SIGH. We need to stop judging our own friends and fellow club/team members based on how fast or far we can go (you know — “that” clique, road vs trail, those types of things). What makes running such a wonderful and unique sport is that you don’t have to be good at it to be a part of the fun! (Fun fact… that’s why I started running in high school – NO CUTS!!)

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And last, how about a gut check? Are you having fun while you’re running? Do you feel happy when you finish a run? Did you stop and appreciate the fact that you can? (No? Maybe it’s time for a break.)

Bottom line: It’s difficult, but let’s be nicer when we talk to ourselves. Let’s stop trying so hard to prove to everyone else that we’re good enough. And let’s be more inclusive. You’re fabulous the way you are. Fast, slow, talented, smart, boring, exciting, fat, or lean… you are awesome. Own it.

And last, a quote from one of my favorite movies:

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You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone.

Don’t let anybody, anything, or any website make you feel like you don’t deserve to be here. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. 

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4 thoughts on “You’re Not Good Enough – Six Types of Runners on Social Media

  1. September 22, 2015 at 1:37 am

    You missed two.

    One is the “Technology Fail” runner. This is the person who is constantly thwarted by attempts to run social because (in no order of importance) Nike+ stopped synching for no reason and can’ t be fixed and tech support has given up on it ever happening, they hit the wrong button when pausing at a porta potty and ended the run a few miles in without noticing, Strava and Garmin aren’t speaking to each other, I left my Garmin in another state, etc. (Why, um, no, no that’s not the voice of experience there…)

    Another is the “I just run because I like it sometimes” runner. I’m not fast and I know it. I don’t do fartleks (at least not on purpose). I walk up hills because I don’t like running up hills. My pace? “I stop to pet the cute puppies.” No, that’s not a cute euphemism for something, I really do stop to pet the dogs and sometimes I take selfies with them. I’m the funner runner. You’re faster? Slower? Thinner? Fatter? Fitter? Who cares! You run you, and I’ll run me. Have fun out there!

  2. Rachel Noirot
    October 2, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    word! good stuff: )

  3. March 28, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    This is fantastic! Your descriptions were spot on. :)

    I try really hard to never call any of my paces as “slow” because slow is so relative! My slow could be a pace another runner only dreams about. And how bad might that person feel, if I call their dream pace “slow”!

    1. Steph
      March 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Beth! Very true…. I have found that the party is always in the back of the pack, anyway — where they don’t always take running SO SO seriously and know how to have fun! And all those dance parties we could be missing out on if we never slow down! :) Thanks for stopping by!

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