Overcoming My Fear of Strava

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When someone told me that I should get on Strava, the idea was not at all appealing.

I’m not one of those people who feels comfortable posting on the internet about myself. This is for a lot of reasons, but generally, I've been afraid to be vulnerable and open about my life because I'm afraid of unfair criticism. It’s been an easier policy to not reveal anything about my exercise regimen, so I figured the less people knew about my workouts, the less they’re able to comment, compare, or criticize.

Maybe it's because we're almost trained as women to constantly compete against other women, I was scared to even try. Like anybody, I have days when I feel weak, days when I’m unmotivated, and days when I’m just too busy to get out the door and run. Sometimes I mess up, sometimes I prioritize other things over my training, and for a long time, I was terrified that somebody would see that and call me out on it. I knew that being on Strava would mean that all of my triumphs and failures would be put up on display for anyone to see. If I had an off day or if I wasn't running very high mileage, everyone would be able to see that.

Posting my running times on any sort of platform has long been something that terrified and intimidated me. If I train in secret, there are a million opportunities for me to make excuses. If I don’t post my times until race day, people will just automatically think that I'm up to some sort of super-speedy training regimen happening completely offline, right? Maybe the story I'm making up in my head is that people are watching and criticizing me more than they actually are.

So I did it.

I started tracking my activities on Strava a few weeks ago and since doing that, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences. Women I admire and respect have given me ‘kudos’ and words of encouragement. It’s been an incredible way to find new running routes, get data on my pacing, and connect with the community that I love.

I still flinch every time I see a slower split than I thought I ran, or when I see someone I like to race run a faster time than me, but I know now that people on Strava are cheering for me. And ultimately, nobody really cares about my failures. They’re rooting for my success.