Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Comparison Trap

Social media can be such a tricky thing.  I've talked about how I'm becoming a "student" of running, which means reading about running and listening to podcasts.  This also means that I've been reading more blogs, following more accounts on Instagram, and basically trying to take in as much information as I can.  As most other runners can probably agree (and I'm guessing this can happen in any kind of sport or hobby), this can get dangerous and you can enter the comparison trap.


In some ways this is a good thing.  I see other people crushing their workouts and breaking barriers, and all of a sudden I'm feeling really motivated and want to share my successes as well.  Someone talks about having a crappy day with a million things going wrong in their life, and all of a sudden my so-so day doesn't seem like a good excuse to skip a run and I get it done.  I've found new workouts to try, techniques to improve my form, fueling tips, and get encouragement every day!  That's really why I started a blog- to get outward motivation to reach my goals.

On the other hand, it can be dangerous.  I see other people running twice the mileage I'm doing while they train for similar goals at similar races, and I think I'm not doing enough.  I start to doubt my training and my abilities to reach the goals I have.  Why aren't I running more mileage?  Why don't I run the same paces as them?  Why do I suck while they're beasting it out??

Sometimes it takes a little venting and whine (and sometimes wine) session for me to get over myself.  Another thing that social media gifted me is an amazing support system of incredible people who are willing to listen to my freak outs and tell me everything will be alright.  They remind me that every runner is different, and race times aren't always determined by who has the best training.  There are other aspects to go into achieving goals- believing in yourself, doing things the right way, and getting to the finish line healthy.


While I'm not going to be qualifying for the Olympics any time soon, or even reaching my long term goal of getting a BQ this year, I need to remind myself that I'm on the right path.  I don't need my training to look like any other runners'.  I can use them as inspiration to work harder, but not compare myself to them.  To sum it all up- Do you boo boo, cuz Imma do me.



Does anyone have a problem with comparison?  How do you deal with it?

linking up with Amanda 

34 comments:

  1. GIRL YOU DO YOU. You are everything that you need to be. And you will go where you are going to go, on your own feet. xoxoxo

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  2. Fortunately i've never succumbed to the "comparison trap" because I was never into running to compete with anyone else. But sometimes I question myself and think that because I'm not more competitive that maybe i'm not doing it right. But Suz is right,you do you. I guess we all need to just do us. There is no right or wrong way to approach running.

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  3. I think we all have some sort of problem with comparison whether it's running, jobs, house, etc... there's always going to be someone better but I try to remind myself that sometimes other peoples weaknesses are my strenghts and vice versa... it's definitely hard not to be competitive or too hard on ourselves in a few aspects though but I try to remind myself that usually we are only see a glimpse not the whole story (especially on social media).

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  4. I just noticed in the last few days I started comparing myself to others! There are people on my IG that have done over 100 miles in January - some over 200 miles in JAnuary!! And I did 39. But you know what. I did 3 miles in December, so going from that to 39 is amazing for me.

    We all go through it. But we are on our OWN journey!

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    1. Ugh yes. It's frustrating because even if I'm happy for finally breaking 100 miles, then I'll see someone with more and I'm like crap, I should have done more, still not good enough. But then I look at last year when I had months with less than 20 miles..so I'm doing much better!

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  5. Great post! And ya for sure I compare, but so far it hasn't ruined me. I think I just get encouraged, and then I work harder to be better at whatever it is I'm encouraged about (Instagram has helped me keep up with my veggie eating!) ALTHOUGH... once in a while I will spot a farce. Like, their PR in the marathon is 3:30 (a few months back) and yet they just finished doing a 10 mile tempo run at a 6:20 min/mile pace. I hit the unfollow button pretty quick. I don't have time in my life for fake people!

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    1. Yes..I definitely think people stretch the truth of their paces on social media a lot. Good thing race results don't lie ;)

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  6. Just thought I'd let you know that others (me!) find you inspiring just like you find those other blogs! I think I'm about the same level of running as you (judging by half marathon times and training) and I'm signed up for my first marathon this fall. Watching your training makes me feel like I can go faster than I initially thought! And I thought BQ was only a dream, but seeing you put it as a real goal has me thinking it might be possible!

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    1. Wow Katie..that is the nicest thing you could say to me. I really appreciate it and hope I can continue to inspire! Thank you so so much <3 Good luck with training!! WE CAN DO IT!

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  7. Social media makes is to easy to do the comparison games! I've been battling the comparison games since becoming a mom... and I learned quickly that there is no winning the comparison games.

    I did used to compare myself to this other runner, who was about my age, close to my body built and was running faster than me. Then I found myself hating that I wasn't getting faster, until one day I just told myself to work harder and do my own thing. Yeah, I was not fast, but I loved everything about running and my pace.

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    1. Ugh I can only imagine how much worse it is for moms...

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  8. My problem isn't comparing myself with others, but with myself. Saying "I used to" and "two years ago I could...." isn't helpful, but sometimes I see myself doing it and need to snap out of it.

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    1. I don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing but I don't really ever get down on myself if I'm slower than I used to be. It's much easier for me to compare myself to others in similar situations/same age. Either way it's not a good thing to do!

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  9. There is ALWAYS someone faster than me. This is what kicks me out of the comparison trap. Why did I read that last sentence and think of Corrine? Hahaha!

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    1. I always try to remind myself that..I'm not going to be winning any races so what does it matter if someone's a little better than me or training different? Just do my best!

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  10. I can totally relate! Remember: Social media is comparing someone else's highlight reel to your bloopers . It can definitely mess with my head if I get too sucked in!

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    1. Yesss so true. I'm trying to be more "real" on IG and here so that people can see the failures and successes, and see that success isn't linear!

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  11. Yup. I used to do this a lot more with Instagram, especially when it comes to food photography, but the more I've realized that we are all so unique, the more I've come to appreciate instead of compare myself to others. However, I love how you said that these relationships can encourage and inspire us to grow which is something that social media and blogging has done for me too. Bloggers can be some of the most encouraging people I've ever met! It's amazing.

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    1. Yes definitely. When I started to really feel bad about myself, I reached out to two blogging friends who made me feel better immediately. Amazing community!

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  12. I definitely can find myself getting caught in that comparison trap. It can be scarily easy to get sucked in! I just try to remind myself that I'm ME and that's FINE. Then, I pause and try to take a lesson from it and see how I can either improve what I'm doing (and whether or not I actually need to) or how I can make some changes (big area for me with regards to food photography....). You definitely gotta do YOU!

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    1. Love how you said that- I'm me! I'll have to remind myself that if I find myself comparing again.

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  13. Just noticed this post when I checked out your link up. I think the comparison trap hits us harder when we are training hard for big goals, because we are in a state of being more emotionally invested in our running. It's hard to work your butt off to get to a certain pace only to hear someone on Instagram complain about how having to run that same pace is "OMG soooo slow". For this reason, I try to be tactful in how I talk about training online. Also keep in mind that social media affords us the opportunity to, well, embellish the truth a bit - the stats people post rarely tell the whole story. Funny how no one ever mentions how many pause breaks they took during that super speedy run or whether their easy effort was truly easy or not. I'm not trying to be negative, I think it's great to be proud of accomplishments and inspire others online, but I take things I read on social media/blogs with a grain of salt these days.

    Anyway, just remember that everyone trains differently. While running is measured objectively, hence the comparison trap, we all take different paths from point A to point B. Different styles of training suit different people, and we all have different circumstances, resources, privileges, genetics, and luck. Your journey is beautiful in that it is uniquely yours, a story always unfolding - embrace it!!

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    1. Ugh that is so true. I never used to care about how I compared to others, but now that I'm serious and have some big goals I'm definitely harder on myself and how I stack up to others. I saw someone saying that same exact thing the other day and I was thinking to myself that I would LOVE to run that pace, but then I reminded myself that others would LOVE to run my super slow pace. (I do think it's best to not say negative stuff like that online so you don't offend people..but that's just me!)

      Thanks for the amazing comment <3

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  14. I get stuck in the comparison trap all the time! Social media makes it way too easy to constantly compare yourself to other people. I always try to remind my self that it doesn't matter how far other people have come, its how far you have come. Your biggest competitor is yourself so thats who I always aim to beat!

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  15. YES to all this. It can offer a support system but it can also suck you down the black hole of comparison and leave you wrung dry. I think the only way to deal is to step away and dive into reality for a bit. I can feel my anxiety rise the longer I'm online.

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    1. Same for me!! I definitely have to work on limiting it and not letting it affect me.

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  16. Yessss to this! I actually wrote a post a little while back about "running your own race" on this very issue. It wasn't until I realised that I didn't need to compete with anyone, that I allowed myself to thrive whilst also cheering on my friends and family as they thrived and achieved too.

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    1. I've seen a lot of these posts popping up lately! I guess the New Year is when a lot of people do self reflection (or at least I do)

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  17. I can so relate. Social media can be inspirational and draining at the same time... ugh. It's good to remind ourselves that the only person we're really competing with are ourselves.

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  18. you hit the nail on the head. i used to be bad about comparing myself in every area of my life - running, weight, looks, clothes, house - you name it, i compared it. it's definitely not healthy, but i think recognising it and accepting where you are on the way to where you want to be is very helpful.

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