Ever since I graduated high school and stopped running competitively, my relationship with the sport has changed for the better. I’m not able to run a 5k in 21 minutes anymore, but I am able to avoid physical therapy, gain pleasure from my runs, and feel energized instead of drained from my workouts. Though I loved being a part of my cross country team more than anything, I knew that I needed to chill with my running when I got to college. Joining the club running team at William and Mary allowed me to schedule my runs around my other commitments, and not the other way around. After quarantine started, running became the thing that got me away from my zoom screen, allowed me to clear my mind, and pushed me through some really hopeless days. The endorphin release was like nothing else, and whether I was running a quick two laps around my neighborhood or a long run in the park, I was able to find so much clarity and joy from my runs. I would track my mileage and set goals for myself, but never get bogged down on running slower than I wanted to on off days. Though my runs wavered when school started up again in the fall, I’ve been running 4-5 days a week for the last two months, and it has been the best form of self care I could ever recommend. I think I’ve found a really good balance when it comes to my relationship with running, and I believe this gives me credibility in talking about the toxicity of a certain part of running culture.
A few months ago, I saw someone post about the app Strava. For those who have never heard of it, Strava is an exercise tracking app with the additional aspect of social media. You can post your mileage, distance, and how you felt on any given run. Cyclers and other athletes use this app too, but I’ve stuck to examining its aspect on the running community. As a big fan of running, I found this app really exciting, but the more I heard about it, and the more I analyzed this kind of exercise mindset, the more I was appalled by the app’s implications.Continue reading “How Strava Destroys the Love of Running”