Very few of us are immune to the temptations of social media in this day and age (including yourself – seeing as you are reading this!)
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, Instagram, etc., as in my coaching line of work – it is an essential tool to reach all of the incredible triathletes out there.
However, for my athletes, I do advise them to be mindful of how they interact with social media – as sometimes not always the best use of their time to achieve their goals.
So let us look at this from the title of one of my favorite movies – “The Good, the bad and the ugly” to be someway objective!
- It can be informative – There are lots of useful forums and groups across all mediums, e.g., Training Peaks blogs, Race-specific Facebook pages. These can help you find the latest up-to-date info within a couple of clicks.
- It can be motivating – Strava as a social media app allows you to compare your time/efforts over time and against other athletes on certain segments. Nothing better than seeing a new PB award on your chosen route after you complete your latest tempo run.
- It can help you connect with like-minded people – Yes, we are an unusual bunch as endurance athletes with practically our own language. So what better way to find potential new training buddies when you move to a new area than hitting up the local Facebook triathlon page. #INSTAtrainingmatez
- It can be misinformative – Just because it is on the internet – it does not mean it is anything more than an opinion of an individual. Many individuals are trying to push their own theories/agendas, which may be wrong for you.
The key thing is to be critical in everything you read and think, “Is this right for me or does this stack up?”
- It can be distracting – This is a real coach’s peeve. I hate to see some entirely out of whack data for the session that was planned and end up getting the “Ah I was just chasing that KOM”.
There is a time and a place for smashing yourself up and it is should be part of a plan/overall goal rather than trying to chase down OreoMucher1983 on strava.
- It can be too revealing – I have to remind my athletes to be mindful when they post details of a session on social media – not only are your friends seeing it – so are your competitors.
So be a poker player – do not show your hand when you do not need to.
Do not go telling your club nemesis that the run was a “sprint race pace effort” so he/she knows what pace they need to be run to chase you down come race day -let them find out the hard way!
- It can be time-consuming – We are pretty much time-crunched athletes. So do cap the amount of time you spend on youtube, WhatsApp, etc. – as simply reading about others and posting selfies of your kit will NOT make you a better athlete. Get out there and train!
Then you will have something good to stick up on social media when you are telling your clubmates, training buddies about your new PB.
- Beware of the trolls – For some unexplainable reason to me – there are individuals on social media that seem to get a kick out of starting rows with strangers on forums. Apparently, they are known as trolls … just steer of them – they are just sucking the positivity out of anyone who engages with them. Best to surround yourself with positive people and fed off that energy!
So to sum up – I am not a luddite suggesting we create a bonfire of our smartphones. Like everything – social media can be fun and useful in helping us develop as a community and athletes but in moderation!
Do use it to connect, learn from others and keep focused on your goals
Don’t spend too much time on it or allow it to distract from your A goal!