Can ‘Proving It’ Hurt Your Training?

By Mario Fraioli

Can Strava, and other socially driven fitness apps for the matter, influence your training? Of course they can. But it’s up to you to decide what you see, how you’re influenced by it, how you react to it, and ultimately whether or not the social network is actually enhancing your experience as an athlete. Like any other social network, Strava is what you make of it—used properly, it can make training fun and motivating, but it can also send you flying off the rails if you’re not careful. Elite athlete are not exempt—in fact, it’s a conversation Tim Tollefson and I had in the weeks leading up to UTMB.

“I actually unfollowed people on Strava because I don’t want to know what they’re doing,” Tollefson said in his pre-race interview. “I feel like I’m already pushing my personal envelope enough. You see what other people are doing, and you start thinking you maybe need to do more. That’s a dangerous game to get into. Having Strava, which is cool, is also a double-edged sword.

A version of this post first appeared in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter covering running, writing, media and other topics that interest me. If you’d like for it to land in your inbox first thing on Tuesday mornings, subscribe here.