The start of the year is always an interesting time. We all start it with ambitions and goals about how we would like the new year to go, what we want to to achieve, how we want to better ourselves. We are bombarded at the beginning of the year with other peoples goals. We chat with our friends, we see them signing up for their races, watch them start looking at their training plans. But the reality of it is, goals change, plans change, and things might not go the way you had originally planned.
With races selling out faster and faster each year, and going on sale earlier and earlier, we can sometimes feel rushed, or pressured to sign up for goal races without really thinking about what we am signing up, how it fits into our schedules and whether or not it is feasible. We can often get overly excited as others sign up for a race and register based on fear of missing out. Once the hype of the new year slows down and we get into the groove again, it is always good to take a step back and process your hopes and goals for the year.
Social media, running groups, increasing amounts of races popping up seemingly every weekend.. there is definitely an un-talked about pressure to do more, be more and push it farther. And alas, now we have… FOMO. What is fomo, or simply “fear of missing out”? It is literally anxiety or feeling upset about the fun, exciting and interesting events happening without you. Ridiculous… I know. But it is real and I am sure you suffer from it. FOMO has us focusing on all the cool, awesome, better things that everyone else is doing and is taking away our attention from all the amazing, sweet, incredible things we are doing. It is taking us out of the moment. Instead of enjoying where you chose to be and what you chose to do… you are spending energy thinking of what your friends are doing. Ever scrolled through facebook and seen something that instantly makes you jealous because so and so did something cooler than you think you did? That’s fomo. Ever felt anxiety about not signing up for a race when it seems like everyone else you know did? That is also fomo.
I have been running for almost 4 years and I ran my first ultra, a 50km 2.5 years ago. The natural progression of running seems to keep pushing your distance. Once you’ve ran a few 50kms, its time to start looking at a 50 miler, and then from there 100kms or even 100 miles. I see a lot of my friends headed in this direction but my heart does not seem to want to go that way. I have questioned whether there is something wrong with me as an “ultra runner”. How can I call myself that if I don’t have the desire to go beyond 50 miles. Am I falling behind? Should I be doing more? Am I not doing enough? Are my dreams and goals not big enough? Why aren’t I signing up for more races? Why aren’t I logging the same miles as everyone else… the list goes on.
And I am sure you’re doing this too. Maybe you haven’t done a race before, you just run for the pure enjoyment of it… does that still make you a runner? Or maybe you haven’t pushed yourself to a half marathon or a marathon… does that mean your stagnant in your goals? Are all your friends signing up for a race that you’re not doing… do you feel like you’re falling behind?
Well guess what. It is time to stop looking outward at what everyone else is doing and focus inward! Be happy with where you are in YOUR journey and be proud of the things are you are accomplishing and doing! Be confident that you are where you are meant to be and you are doing what you choose to be. Running is a journey, and it is a process and every runner is different. You don’t need to run as far as Sally and you don’t need to run as fast as Bill. Choose a few races that you really want to do, in places you want to go, with friends you love the most. Don’t do something because everyone else is doing it. Do it because it makes you happy, and do the races that make your heart beat with excitement. This is about you, this is the gift you’ve chosen to give yourself, stop letting the fear of missing out keep you down. Stop scrolling through social media comparing yourself to everyone else. Let’s erase FOMO and love what you do and be happy and continent with the choices you are making!! Go and get what you WANT!