General Running

The Truth About Year-End Totals

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By Robbe Reddinger

Each year, the arrival of Spotify’s year in review marks the beginning of an annoying parade of twelve-month totals to convince ourselves we all did something incredible in our mundane day-to-day lives. (My incredibility lies in the fact that both Pusha T and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” were in my top 5, because I need to teach my two-year-old that if he knows ‘bout the carport, trap doors are supposed to be awkward). Of course, of all these lists, there’s only one that matters to runners, the icing on the humblebrag cake— the Strava year-end mileage totals.

If you bear any semblance to a self-respecting runner, you had a goal to run a certain amount of miles this year. If you didn’t, you’re either one of those weird hippie runners who actually runs to the grocery store and “doesn’t care about the mileage, man, it’s just the purity of running”, or you’re a liar.

Also, like any self-respecting runner, you must share the results of that end-of-the-year, miles-ran goal broadly and publicly to all persons. Because after watching you post all of your “.1 Mile Manual Entry – Garmin Death” Strava activities, we HAVE to know- did they all add up to that magic number you set way back in January?

In curating the presentation of your mileage totals, the first question to ask yourself is this- what type of runner are you? Are you the guy who already knew he was going to run 3,000 miles this year because you have no other interests in life and/or you hate your family? If so, it’s incredibly important to hammer home your time spent on the road to everyone in your life, so that they’ll all know the reason you’re getting divorced in 2019.

Or maybe you’re a fairly experienced runner who averaged five miles a day, and you’ve done this the last several years. I hate to tell you, but at this point, not many people are impressed. You’re precipitously close to average runner territory in the eyes of your peers. You may want to consider adding some posthumous manual entries to January 2018 to boost your stats.

Then again, perhaps you’re someone who only ran a hundred miles this year, in which case you have to be careful which circles with whom you share your totals. Especially running groups— because nobody there considers you to be a runner.

That said, the most important question remains—if you don’t post your mileage totals to every social media platform- do they really count? You probably already do this with your Instagram posts, so you know the importance of reaching those 14 people who follow you on Facebook but not Instagram. And obviously, everyone needs more content in their Facebook feed, so you’re doing the Lord’s work. By posting to every platform, your closest friends can feel like they’re reliving every mile you’ve run this past year— over and over again. And certainly, don’t forget to mention you’ve had years with better mileage, just in case the few runners you know with more miles can’t feel too smug.

I don’t have much more advice than this, because if you’ve run for any considerable amount of time, this should more or less be intuitive. You run, you post, you get your notifications and the accompanying dopamine hit. But if you haven’t figured it out yet, here’s who cares and who doesn’t:

Cares:

  • Your mom (maybe)
  • Your high school gym teacher (‘cause they’re the only teachers who are weird friends with you in high school and also the rest of your life)
  • That “runners” life insurance advertised on every podcast and running blog that sounds revolutionary but only ends up lowering your rate by about $1 a month

Doesn’t care:

  • Your spouse
  • Boy/girlfriend
  • Ex-boy/girlfriend
  • Anyone that ran less than you
  • 99.9% of your Facebook friends
  • 100% of your actual friends

That said, if you’re at 1,800 miles come December 30th, you should probably run a 200-miler on New Year’s Eve, just to round things up.

Then I’ll be impressed.

Oh, and BTW, I ran 1250 miles this year (I have two young kids and nagging injuries and a lot of other excuses). BOOM!

PS- Join the Believe in the Run in our new Strava club and follow our reviewers as they rack up miles on shoes and gear!

3 Comments

  1. Garbage. If there’s one thing I love more than crushing my own goals, it’s watching others crush their goals, even if it’s “less than mine”. When I finish a race, I’m on the sidelines cheering on the back of the pack runners because they are real runners too, and need all the encouragement that one trying to BQ would need. I’m glad the running community where I’m from is more inclusive than encouraging than you. Don’t turn your nose up at someone who’s out there trying.

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