New research suggests sharing your runs on social media can make you a better runner

With over 31 million Instagram posts tagged as #run on Instagram, for a while now, we’ve been asking the question – does posting your run on social media actually affect your running performance?

According to new research from running retailer Sportsshoes.com, it does. The running specialists looked at over 2,500 UK runners in an attempt to determine whether there is a link between social posting and performance.

The study compared around 1,000 runners who said they never, or rarely, shared their runs on social media, against approximately 1,500 runners who said they were regular social media sharers.

Related: 4 social media mistakes to avoid 

The results found that those runners that do share their runs on social media were, on average, running faster than those who don’t. The average 5K time for those who regularly shared their running performance on social media was 25 minutes, which was two and a half minutes quicker than the average time for non-sharers – 27.27 minutes.

Researchers found that as well as being quicker, runners who share their achievements on social media are also more likely to run for longer than those who don’t. When surveyed about their longest distance achievement, the group of runners who didn’t share on social media had a most frequent maximum distance of 21-25K. In comparison, the most frequent maximum distance of the runners who regularly shared on social media was nearly double, at 41-45K.

When it comes to the gender of the social sharers, it turns out there’s a pretty even split, with 65% of men sharing their runs and 63% of women.

Whilst non-runners may interpret these social posts as a bit of a #humblebrag, according to the researchers of this study, these #run posts do in fact have a positive impact on the performance of those sharing them. One reason for this could be the shared runs act as a form of running diary, helping runners see their progress and acting as motivator to keep going.

Alice Tate, a PR Manager and running influencer said: “I’m pretty active on Instagram Stories and will share runs on there regularly. I will only post on my actual feed if it’s either been an overwhelmingly good run, if I’m somewhere with a great view, or if it’s been a terrible run.

“Having others follow my journey (to marathons) helps push and motivate me to share my story but I wouldn’t say it affects my performance. I post as a means to document my journey. I love looking back through my feed and reminding myself of all the experiences I’ve had – I really do use it like a diary. I think it’s really important to share the bad runs as well as the ones that make you feel like you’re on cloud nine.”

What do you think? Do you share your running achievements on social media? Join the conversation on our Facebook or Twitter page.