The Atlantic has a neat story about the increasing number of marathoners, and the corresponding increase in users of running apps. The apps can help runners find camaraderie with one another, but can also remove running’s stripped-down, essential nature. As a longtime MapMyRun user, I found that the article particularly resonant. Especially the following:
“It has a self-reinforcing function,” says the sports psychologist and Temple University professor Michael Sachs. “You have charts and graphs to show your progress. When you’re meeting your metrics, it builds self-esteem, making you feel more competent and motivated to keep running.” Knowing that I’ll be able to see evidence of my improving distance and pace—and that other people will be able to see those numbers, too—has often been the thing that pushes me out the door. I doubt I’m the only one who’ll dash up and down the same block a few extra times to record exactly five miles rather than calling it in at 4.6.