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How to Use Social Media During a Race Without Falling On Your Face

If you or anyone you know ran or watched the LA Marathon last weekend, you may have gotten some pretty choice selfies from them during or after the race, complete with special Snapchat geofilters. This certainly isn't the first race to utilize custom geofilters—the TCS New York City Marathon did it in 2015 and 2016—but it's definitely the first to employ them on such a *huge* scale. The marathon, which was put on by Skechers Performance, had 42 specialized filters along the course. It was basically all race selfies, all the time. (Here, learn more about the art of the yoga selfie.)

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Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon teamed up with charity teams like Team World Vision, Team 2 End AIDS, Special Olympics of Southern California, and Team in Training to get a huge variety of different filters. And there were even more brands who got in on the action by placing their own filters near the course. Needless to say, social media use during the race was highly encouraged. (FYI, here's why Snapchat is the best social media app for your mental health.)

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One thing we wondered, though, is how can you take a selfie while running safely? Not only that, but is it possible to do it without completely sabotaging your time or getting in the way of other racers? We decided to chat with run coaches and pros who use social media on the reg to find out.

First things first. Is it ever okay to take a selfie while you're running a crowded race? "As long as you are hyperaware of your surroundings, it's totally fine," says Dorothy Beal, a Road Runners Club of America Running Coach and USA Track & Field Certified Coach who has run 32 marathons. "You just have to be smart about it. It's not that different from getting water from a water stop during a race; you want to make sure that you are being polite and not getting in the way of others, but this is your race just as much as it is theirs and if you choose to document it while being safe, I think it's a wonderful way to preserve memories." As for how to actually do it safely, Beal suggests sticking to the sides of the course and checking behind you before you slow down or stop to take a photo or video.

Some runners worry about messing up their desired race time by spending too much time on photos, but that problem can be easily controlled by limiting the number of times you stop. "Do not overdo it," says Jose Madera, a Skechers Performance Elite Athlete. "Try to document no more than five or six moments." He also recommends considering what would be most memorable, like a city landmark or a group photo with friends who are also running, rather than arbitrarily snapping away. Plus, if you can look at the course on a map and consider what you want to take pictures of ahead of time, you'll be prepared and less flustered when you're trying to capture the moment. Beal also recommends waiting until the end of the race to post your pics if you're concerned about your time. After all, coming up with captions can be seriously time-consuming. (Not quite ready to tackle a marathon? These are the 10 best races for new runners.)

In terms of how to avoid injury, there are a few simple physical cues you can keep in mind. "When I take photos, I remind myself to stand tall, roll my shoulders back, and open up my upper core (which helps me to breathe better, as well)," says Beal. "Have fun, but remember: No photo is worth injuring yourself for, so you need to be aware of what's going on." If you're not feeling confident about keeping your running form in check, she suggests practicing taking photos on one of your long runs before the race. "If you can't do it alone on a run, it's probably not going to work when you are surrounded by people during a race."

Lastly, some runners may wonder how to keep their selfies looking cute when they're sweat-drenched and exhausted. Aside from making sure to take a photo at the beginning of the race before you get too red-faced, there's not much you can do about it. "Just smile!" says Beal. "The point of the photo is to capture the feeling. You might not look awesome but if you capture your emotion in the photo that's all you need for it to be a great photo!" It's true. Running a marathon isn't really about looking pretty, it's about proving to yourself that your body can do something incredible. So snap that sweaty selfie and own it.

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