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Let’s face it—these days, it’s impossible to do almost anything without involving social media, and running is no exception. From following your favorite elites on Twitter to scheduling workouts with your running group on Facebook, there are countless ways social media can give you an athletic advantage. No, that doesn’t mean you should start carrying your phone on every run just to take the perfect selfie (#accidentwaitingtohappen), but involving your friends and followers in your workouts does give you an edge. Read on to see how social media can make you an Insta-amazing runner.
It keeps you motivated
Unless you’re superhuman, you have days or even weeks when you just don’t feel like running. When you need an extra boost to get off the couch, post a status asking your friends or followers for motivation; you’re guaranteed to get several responses right away and will find the inspiration to lace up. You can also browse the workout pictures from a runner you admire for instant incentive, or scroll through Pinterest boards with funny running memes or encouraging slogans to put you in the right frame of mind.
It offers immediate answers
There are tons of helpful resources for runners, from books to magazines to blogs. But in our crazy busy lives, sometimes we need a new treadmill workout or post-run dinner idea rightnow. Enter social media—with a couple swipes of your smartphone you can pull up the feed of any of athlete or coach and get all the ideas you could want. You can even follow your favorite food brands to get fresh ideas for whatever meal you want to make.
It gives you reality checks
Following your fave elite runners is clearly a fantastic way to improve the quality of your workouts. But keeping up with “regular” runners is just as, if not more, beneficial. Try following the people behind your favorite running blogs or members of your running group to get an inside look at how your fellow everyday runners train. Sure, you might pick up some tips for speed work or get a new recipe for your morning oatmeal, but you’re also likely to see those runners post about failures or disappointments you can really relate to. It can be easy to get caught up in the record-breaking times and crazy success of the big-time runners, so having the reality check of real-world runners is so important.
It inspires you to cross-train
Even if you’ve got your running game down, chances are you could use a little help in the cross-training department. You may know the basics of the weight room or take the occasional yoga class, but to keep things fresh and well-rounded, turn to social media to get a host of new ideas. Follow your local gym to keep up with new classes, scroll through pictures of your favorite fitness stars, or browse strength-training Pinterest boards (yes, they exist). You’ll have so many ideas and no more excuses to skip your cross-training.
It helps you find friends
If you don’t love running alone, social media is the fastest and easiest way to hook up with a local running group or find your running buddy soulmate. Sites like meetup.com or joggingbuddy.com can help you find a new pal to work out with in your area. If you prefer to stay virtual, you can track your times and compare it to those of fellow GPS watch users on the device’s website, or check out the stats of local runners on athlinks.com. Whether you’re looking for someone to gossip with on your Saturday run or just find runners with similar training plans to evaluate your results, social media can help you find that special someone.
It lets you celebrate your accomplishments
If you ever hesitate to post a sweaty selfie after a great run for fear of not looking your best, don’t! Yeah, your face is red and you’re dripping with sweat, but you’re also positively glowing from an awesome workout. If everyone else is posting pictures of their kids and new jobs and graduations, why shouldn’t you capture and share a moment you’re proud of? So run hard, snap a pic, and post it with pride—the sweatier, the better!
It holds you accountable
We all start out with the best intentions when it comes to our workout routines. But we’re all also susceptible to laziness, sleepiness, TV marathons—all the things that make us want to throw that routine out the window. To keep yourself on track, get into the habit of Tweeting about your runs, Instagramming pics of your workouts or posting the mileage stats from your fitness app to Facebook. Declaring your commitment to fitness will keep you accountable, and the positive feedback you’re certain to get will give you a little extra pep in your step.