In the past, the only way to find a runner community was at local running events on a Saturday. Those communities are still there, but if you are shy or a little socially awkward (aren’t runners universally known for being that way? :p) that is not your only option anymore.
You can follow social media accounts for runners through individuals like myself or through an online running community like the Running for Real Superstars.
A runner friendly community will give you a place to keep up with runners news, join in with discussions on runner topics, have the support and guidance from other runners (both experienced and beginners), and so much more.
Making friends can be really fun, I gave some tips for what I do to make new friends before I had Bailey, but it can also be quite tiring and stressful. Meeting new people is almost like dating, you have to figure out if you actually have anything in common and whether you will get on. When you have had a tough day at work, your brain is fried, and you are just wanting to flop onto the couch for the evening, that can be a big ask.
Is it so wrong to want to be at home sometimes?
That is where finding the best running forum can be a great place to get a lot of answers quickly, but unfortunately a lot of those places are also full of trolls, people who are ready and waiting to say nasty things they would NEVER say in person, and that is the downside of using your phone or computer.
That is where Running for Real really comes into it’s own as the best running community out there as you get the best of everything…other than the obvious face to face interaction with runners, but that is where race day or workout day comes in. You can talk to those people and meet those people also, but it doesn’t have to be your only source of runner friendship.
Here’s another reason:
We are told conflicting advice.
Appearance doesn’t matter, it’s whats inside that counts, let your true beauty shine through, but yet, appearances definitely seem to have a hand in how our lives turn out, what opportunities we are presented with, and even research backs that up.
In the past, there was no escaping the way you looked. You DID get a first impression of someone when you met them, and good or bad, that was set, and they would have to work to change your opinion.
Nowadays, the internet can essentially remove that first impression, and within a community, like the running for real superstars, this can be a wonderful thing.
Not that anyone in my community would be the kind to intentionally judge others, a kind and considerate group who truly are so genuine and supportive towards each and every person, but at the end of the day, we all make snap judgements as humans, and we cannot control that.
Every morning, I log into my facebook community, and I comment on as many posts in there as I can. Not because I feel I have to, I know the people in there do not expect anything from me, or expect me to hit a certain quota of comments, they know I set this place up, and that I care. If I didn’t comment, I wouldn’t feel bad, as 10, 20 or even more people would still comment regardless of whether I did anything or not.
I comment in there because I want to, because I am genuinely happy for or want to help the individuals in there.
It is funny how things have changed. That first impression is gone within places like this. You might see a name pop up you havent seen before. Then you might see that same name a few more times. Before you know it, you find yourself wondering about how they got on with their race this weekend, whether they managed to get some sleep after moving, what the ice cream they were going to try tasted like, you CARE about them. Maybe you even go out of your way to meet up at the expo if you are at the same event.
Eventually, if they post something degrading about themselves, showing their vulnerability, maybe even sharing something they would never share with anyone else, even their family and closest friends, you feel genuinely sad for them, you want to make them feel better, remind them that they are a good person and they are enough.
It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you are from, how much money you have, how old you are, or what you do, being in a community, even an online one, surrounds you with wonderful people who care about you because of who you are. You become comfortable enough to tease them as you know who they are and their personality.
You might not even meet most of them, ever. Maybe, like me, you don’t even click on their profile picture and have no idea what they look like until they happen to share a photo.
You smile to yourself as you see a photo of them, putting a face to the wonderful person you have come to know.
I know that seems creepy and absolutely crazy. Family and friends wonder if you are even talking to a real person? Is this a stalker?
Well, of course there is always that risk, but you could go your entire lives without meeting anyone in the community in person, but just being a part of a community, finding a team, a club, a group, a home where you can be totally yourself, sharing the good and the bad is something so special.
Sometimes, we all just need a friend (or 50) to encourage us through those tough moments. I strongly believe the Running for Real Superstars community is that place, and if you are looking for an online community to be a part of, this is it.
I have found my tribe, do you have yours?