Need Some Inspiration? Here are 8 Runners to Follow on Social Media
The other day, I just didn’t feel like going for my run.
The conditions were perfect—it was 65 degrees with a light breeze. I had a full hour before my daughter’s baseball game started and a beautiful park in which to run. An easy 4-miler was on the schedule, so it’s not as though I was dreading some draining speed workout. I just didn’t have the motivation to get started.
So I dawdled in my car while my daughter’s team warmed up, the minutes ticking down toward her game. Dawdling these days means heading to social media, and luckily that’s what I did this day, because almost immediately I put down my phone, plugged in my earbuds, and took off on that 4-miler.
What did I spy that prompted my immediate about-face?
It was a Twitter post from @RunMeb, Meb Keflezighi, America’s most beloved marathoner (or at least my most-beloved). He tweeted a photo of him crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon three years before, when he won the 2014 race in the wake of the previous year’s tragic bombings.
His arms were spread in triumph, and he’d written above the photo, “This moment three years ago changed my life!”
Well. I took a moment to “like” the photo, along with 1,300 others before me, and I realized I was pretty darn lucky to have the opportunity to run on this amazing day. Meb had delivered a huge dose of motivation.
Meb isn’t the only one I follow on social media to keep me inspired on my runs. I’ve developed a list of runners over the years, from pros to decided amateurs, who keep me laughing, nodding or even tearing up at times. I use them to help me stay on course when I need extra assistance, and I think you’ll find them pretty inspirational as well.
Here are my 8 favorite runners to follow on social media, in no particular order … well, except Meb being first. Because, duh, he’s the best.
Meb Keflezighi (@RunMeb)
The winner of the New York Marathon, Boston Marathon and a silver medal in the Olympics posts frequently on Twitter. He’s gracious and tweets a lot of “thank yous” to fans, followers and races that host him, but my favorite posts from Meb are the ones about past marathons or his current training.
Sometimes social media serves as a wakeup call, too. Once I read that he “treated himself” after a 20-plus-mile run … to a fun-size Snickers. I realized perhaps I was treating myself a little too much after my long runs since that’s barely a warm-up reward for me.
Lauren Fleshman (@LaurenFleshman)
Fleshman is a former pro runner whose approach to social media can best be described as “keeping it real.” She tweets about the less-glamorous aspects of being a pro athlete. She famously posted photos of herself at a runway show shortly after having a baby that looked very different from the utterly perfect photos that were “officially” released from the event. That sort of perspective is welcome when you have a cruddy running day, as we all do. It’s a reminder that even the best can struggle.
Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete (@NoMeatAthlete)
I’m not vegan, but I’ve dabbled with giving up dairy and meat, so I love reading blogs by vegan runners. No Meat Athlete is one of the best, because it’s so well-rounded—Frazier addresses lifestyle matters as well as nutrition ones, and it’s inspiring to hear from someone who had to work hard to qualify for Boston. He’s also funny and doesn’t take himself too seriously, a trait I admire in all runners.
Dimity McDowell of Another Mother Runner (@dimityontherun)
Dimity is one half of the duo behind Another Mother Runner, another great blog. Unlike many bloggers, Dim (I feel like I know her from listening to the AMR podcast all these years) and partner Sarah Bowen Shea are professional writers, and they spin beautifully composed blog posts that meld running and emotions and insight. Dimity’s battle with depression offers a relatable touchpoint for many runners, me included, and I gain inspiration when she tweets about tackling a new challenge, whether it’s completing a triathlon or running up Pikes Peak.
Ted Spiker (@ProfSpiker)
Not everyone is fast. Ted Spiker, Runner’s World’s Big Guy columnist and everyman runner, gave voice to many of us back-of-the-packers when he started his Sub-30 Club five years ago, with the aim of finally breaking 30 minutes in the 5K. I loved following Ted’s journey on Twitter as he neared and ultimately surpassed his goal, and thinking about his triumph helped me push harder on my runs, whatever my personal goal.
Mirna Valerio (@TheMirnavator)
You probably read the story about Mirna in Runner’s World a couple years ago. She’s a self-described Fat Girl Running (no disrespect, that’s the name of her blog), and she’s awesome. She’s one of those people who you just know you’d be friends with in real life. I enjoy reading this teacher’s thoughts about her students and (the lack of) diversity in running.
Runners Be Like … (@RunnersBe)
Sometimes you just have to laugh at a hobby where chafing and smugness are two equaling unappealing side effects. This Instagram feed features hysterical memes that will get you chortling even after a long run where you had stomach woes. To me, the runner’s equivalent of a “yo momma” joke is “how I look in race photos,” and RunnersBe has never let me down on one of those.
Scott Jurek (@scottjurek)
I follow this legendary ultra runner on Instagram largely for the incredible pictures. I love seeing the trails where he runs (for way longer than I can). From deserts to lush tropical paradises to his infamous Appalachian Trail record chase, he always has photos with scenery I can drool over. It makes my less-scenic runs seem a little dull in comparison – but I also kind of love the view of my daughter’s baseball team while I run, too, so I have no complaints.
Do you have a favorite Insta or Twitter runner? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.