W-Clifton-6-2BlogThe social component of running can be a major motivator.

Maybe you’re used to major race events, a regular gym schedule with trainer sessions, or a running group. Maybe you’ve just started running and have found that an absence of community or competition has prevented you from lacing up your shoes and getting out there.

With the number of adjustments, we’ve all had to make recently, finding new ways to socialize around running might not seem like a high priority.

But since regular exercise plays an important role in promoting physical, mental and emotional health, anything you can do to keep your running routine more engaging will help.

Here are some options you might want to consider.

Try a Run Tracker App with a Social Component

As we’ve discovered in many other areas of our lives, the high-tech route is a convenient way to keep in touch. Video conferencing and call apps have become the new norm for connecting with friends and relatives and sharing on social media feels more vital than ever. So, it’s no surprise that run tracking apps with a social component have also become increasingly popular.

We’re fans of Strava, a free running and cycling app with several cool features that can help you connect with communities or private groups of runners. The app lets you search for clubs or even individual runners to connect with. Once you’re connected, you can share route details, including distances and speeds.

Create or Join Digital Running Groups

Run tracking apps aren’t the only way to join local runner communities. You can use the same social media apps you’re already used to.

Facebook groups, Slack, Google Hangouts, What’s App, Discord, or any messaging app of your preference are all options for joining or building a community of people with a common interest. Running fits, the bill perfectly.

Once you have a mechanism set up for sharing, you can pass along whatever messages your group most enjoys – tips, encouragement, or, if you and your friends prefer – a little playful trash talk.

Of course, if you do download the Strava app, you’re in great shape for building or joining a runner community – this feature is built in. After downloading the Strava app and creating a user profile, you can create or join “Clubs” to connect with other athletes. If you want to get your regular running club involved, you can invite specific contacts. Or if you want to join an existing club, you can search for active local groups or large associations with an open enrollment.

There are even a few official HOKA ONE ONE Strava Clubs for you to join – worldwide.

M-Mach-32BlogTurn Up the Heat on the Competition

If a sense of competition is really what gets you going, get creative with your preferred mode of communication. It doesn’t even have to be high-tech – a good old-fashioned phone tree could do the trick.

Organize a group plan around goal setting, establish a leaderboard, or even organize a virtual, asynchronous (safety first) “race.”

You can mix and match these ideas with the social communication method of your choice. For example, Strava has several gamification features to explore, and tracks routes and times in case the honor system isn’t enough of a motivator for you.

Commit to Virtual Runner Rituals

We don’t blame you for missing the blissfully accomplished feel of the finish line. Or the pre-race pasta dinner. Or any number of routines that used to go hand in hand with being a runner.

That’s why we recommend finding ways to build these rituals into your new approach.

Instead of a finish line, agree in advance to only compare your running group’s weekly results in a simultaneous unveiling over your favorite video chat app. Host a “digital carb load” conference call the night before your group plans a longer run or brick workout.

You could even take a video of yourself cleaning your shoes after a rainy run. Day to day runner’s rituals like these might not seem like glamorous social media content but posting it could get an interesting discussion going.

Plus, anything that reminds people of normalcy could feel welcome. After all, everybody’s adjusting.

Good luck, and happy running.