Join the Online Running Community

Getting Started

Blogging

Two of the biggest blog hosts are Wordpress (wordpress.com) and Blogger (blogger.com), and both allow you to set up a blog for free. Wordpress has a variety of display options, so it's easy to personalise the way your site looks and operates, and you can set up an 'About me' page, an archive of your posts or even an automated stream of your tweets.

Blogger is owned by Google, so if you have a Google account already, setting up a blog here might be a great way to keep everything in one place - your emails, calendar and your new blog, too. Once you've joined the Wordpress or Blogger community, your blog could be featured on their homepage, in a list of sports blogs and on the 'latest posts' list that other members see.

Social Networks

Twitter (twitter.com) is deceptively simple at first glance, but it's an extremely powerful tool. It's not just for telling everyone what you had for lunch. Setting up an account takes seconds, and once you're logged in you can connect with runners around the world or just your clubmates - it's up to you.
 
You may already have a Facebook (facebook.com) account. If you don't, it's easy to get started - just click 'sign up' on the homepage and fill in the form. If you have a smartphone, look out for mobile versions of your favourite social media sites - Twitter and Facebook both have slick apps. You'll also find an array of other running apps.

Find the Right Community For You

Blog

For long-term projects, setting up a blog is a great way to chart your transformation. Pick a couple of significant details - such as mileage, PBs or your weight - to log in each post. After a few months you'll be able to look back over your old posts and be amazed by your progress.

Facebook

So many people are on Facebook, so it's a great way to corral support or build a community. You could set up a group for your running club, and use the events function to plan runs. You could set up a group for your London Marathon supporters, to organise cheering points or plan who's making the signs. If you're fundraising, you can use the site to give out your online donations link.

Twitter

This is a great way of feeling part of the running community. If your motivation has dipped, send a tweet before you go for a run. Once you've done this, there's no wriggling out of it! If you're on holiday or working away from home, use it to find out who's about for a run, or what the best routes in the area are.

In 'twitterverse', everything has a hashtag. These are search terms preceded by a hash sign - just pop the right hashtag in a tweet and you'll find what you're after while filtering out all the Justin Bieber chatter.

Popular running hashtags:

#running
#londonmarathon
#gnr or #greatnorthrun
#greatsouthrun or #gsr
#ironman

Remember!

Be safe If you're going for a long run and leaving your house empty, keep it quiet on Facebook or Twitter to avoid a visit from burglars. If you're meeting people you don't know for a run, then meet in a public place and tell someone where you're going.

Picture credit: Don Bishop/ Getty Images

Track Down Your Running Heroes

Many elites use Twitter to log their training - take a tip from them or be wowed by their times:

@usainbolt
Olympic and World Championships 100m and 200m world record holder

@girlwhatruns

British marathon runner, Olympian and Commonwealth bronze medallist Liz Yelling

@J_Ennis
World Championships gold medal-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis

@OscarPistorius
South African Paralympic 100m, 200m and 400m sprinter

Picture credit: GREG WOOD/ AFP/ Getty Images

Some of RW's Online Friends...

Neil Lock, 26, website developer, London
Own site: neillock.co.uk
Recommended site: Marathontalk podcast marathontalk.com

Joanna Sayers, 42, writer and blogger, Rutland
Own site: joannasayers.com
Recommended site: Ultra-running blog marvellousmimi.com

Bryon Powell, 32, running coach and writer, California, US
Own site: irunfar.com
Recommended site: Trail and fell running site mudsweatandtears.co.uk

Tim Navin-Jones, 32, business school marketing manager, London
Own site: city-runners-club.co.uk
Recommended site: Route mapper and planner mapmyrun.com


Picture credit: Oscar Scotellaro/ Getty Images