As I have previously mentioned, I am a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to running.
I like to go at my pace, where I want and when I want. I don’t mind running with others and enjoy a good parkrun but it tends to be the minority.
Funnily enough, this doesn’t make it particularly easy to meet new people especially those of the long-distance running persuasion.
So thank the stars that I am alive and relatively well (blisters) in 2015, a time of unheralded information at your fingertips thanks to something called the world wide web.
As with all technologies, it has its issues but it can be, when used properly, an amazing source of advice and inspiration. And cat pictures.
At first, I thought this was just a natty hashtag on Twitter to gain more followers but then after dropping the hashtag in a couple of tweets asking for advice, I realised it was so much more.
Unknown to me, here was community of friendly, supportive running enthusiasts who nearly always provide the information I was after no matter what time, day or night.
It is like your very own running Wikipedia or maybe a better version of Yahoo answers without the sarcasm.
The #UKRunChat collective are also brilliant for motivating and inspiring those of every level to get involved.
UK Ultra Runners
While looking for tips and meaningful athletic advice on Facebook usually results in gentle mocking and wisecracks from my friends, I have actually found a diamond in the rough.
With over 3,700 members, the topics range from upcoming races and kit advice to blog links and videos.
My personal highlight was asking for advice on shorts to wear for a 100k run to which 2015 Marathon Des Sables female winner Elisabet Barnes and 24 hour running World Championship Bronze medal winner Robbie Britton both got involved.
I can’t think of another sport where two such highly regarded athletes would look to help out a super amateur like me.
This was one of the original reasons I began writing a blog, simply a New Year’s resolution to write and run every day for the 31 days of January.
Aside from getting me to actually do both of those things, it introduced me to some great new people who, unsurprisingly, have similar tastes in hobbies and sports!
They’re all really encouraging about my stuff and it gives me a window to other people’s worlds via their blogs and struggles with mileage or wordcounts.
The creators of the group, Christine and Matt Frazier are also experts in their own fields so you can get tips or writing prompts from Christine while Matt is great for diet and running.
Although not just aimed at running, Instagram provides such a wealth of positivity that I cannot help but be motivated or inspired by looking at people running all over the world.
The fact that they have all been filtered and probably do not bear any relation to the actual running experience also means that everyone is having a good run, even if only in the picture.
Instagram is like Facebook but with all the grumbling taken out – nobody posts a “I’m stuck in traffic” status or at least it is slightly easier to avoid it.
I’ve also found someone else doing the London2Brighton and it’s interesting to watch his training and progress alongside mine.
He has done much more training than me but it always gives me something to aim for and hopefully he’ll be able to drag me up the hills!
Any more I should look up? Or time to make friends in real life??