Running has lots of great benefits
, but one area that some runners overlook or don't really take advantage of is the social aspect. Although running can certainly be an individual sport, running with a partner or a group is a great way to boost your motivation and socialize with others. If you tend to run by yourself, here are some ways you can meet other runners and expand your social circle:
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2. Do a relay race.
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Relay races, such as the Ragnar Relay Series
, are popping up all over the U.S. The idea is that a team of runners break up a long-distance race with each of them running one or more legs of it. Much of the time is spent traveling with and supporting/cheering on your teammates during their legs, so there's a lot of socializing and bonding with your team. If you don't know enough interested runners to organize your own team, check out the Facebook pages or websites of local running clubs and look for messages from teams looking for additional members for upcoming relays.
3. Volunteer at a race.
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at a race is a great way to give back to the running community and meet others who share your love of running. You never know -- the person standing next to you at the water stop could be your future running partner, or perhaps even more. (I know plenty of runners who have met their significant other through running
.) Added bonuses are the appreciation you'll get from the race participants and motivation you'll feel from watching them race. To get involved, check with your local running club to see if they need volunteers for upcoming races. Or, pick a race that you've run in the past and check the race website to find out about volunteer opportunities.
Also see: How to Find Romance Through Running
4. Find a charity team.
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If you'd like to train with a group and also want to fundraise for a worthy cause, see if you can find a charity running team in your area. Many charity teams cover your race expenses and some offer weekly group training in exchange for your fundraising. Training with a group and traveling with the team is a great way to get to know some new runners.
Also see: Charity Running Teams
5. Participate in online running forums and blogs.
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Getting involved with community forums on running websites, like the forum on this site
, or reading and commenting on running blogs are a great way place to meet knowledgeable and friendly runners willing to share advice and exchange running stories. Visit frequently, and don't just be a lurker -- join the conversation! You'll sure to learn some new running tips, and get a motivation boost, too. Checking in with other runners and knowing they're expecting to hear from you will help keep you on track with your training.
Also see: How to Be a Friendly Runner