I'd like to think of myself as a friendly runner, but, like most runners, I'll sometimes get into a zone and completely ignore others around me, whether on a treadmill or a local trail. But interacting with other runners and sharing that special running bond can give you a motivation boost. Here's how to send out some friendly runner vibes:
Greet runners you pass.
Whether you make a funny or encouraging comment or just want to wave, initiating contact with another runner will make both of you feel good and improve your mood. And you don't have to just limit your greetings to runners -- say hello to the dog walkers, kids on bikes, mail carriers, or anyone else you happen to pass.
Join a running club.
One of the best ways to meet other runners and really feel like you're part of a running community is to join a local running club. Ask your local running shop for suggestions or check out the Road Runners Club of America to find running clubs in your area.
Also see: How to Find Local Running Clubs
Lose the headphones.
If you’re running with a group, nothing says, "Don't talk to me" more than wearing headphones. You're making a wise move by running with others, so don’t counteract that by sending out signals that you want to be left alone while you listen to your running music. Save your running songs for your lonely, boring treadmill runs.
Also see: Can I Wear Headphones in a Race?
Mentor a new runner.
If you're already a part of a running club, be welcoming to new members and offer them some advice. If they see the running club as being cliquey and exclusive, they may get turned off and decide not to come back. Or, if a family member or friend shows interest in running, encourage them and share your tips for how you first got started. It's important to remember that we were all once new runners and had someone help us learn more about the sport.
Visit an online running forum.
Forums on running websites, like the forum on this site, are a great place to meet very knowledgeable and friendly runners willing to share advice and exchange running stories. Stop by, and don't just be a lurker -- join the conversation! You'll get some great tips about running, as well as a motivation boost. Checking in with other runners and knowing they're expecting to hear from you will help keep you on track with your workouts.
Talk to other runners at races.
Are you one of those runners who gets to the starting line right before the gun goes off and then dashes to your car right after your cross the finish line? Then you’re missing out on a lot of the fun at race. Most races have some kind of post-race activity, whether it's awards, raffles, or free food and drinks. It’s a great chance to mingle with other runners, and talk about the course and how you did. Talking with other runners about your race and future races is a great way to maintain your motivation to keep running.
Also see: How to Find Local Races
Thank race volunteers.
If you've ever volunteered to hand out water at an aid station during a race, you know how nice it is when you hear "thanks" from a passing runner. Be nice to the race volunteers, and be extra nice to them if the weather conditions are less than ideal. Even if you're too tired to say thanks, a smile or a wave is a very nice gesture that will also be appreciated.
Also see: Road Racing Etiquette Tips