Running and sharing the running experience probably goes all the way back to caveman days. When I first got bitten by the running bug talking about running with other runners was a big part of the allure. It made me feel like I was part of a secret society. All of a sudden there were all these people to talk to that shared the passion for running. I found myself at parties talking about shoes, a new Under Armour shirt, what the next race would be, and on and on. This was before I ever thought there might be others like me online looking for others that felt the way I did.
It turns out there are tons of us out there, and I think it is only the beginning. I started to realize this when I began using Nike+. The tool itself is not very accurate, but it shows how many runners are out there trying to connect.
Next, I started communicating with other runners on Facebook. The Facebook runners were an extension of people I had already had contact with in the real world. It just made it easier to stay up to date with what was going on with their running and running events.
Facebook lead to twitter. I originally thought I would be using twitter to talk to other designers and share coding tips, psd tutorials and other work related topics. As I started using twitter more I started tweeting about running more and more. I started being followed by runners and I started following more runners. All of a sudden I was talking to runners I had never met. Currently, I have regular dialogue with with @britishbulldog and @andyo22 two runners that I have no cantact with outside the virtual world. They are much faster runners than me. In the real world these guys and I would probably never talk because of the vast difference in our pace, online I benefit from their help and motivation. Each day that goes buy on twitter I meet more and more runners with all different paces and running goals.
I forget how I found out about dailymile.com. It is a great extension to following runners I have met on twitter. I love it for the sharing training. You see peoples good days and peoples not so good days. It is a great way to see how your training compares to others. I feel connected to their runs. When someone I only know online does well in a race or run, I feel as good for them as I would for a friend I run with in the real world.
The big take away from all the sharing I have done with runners online is that runners as a whole are supportive, caring, and well, they are good people. Maybe we can’t run the same roads, but we all seem to be running the same path.