How New Runners Can Engage With the Running Community

As a new runner, it's easy to feel alone. You've made big changes in your life and left your old, comfortable lifestyle behind to become a runner. Changes you've made could include finding running routes and times to run that suit your schedule and are safe. They might mean purchasing a gym membership and figuring out an intimidating treadmill display, and the corresponding etiquette for training indoors. Whatever path you are on, it's full of new challenges. But rest assured, you are not alone.

Every morning, there are countless people in your town waking up early to get in that morning workout. More people than you thought possible are running at lunch—however short that might be—to keep their fitness up. And even more are stopping at the gym on the way home to get that last-chance workout done.

Point is: As a new runner, you are not alone. You have joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands of runners. It's a fantastic, fun community, and your commitment to run is only the first step.

You've laced up those shoes and started running, but now it's time for you to start doing some social outreach to ensure that running becomes more than just what you do—it becomes part of who you are.

More: 27 Ways to Run Better Every Day

Here are some tips for how to connect with the broader running community to make your exercise more fun and effective.

But I'm A Newbie ? I'm Too Slow ? I Don't Know What I'm Doing ...

Excuses abound; there are plenty of reasons why you might feel like you shouldn't reach out to others. But let's not forget that every runner was once a beginner like you, and someone helped them out.

Almost every runner is happy to pay it forward, whether it's sharing advice, routes or race recommendations. They might even join you for one of your runs.

Finding running friends is critical because, as a new runner, you are trying to focus on doing everything right, yet you have almost zero information. You want to get the best possible shoes, train the right way, avoid all those bad injuries you hear about, lose that nagging weight, and not look like a crazy person out there.

More: Running to Lose Weight

At the same time, you are being bombarded with tons of information. Articles, Facebook posts, tweets, books, podcasts and much more are all full of information and coming at you 24/7.

An experienced runner can do more than just run with you. He or she can help guide you through all of this, and help find the best path for you. You can tap into the lessons that person learned, and do a markedly better job of finding the right thing to do.

It's a process of trial and error for everyone, but doing this with others will make the transition to becoming a consistent runner—and a better runner—that much easier.

More: 8 Tips to Overcome Embarrassment of Running in Public

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