Running, as a sport, can feel like a solitary endeavor. So much of it involves getting out of bed early or dragging yourself off the couch after work, putting on headphones and zoning out. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you want — to have a few peaceful moments to yourself. But other times, especially when you’re competing against your personal bests or fighting through a routine that’s starting to feel monotonous, you long for a community to keep you feeling hyped.
Sure, you can find a running group to bring you a little fellowship, but we all lead busy lives. You simply don’t always have the time to commit to a 7 pm run in a park across town. Fortunately for all of us, the internet is here to fill any “Inspiration Gap” — just by scrolling through our phones in the morning. And there are about a million awesome Instagram accounts that will get you itching to hit the pavement.
“But no!” you bellow from your desk, while eating a ham sandwich, “I don’t have time to look through all of them. I need the MOST inspiring accounts!”
Fear not, friend. We’ve compiled a list of the most inspiring, very best runners on Instagram right now to follow. These runners will make you want to run so much that you’ll wish you had a time machine to go back and inspire a younger you to run with the same passion you now feel.
Seriously, get ready to lace ’em up.
Pappas combines a lot of Instagram “loves” in one package: inspirational messages, beautiful locations, and a general artistic aesthetic that will have you longing to live as much like her as you can. And the variety of her Instagram is just a mirrored reflection of her ‘Renaissance woman’ life. She’s an Olympic runner, but if that’s not enough, she also makes movies, acts, and takes time to travel, read, and savor the finer things in life.
Her quotes are original, often funny, and a constant call to arms to better yourself while believing you can do anything with hard work. Every runner will feel refreshed and inspired by her message.
Noah Droddy is undoubtedly cool. He has long hair, an awesome mustache, and wears a backward cap with colorful sunglasses in this way that feels like he invented wearing them. He’s absolutely the kind of chill, casual runner that will get you inspired to get out there no matter your level. And also, start drinking more PBRs. They’re cheap!
Except, he’s not as casual as he appears. He’s a crazy, good runner. Droddy made it to the Olympic trials in 2016, and while he didn’t have his best run that day, his style got him noticed. He’s part of a running team in Boulder that he describes as a hipster lifestyle with tough training. He works hard while being unique and positive, and his entire Instagram is definitive proof that you can be an elite runner while still being cool AF.
One doesn’t negate the other, you know?
Here’s what’s awesome about Alison Desir: Literally everything. She’s honest, encouraging, and combines running with a strong drive for social change. She’s also an advocate for mental health and is breaking through stigmas by being open about her own depression. And because, she says, running saved her life when she was in danger of succumbing to her depression and a sleeping pill addiction, she started a running group in Harlem to engage the community and help others improve their lives through the sport. In 2017, Desir made national headlines when she organized a 250-mile long relay race from Harlem to D.C. for the Women’s March. In the process, she raised over $100,000 for Planned Parenthood.
Accomplishments aside, her Instagram is worth following because it’s filled with…happiness. It’s brimming over with excitement for running and nuggets of inspiration about how to strive to better oneself and also, the world around us. Desir’s Instagram will give you the feeling that you’re going on this amazing journey with her and you just can’t wait to see what happens next. Plus, it really makes you want to go for a run.
Morgan Sjogren travels around the most beautiful parks in the country living out of her awesome, yellow jeep, sleeping under the stars, and of course, running. She’s an elite runner, but in her spare time, she wrote the book on Bears Ear National Monument hikes (she’s a huge advocate for public lands), loves beer, and lives a life full of absolute adventure.
Looking for inspiration? Sjorgen’s Instagram is filled with gorgeous pictures of her running, hiking, climbing, and staring out, dreamily, into the middle distance at all of the majesty the natural world has to offer. She won’t just make you want to run through our nation’s parks and public lands, Sjogren will make you want to give all your possessions away and wander the open road.
No one is more positive when you need running inspiration than Dorothy Beal. Her hashtag #Ihavearunnersbody has runners all over sharing their running pictures (flattering or otherwise) with confidence. She proves that runners come in all shapes and sizes. And showcasing diversity in running is important to her (which makes the account pretty great).
What makes Beal’s Instagram especially charming is the genuine joy she takes in championing other’s runs. She seems just as happy to watch others achieve their dreams as she does her own, and that kind of spirit will have every runner remembering to turn their focus outwards and support their fellow runners.
In 2017, Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon — breaking a 40-year dry streak of American women winning that marathon. She breaks records left and right. She’s an Olympic medalist, and even though she’s pretty much a God that walks amongst men, she’s completely gracious and humble.
The Olympic medalist’s Instagram account is filled with inspirational thoughts and personal stories that will make you tear up, helpful tips and recipes to up your running game, and a whole lot of motivation to get yourself moving.
This former lawyer and now, ultramarathoner, lives life to the fullest with the kind of joy and confident swagger that we all wish we could embody. Her Instagram is full of words to believe in and courage to get through any challenge.
Arzon reminds everyone to hustle harder, slay in their training, and trust in just how much our bodies are capable of.
And her abs are insane #goals so….there’s that.
Look, sometimes the inspiration you need to run comes from knowing it will make you healthier, that you’re powerful and capable and you can do anything. And sometimes that inspiration comes from the giant dinosaur that has escaped some sort of Jurrasic Park type situation and will almost certainly eat you alive if you stop running for even one second. Whatever works, man.
Carlos’ whimsical insta account has him photoshopping all sorts of hilarious and fantastical creatures/events into his races, and it’s sometimes the light-hearted approach you need to get through your next run.
Sarah Atter’s Instagram isn’t just full of beautiful posts about being a runner, it’s filled with adventure, mountain climbing, epic nature shots, and all around gorgeous photography. The two time Olympian’s zen pics will put you in a serene meditative place to start your day with a run. And the absolute majesty of nature will make you feel one with your body and the universe.
If your running has inspired you to become an all-around healthier you, you’re going to need some healthy food porn to get you motivated to cook the good stuff.
A runner herself, chef and food blogger Lottie Bildirici has an Instagram account (Running On Veggies) where she creates and shares recipes specifically to fuel your body for runs. Her food looks amazing and it’s all plant-based. She makes eating healthy look just as good as going to town on the entire appetizer menu at the Cheesecake Factory (Or at least tied).