As much as you love to run, on some mornings, drinking coffee and scrolling through your Instagram feed sounds way more appealing. Or is that just me? Anyway, I’ve found that peppering my feed with other runners (instead of tasty dessert creations) provides just the inspirational boost I need to lace up and get out the door.
Some are professional runners who have achieved huge success, while others are age-groupers and everyday runners who inspire others with their humor, hard work and honesty. Next time you scroll through Insta while enduring your rush-hour commute (as long as you aren’t driving), let the energy of these runners lift you up on your quest to become a better runner.
Click on each Instagram image in the gallery below to learn more about how each runner is unique.
Michael Wardian is unique for how often he races and his globetrotting adventures. Once you start to follow along, his exploits will sound somewhat mind-boggling, especially when you realize he is married, has children and also maintains a full-time job. This is the account I go to when I just don’t feel like running. If Mike can do it, you can at least take the first step out the door.
Forget #vanlife, Mo Sjögren travels about the country living and running out of her trusty Jeep. She posts stunning images and heartfelt reflections of her mountain running adventures, and also does some yoga and writing along the way.
In March, Rickey Gates began his Transamericana run from South Carolina to California and he’s been posting amazing images and commentary the entire time. While his trip is coming to an end, the posts remain. If you ever need inspiration to get out the door, Gates’ images will make you want to lace up and give in to your running wanderlust.
Alexi Pappas is fast, funny and rocks a mean bun on the run. Pappas shares everything from runs in inspiring places to her breakfast omelet and training, and somehow manages to make physical therapy entertaining.
Meb is one of America’s most accomplished runners and the only runner in the world ever to win the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon and also earn an Olympic medal (silver, 2004 Olympic marathon). He doesn’t post too often, but I plan to follow him in his lead-up to his final competitive race at the 2017 New York City Marathon.
Chicago-area native Kimberly Strom wasn’t a runner until she and her husband moved to Europe five years ago. Now she’s an accomplished mountain runner who helps guide and photograph runners on Run the Alps tour groups.
Kelly Roberts used to hate running, but one Thanksgiving she decided to lace up and liked how much stronger she felt after the struggle of running down the street. She’s become a voice of honesty and energetic positivity for everyday runners and those who may not feel like they “look or feel like” a runner. She also made headlines in 2014 after taking selfies of herself with hot guys throughout the New York City Half Marathon. You can learn more by following her blog and podcast, both named Run, Selfie, Repeat.
Knox Robinson is a running evangelist, coach and blogger, not to mention a former collegiate runner and founder of the Black Roses NYC run crew. He’s cool, fit, funny and authentic, all reasons that he’s become so influential on social media.
Ultrarunning legend Scott Jurek doesn’t race as much as he used to but he still runs almost every day and posts inspiring shots about what he’s getting up to.
Kilian Jornet is part trail runner, part mountaineer, a mix that has helped him set speedy records on some of the world’s greatest mountains and trails—including Mount Everest this year. The young Spanish runner posts amazing, drool-worthy photos almost every day.
Joe Grant is an accomplished ultrarunner and endurance cyclist. He’s also creating a stylish and creative vibe with his Alpine Works Instagram posts. In 2015, he posted an original photo every day and later turned the project into The Little Book of Square, an artsy and inspiring paperback that highlighted 52 of his favorite images of the year.
The National Run Concierge for Westin Hotels (yes, that’s a real job), Chris Heuisler posts about the running life, his travels, people he meets on the run and his family. And most of it’s pretty funny. Not only does he score colorful interviews with professional runners, he has no qualms with making fun of himself, pranking his siblings (and documenting it) and he can usually be found wearing a yellow sweatband—ironically, but so much so that you have to take him seriously. Basically, he’s the guy everyone wants to have in his or her running group.
Joe Gray is one of the most successful runners in the U.S., having won 11 U.S. championships and the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships. He’s also an avid gardener and thought leader on many heady topics.
What’s not to love about snippets from the life of America’s sweetheart runner? Her feed includes pictures of her family, favorite meals, plenty of running, rehab, shout outs to Oiselle, throwback competition images and posts about her annual Podium Retreats (anyone can sign up!).
When it comes to running and life, Michelle Gonzalez works hard and kicks ass. She has a full-time job, is mom to two and still finds time to clock 3:07 marathons and 1:26 half marathons. Oh, she was also in the military, with three deployments to Iraq. Gonzalez believes in getting up early to log her miles and has probably put more time in on her treadmill than many of us have on the street. Her no-nonsense approach—do the work and get the results—as well as observations on balancing expectations and reality, is refreshing.
Sarah Wassner Flynn is a mother to three, freelance writer, runner and two-time Team USA triathlete. Her posts are full of sweat-drenched smiles, her adorable kids and photographic evidence that you really can “have it all” if you work hard at it.
Elinor Fish used to be managing editor at Trail Runner magazine. Now she is a running and wellness coach and also leads Run Wild Retreats, a travel company that features run-centric, restorative vacations around the world. She often hosts free workshops (both online and in person) and regularly talks about how running should bring you energy, not weigh you down.
Even though she earned a bronze medal in the steeplechase at the 2016 Olympics, Emma Coburn is still a rising star on the track. She posts inspiring images from her travels around the world on the IAAF Diamond League track circuit.
He’s been the fastest man in the world for years, so you’re probably just a little curious about what he has to say, right? Posts include plenty of hamming it up, his passion for music, cars and soccer, plus pictures of Bolt doing what he does best and the hard work it takes to make it happen.
Dorothy Beal serves up inspiring images, casual thoughts and motivational messages from her Mileposts and #irunthisbody social media platforms, and she’s not afraid to tackle tough topics, including body image.
You know that friend who always fits more in a day than you? Well, that’s Robyn Arzon, and she puts everyone to shame. However, the athletic lifestyle goddess does so with such joyful, sweat-soaked swagger that you can’t help but be inspired. When the former lawyer isn’t teaching classes at Peloton Cycle, she pounds the pavement around NYC with friends and family. Oh, she also looks like she’s ready for a fashion photo shoot at all times (down to a perfect, sweat proof cat eye) and doesn’t let Type 1 Diabetes slow her roll.