Running/Fitness Twitter Chats – Join The Conversation!

25 Sep

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!  Last week, Bart Yasso announced that he would be hosting another #BartChat on Twitter this week!  Woot!  Even more exciting is that he has asked me to help moderate!  Excited? You bet I am!  If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know how much I love running/fitness chats.  Since I am unable to spend hours and hours running like I used to (at least for the next few weeks!), I enjoy spending the extra time I do have connecting with runners online, trading stories, sharing experiences, and participating in Twitter chats.  People who are new to Twitter or even still learning about it often ask me about these chats, so here is the run-down (no pun intended!).

“What IS a chat?”
“So, how does it work?”
“How do I know what to say?”

What is a Twitter chat?
One of my favorite things about Twitter is the immediate interaction you get with people as passionate about your hobby/lifestyle as you are.  A Twitter chat is like one big instantaneous group text where participants can share ideas and opinions, back and forth, in real-time…all in 140 characters or less.  Twitter chats are most often hosted on a particular day and at a particular time each week, and the chat moderators/hosts are generally responsible for determining the chat topic and/or preparing questions for the participants to answer.  Once the chat gets started, participants are encouraged to interact not only with the moderator/host, but also with the other participants, offering valuable information and contributing to the topic.  The benefit of a Twitter chat is that it allows all users from all over the world to interact instantaneously, as opposed to the delayed response from other sites (like facebook status updates or forum posts).  Twitter chats help you expand your social network and help you find other people interested in the same things that you are!  As you can imagine, my favorite Twitter chats to participate in are those that revolve around running, triathlons, and general fitness.

How do I follow a Twitter chat?
In order to follow a Twitter chat, you will need to know the hashtag.  I will explain each one a bit more specifically below, but the hashtags for chats I follow are #runchat, #BartChat,#trichat, #fitblog, and #fitstudio.  There are a few different ways to follow a Twitter chat.

Personally, I use two windows logged into my account.  On my first (left) window, I have my account on the @Mentions page.  On my second (right) window, I have my Search page with the hashtag actively searching.  I do this so that if someone specifically directs a comment towards me, it will show up on the first window (where I can respond from there), while I can keep the hashtag feed rolling along in the second (right) window.  Smaller chats may not require as much back-and-forth action, but larger chats, like #runchat and #BartChat, often involve a large number of participants and move relatively quickly.

Some people find my system cumbersome, and I realize that it is not for everyone.  If this seems to be too much for you, you can use a Twitter chat platform like TweetChat, TweetGrid, HootSuite or TweetDeck to help you manage the conversation.  TweetChat is probably the simplest of the three and would be the one I would recommend the most.  It is very straight forward and is not confusing at all.

As a courtesy to my followers, I will often make a quick announcement (Tweet) that I am about to join in on a chat.  My purpose for this is two-fold.  On one hand it gives me that chance to apologize in advance if my rapid-fire tweets (conversation) junk up their timelines.  On the other hand, it also gives me the chance to encourage those who follow me to join me if they are curious about the chat or what we are talking about!  As with most things, the more the merrier and I love it when new people join in on chats!  If you are concerned that you will be Tweeting too much, your followers are always welcome to use a site like Muuter where they can literally put you and your Tweets on “mute” for a particular amount of time.  Feel free to send out a Tweet suggesting this if you feel it necessary.

Now you are ready to get chatting, right?  RIGHT!  Here are a few chats you might be interested in…

#runchat (Running)
#runchat happens on the second and fourth Sundays of every month at 8:00PM EST.  It is hosted by @RunningBecause (David) and @iRunnerBlog (Scott).  The topics encompass all things running and David and Scott encourage runners of all levels to join in the conversation!  This is a chat for runners, by runners.  These chats are often sponsored by gear companies who will offer a great prize to a random participant. FUN!  One time I won a sampler pack of GU Energy gels!  For more information about it, be sure and check out their website and facebook page!

#BartChat (Running)
#BartChat is hosted by Bart Yasso (@BartYasso), the CRO of Runner’s World. While this chat does not have a regular day/time, it is always announced well ahead of time (and often retweeted by other runners) so it is not likely you would miss it.  But just to be sure, go ahead and follow @BartYasso so you make sure you are always in the know!  Bart’s topics run the gamut but are often focused on distance race training.  Dubbed the “Mayor of Running,” Bart has run in more than 1,000 competitive races during his nearly 30 years with Runner’s World magazine.  His years of running and experience truly offer a wealth of information and many runners find his tips on training and his chats extremely helpful!

**The next #BartChat is Tuesday, September 27 at 12:00PM EST and I will be helping moderate.  So excited about this!  Be sure and join us!**

#trichat (Triathlon)
#trichat happens on alternating Sundays from #runchat, being held on the first and third Sundays of the month.  It is hosted by myself and @JoeVukson.  #trichat is geared to wannabe triathletes, newbies, and seasoned Ironman competitors alike.  Topics range from training to gear to transition tips and beyond.  This is a new chat, having only been held a few times, but the number of participants is definitely growing!  If you are a triathlete or if you are just interested in the sport of triathlon, I encourage you to come by and chat with us!  Oh, and we are also on facebook, so drop by and show some love!

#fitblog (Fitness)
#fitblog chat is held every Tuesday night at 9:00PM EST.  It was created and originally moderated by @katywidrick, but now has a different moderator/host each week.  #fitblog chat is focused on fitness and health but also sometimes covers ways to increase readership to your fitness blog or how to monetize it.  This chat begins by having each participant introduce himself/herself and list the name of his/her blog.  Having a blog is certainly not a requirement, so please do not let it deter you from joining in!  The easiest way to join this chat is to go to their official website!

#fitstudio (Fitness)
#fitstudio chat goes down on Wednesday nights at 8:30PM EST.  #fitstudio chat is brought to you by Sears @fitstudio but has different moderators/hosts each week.  These chats focus on sharing ways to stay motivating, maintain overall fitness goals, and maintain proper nutrition while on a training plan.  This is a great chat if you are having trouble staying motivated and need some encouragement to keep pursuing your fitness goals.

If you are not a Twitter chatter, I highly encourage you to give it a try.  If you are nervous or a little shy, at least check out the hashtags and see what people are talking about.  If it looks interesting to you, try lurking for a chat or two just to get comfortable.  Lots of people do that to “get their feet wet” and get the hang of how chats work.  When you are ready, hop in and start chatting!

Do you participate in Twitter chats?  Why or why not?  Do you follow any running/fitness hashtags on Twitter? 

14 Responses to “Running/Fitness Twitter Chats – Join The Conversation!”

  1. David H. September 26, 2011 at 8:39 AM #

    Thanks for the #runchat shout-out and for participating! Have fun moderating the #BartChat

    • katieRUNSthis September 26, 2011 at 9:06 AM #

      Oh, I love #runchat! Like I said, since I can’t run as hard or as fast right now, chatting with other runners has really helped me stay motivated for when I make my big return!!

  2. Sasha September 26, 2011 at 9:03 AM #

    I’m a wannabe twitter chatter :). I’ve been trying to tune into #fitblog for months, but was always stymied by kidlets’ bedtimes, and now Tues/Thurs are my swim nights! Gah! But glad to hear about #fitstudio, will check it out! Thanks!

  3. Scott September 26, 2011 at 9:28 AM #

    Thanks for the shout out! Glad you are enjoying #runchat!

  4. Andrea September 26, 2011 at 9:30 AM #

    Hi Katie- I’m also just starting #womensrunning on 3rd Thursdays of the month 6-7 pm PST Let me know if you want any info. Thanks and great post. @TRPrunner

    • katieRUNSthis September 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM #

      Great! I’ll update my post in just a few to include this new chat! I’ll be sure and drop in on it!! Yay!

  5. Lisa (Mom to Marathon) September 26, 2011 at 9:34 AM #

    thank you for this post! I sometimes lurk and follow the #runchat. I guess you just paste the hashtag every time? I worry that I couldn’t type fast enough. I might give it a try! You made it a bit more accessible.

    • katieRUNSthis September 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM #

      You can do that, but if you are worried about trying to keep up, check out the site TweetChat. It makes following along pretty easy. I tried it out for the first time last night with #runchat and found it to be a fun way to stay in the Twitter chat! If you have any questions, just ask!

  6. Stacy September 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM #

    It’s not about running specifically, but #healthylife is about wellness and health in general. =) Every other Thursday at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern!

  7. Christine (@FruitNSeason) September 26, 2011 at 11:55 AM #

    Great post! I’m going to try the 2 windows way of doing it. I think that will be better for me. Thanks!

  8. Tara Burner September 26, 2011 at 12:44 PM #

    I’m usually in fitblog, runchat (when I remember the right sunday) and fitstudio 🙂

  9. Heidi September 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM #

    Wow – thanks for putting all of these great chats in one place. I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in a few of them and I always love it when I get the chance. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. You are going to kill it tomorrow! I’ll try to jump is as long as work doesn’t catch me 🙂

  10. Stephanie September 26, 2011 at 3:38 PM #

    Thanks so much for this. I really did not fully understand this. So I don’t think i will be on the chat tomorrow which makes me sad but I really want to ask a question. can you ask it maybe for me if idon’t get back in time?

  11. thejimburnett May 9, 2012 at 12:53 PM #

    Been on #runchat sense they started. Good stuff. I need to start making those twitter meetings more. Calendar time!

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