Running and blogging started simultaneously for me almost four years ago and opened up a whole new world. I’ve absolutely loved being a runner blogger but admittedly when I first started out, I didn’t realise how much work was involved in both running and blogging. A few people have asked how I come up with content and also how I balance running and blogging with everything else in my life, so I thought it would be fun to write a Behind The Scenes post on what’s actually involved. Fellow bloggers will probably relate to a lot of what I say, those who don’t blog may be surprised by some stuff and others might even be inspired to start blogging!
Creating and Planning Content. My aim has always been to put out content that is honest, interesting and can motivate or inspire others to start or maintain a running lifestyle. When I started, I mostly documented my weekly training and race recaps. As I gained more experience, I felt more confident to share key lessons. But how do I plan it all? At the start of each year, I design a content calendar where I jot down possible topics as well as publishing dates. This is a flexible calendar, subject to change as things crop up in my life or globally. So, for example, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, some of my planned topics were no longer appropriate and most of my scheduled race recaps had to be thrown out. I then had to come up with topics that were relevant to the current situation such as how to keep kids active while in lockdown and what I miss about outdoor running, topics I never would have dreamt of! Thinking about what to write is a continuous process and I’m always scribbling ideas in my diary, usually when stuck in traffic.
Writing, Writing, Writing! Once I have topics or ideas, the next step is writing. What governs my writing is a desire to always be authentic. I want people to hear my voice, appreciate my experiences and understand my feelings. I openly celebrate my achievements but I also express when I’m struggling. Being vulnerable is not always easy but I find it’s that vulnerability that often encourages or helps someone out there. I also try to be creative – so with my race recaps for example, I use different formats or emphasise different aspects of a race just so they don’t end up sounding too similar. There’s usually a lot of mad writing at the start as the ideas flow, followed by lots of chopping and changing until I’m happy with it. As I work full time, writing is usually during my lunch breaks, in the evenings or over the weekends. It can be exhausting but I’ve found it to be really fulfilling and also a break from other areas of my life.
Getting The Shot. This is a huge part of blogging for me as I love including colourful photos in my posts. I don’t usually have a specific photo planned but I’m always looking for different photo opportunities. So when my husband runs with me, we usually stop for a few moments when we come across something interesting and have fun shooting different angles. However, there are times after I’ve written a blog post where I will have a very specific photo in mind and that’s when we will schedule a time to get it done. That’s when I also pay more attention to what I’m wearing to make sure it matches the surroundings I have in mind. We’ve had so much fun doing this even if my most commonly used phrase is “You didn’t get the shot!” I’ve just had another blog idea – getting my husband to write about what it’s like being married to a runner blogger!
Selecting Photos And Publishing. Once I have all the photos, the next step of course is choosing which one to use, putting my stamp on it and then deciding where to place it on the post. Sometimes when I have writer’s block, looking through the photos helps me to write. So for some posts, I’ve actually uploaded all the photos first and then writing has followed that process. When I feel a post is ready, I take a short break from it and then read it over again usually to my husband and kids. Although my husband sometimes suggests a few changes, he is never as harsh as my 6 year old son who once told me, “This is the worst bedtime story ever!!” You can’t please everyone! With all that done, it’s time to publish!
Managing Social Media. Once published, I use various platforms to share it. Most, if not all, my posts are shared on link-ups hosted by runner bloggers – the Weekly Rundown, Tuesday Topics and the Runners’ Roundup. These link-ups connect various runner bloggers and as part of this I’ve met the most wonderful and supportive runners from around the world. We’ve never met but I genuinely consider them to be friends as I know their husbands’ names, how many kids they have and even their dogs’ or cats’ names! Linking up has been a great way for me to learn from others and has also enabled me to support others when I can. I also share my blog posts on Facebook and Instagram. In between blog posts, I use social media to share some of my runs, motivational messages and inspirational quotes as well as to celebrate special days. I’ve found there are some people who don’t have time to read blogs so this has been a great way to connect with them. Managing social media, reading and commenting on other blogs takes a bit of time too but it’s something I enjoy and I usually find time during the day to get it done.
I Can’t Stop Running! Finally, there is the actual running! Without running, there is no blogging! So blogging has helped to keep me running on those days I don’t feel like it. Races used to be great as I’d always have a reason to run and something to write about! This year has been a lot more challenging and to keep running as well as blogging, I’ve done a lot of virtual challenges such as The Un-Cancelled Project, I’ve gone on hiking expeditions, and I’ve organised fun events like my 10K Time Trial, 9×9 Spring Challenge and fun trail run in Mokolodi Nature Reserve with a few of my friends to celebrate the first ever Global Trail Running Day. So in a nutshell, blogging keeps my running exciting and running keeps my blog going. I’m trapped guys!
I hope you enjoyed this little peek behind the scenes. There is a lot of thinking, planning, writing and running that goes on. But I love it. I get to write which is what I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve made incredible connections with people around the world, I’ve explored new places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise and I’ve become a runner in the process. I say that’s a win all round!
If you’re a runner blogger, is there anything else you do behind the scenes? Do you find blogging keeps you running and seeking fun challenges? If you’re not a blogger, are you surprised by what actually happens behind the scenes?
I’m joining two amazing runners, Kim from Running on the Fly and Deborah from Confessions from a Mother Runner for their link up, the “Weekly Run Down”. Hop on over to their blogs and others, and be inspired!