How to take a Good Running Selfie

tips for taking a good running selfie

I take a lot of “selfies” on the run. You may have noticed.  Do you want to know how to take a good running selfie?

running selfie Chicago sears tower

I was initially inspired by Xaarlin. Her posts included some great selfies, along the Lakefront Trail and/or with her pup. And since my runs for the past couple years have been slower (for me), it’s been much easier to stop for a selfie break!

running selfie Chicago sears tower

I really like the Sears Tower, eh?

running selfie Chicago sears tower

Anywho, if you want to try a mid-run selfie, here are my tips!

Put down your phone to get a good shot

Taking an actual selfie while running very rarely turns out well. It’s an awkward angle and likely shakey.

Find a “tripod”

I don’t have an actual tripod and I don’t even use those little phone, uh, pogs that you stick on the back of your phone that pop out. But, to get a good shot, you need to prop your phone against something. The closer you can get to eye-level, the better. Once in awhile, I’ll find a fence or a ledge, but typically I prop the phone against a tree or light pole, and it’s often at ground level. Or I’ll use my handheld water bottle as my “tripod.”

handheld Nathan water bottle

Beware of the wind

Sometimes it’s too windy and I can’t find a good spot to prop my phone without it blowing over – so be careful it doesn’t accidentally blow into the lake or river or it could fall and get damaged or who knows what. If you don’t have an Otterbox case, get one!

Find an interesting background 

As much as I think y’all love looking at me, it’s the background that makes the shot 🙂

running selfie Chicago sailboats harbor

Notice the light

You want the sun/light source behind the camera, facing your subject. Otherwise it’s backlit and shadowy, see:

running selfie Chicago River

If at first you fail, try again

And again and again. I usually don’t nail it on the first shot. But this can be challenging in the winter when your phone dies if it gets too cold.

Practice Makes Perfect

I’ve been taking running selfies for a while now. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. None of my first few attempts are including in this post, if that’s any indication of how these have improved.

Run fast

If you have trouble hitting a good (photogenic) stride, speed up so you’re blurry and the background is the focus. This is also how your selfies will turn out if it’s dark outside, no matter your pace.

running selfie Chicago river

Be safe

If it’s wet, icy, or there is traffic (car, bike, etc), proceed with caution! It’s OK to actually fake running in order to not risk faceplanting or breaking something. The Lakefront Trail is a great place to get a selfie, but between ice, wet surfaces, potholes, uneven terrain, and parts that slope down toward the water, it can also be a very risky place for a selfie. BE CAREFUL. No shot, no matter how amazing, is worth risking your safety or risking an expensive phone.

Chicago Lakefront Trail ice running selfie

Don’t get robbed

No matter where you live, always pay attention to your surroundings and try to minimize risk that your phone will get snatched while taking a selfie. This usually means waiting until there aren’t many people around, specifically, there aren’t any people who will be closer to my phone than me at any point. It might mean standing around, waiting for someone to go past, or, stopping short and running back to your phone if someone seemingly comes out of nowhere. Who cares if you look stupid, most people probably aren’t paying attention, and even if they are, won’t remember.

Check yourself

A bonus benefit of multiple run selfies are various angles – I can check my stride. Try taking video of yourself too.

running selfie Chicago river

Have fun

Yes, it can be narcissistic, and does the world care what you look like when you run? Who cares? Does the world really care about 99% of what is posted on Instagram?


Do you ever take selfies on the run? Any tips? 


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5 Comments on “How to take a Good Running Selfie”

  1. Oooh I’ve never thought of the run fast trick! I’m going to try that next time! These are great tips – I was just thinking I need to up my run shot game.

  2. Woah, that ice shot – amazing. I love these tips, I feel like my selfie game is really inconsistent and based more on luck than anything else. Thanks for helping me uplevel. 😉

  3. Great tips! I need to try some of them out. I really want to get a shot of me running with my dog and last time my husband and I were out we tried, but both of our phones died 🙁
    Next time I’ll use these tips!

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