10 (or 11) Topics Every Runner & Running Blogger Should Know About

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One of the most wonderful aspects of the information age is the ease with which obscure and/or random bits of information can be obtained by any user.

Thanks to high-speed connections and powerful search engines, you can transform yourself from a complete ingénue to a relative expert on any given topic within a matter of seconds. Even when the subject matter lacks gravitas, it’s always nice to know what the heck others around you are talking about.

Fab.jpgFor example, my favorite radio station changed formats this summer, and added rap music to its alt-rock mix. I heard lots of unfamiliar terms and phrases—but with a few quick Google searches, I learned what stunner shades are, and why Federation and E-40 like to wear them at night. I also know what Mistah F.A.B. means when he sings about ghost riding the whip. (Like I said, it doesn’t have to be important stuff—sometimes it’s just nice to know.) Now I can discuss the San Francisco hyphy scene with all my homies.

In the Internet era, there’s no reason to be uninformed about anything. This concept applies to running and blogging as well—and that’s where you come in.

You’re probably reading this article for one of two reasons: 1) You’re a running blogger checking out other like-minded writers, or 2) you’re a runner looking for opinions, advice, or inspiration in your own training.

Either way, you have a responsibility to know what other writers are talking about. And today, I’m here to help.

Over the past few days, I put together some topics that I frequently encounter in my travels through the blogosphere. I narrowed the list down to ten, and then—just because I’m that type of guy—I decided to throw in one extra (see if you can guess which one). I’ve even done most of the work for you: instead of putting the topics into your own search engine, just click on the links. As Chandler would say on “Friends”: could it be any easier?

So if you are truly interested in running or blogging, you owe it to yourself to be familiar with the following subjects:

  1. Boston qualifying times. This is the Holy Grail for many marathon runners. Some work for years to attain it, while others never come close despite their best efforts. “Have you run Boston?” has historically been a defining question for any marathoner. You should know exactly what’s entailed for someone to answer “Yes.”
  2. Yassoo 800s. So how do all of those people try to qualify for Boston? By adding this workout to their regular training mix. I’ve found this theory to be wildly unpredictable, but many runners swear by its precision. Whether it’s predictive or not, it’s still a darn good workout.
  3. Jeff Galloway method. This man is almost single-handedly responsible for the boom in marathon runners over the past 10 years. His claims are somewhat overstated, but he has successfully opened doors that once seemed tightly locked to novice athletes. Most beginner training programs or clinics incorporate his theory in their coaching.
  4. Pace calculators. Runners use these to estimate how fast they are capable of running a particular distance, or to determine the proper speeds for training runs. Calculators provide some guidance for novice runners, but many veterans find them unreliable.
  5. Dean Karnazes. You may never run an ultra. You’ll certainly never run as far as Dean has. But if you want insight into the mind of an ultramarathoner, check out his Web site or read his book. Karnazes is a polarizing figure within the ultra community, as his sometimes blatant self-promotion has popularized a sport that had been happily flying under the radar for many years. But he inspires many people to test the waters of ultrarunning—it’s hard to see how that’s a bad thing.
  6. Team in Training. The group that revolutionized marathons—for better or worse—and raises millions of dollars to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma. Their model has been duplicated several times over by countless charity groups. It has also lead to some controversy, such as…
  7. Jean’s Marines. An example of why many runners despise non-profit groups: they take up precious slots at sold-out, high-profile marathons, then they pull stunts like this. Read the story, and the subsequent fallout.
  8. Beyonce videos. OK, this doesn’t have anything to do with running, but, um … I really like Beyonce. And if you ever visit my blog, you need to know that.
  9. Meb Keflezhigi. The face of American marathoning. The fact that he didn’t become a poster boy after the Athens Olympics speaks to many larger issues. Meb is a litmus test for many fans—how they feel about him is indicative of what they consider a “real American” runner to be. This guy deserves way more dap than he’s been given since 2004.
  10. message board. To feel the pulse of the running community, find a good forum or message board. LetsRun has one of the biggest around. Some of the people can be rude, offensive, and have way too much time on their hands—but it makes for interesting reading sometimes.
  11. Hanson’s Team. The best example of teams that devote money and coaching to develop our top post-collegiate athletes. Five Americans placed in the top 10 at Boston this year; this team approach is the reason why American distance running is on the rise.

OK then. You’re all set. Spend some time with this list, and read up on what your fellow runners are reading and writing about.

And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I’ll be the guy chillin’ in Cali, watching Beyonce videos with my stunner shades on.

About Donald

A protégé of Dr. Dre, Donald emerged on the blog scene as one of the most unusual writers to ever grace the genre. Using questionable wit and mediocre skills to ramble about everything from his childhood to a compulsive fascination with popular culture, he became the biggest crossover success since Eminem emerged from Eight Mile. Born on the hard streets of Inglewood, CA, Donald began writing blog posts in his basement, and gradually won over larger audiences by becoming a battle blogger against hip-hop MCs in underground clubs. His meteoric rise to success proved too much to handle, however, and Donald cancelled a planned US tour due “exhaustion.” He entered rehab to battle his Diet Pepsi dependency, then resurfaced on the Monterey Peninsula, where he lives with a wife and three kids. Having shunned the big city and the media spotlight, he now runs and blogs on his own terms, and he has finally found happiness.

  1. Don on September 11th at 8:27 am

    Get stoopid, go dummy retarded mayne. Man, I am not the only one with Bay Area Rap on my Ipod, as i ride the yellow bus and pop my colla, on my run.

  2. Adeel on September 11th at 9:49 am

    1-3 should have been LetsRun. The site has gotten a little less silly lately, but the off-topic threads on that board were golden (breaking up with a girl via PowerPoint).

    On a serious note, Yasso 800s are not the workout that they’re cracked up to be. I think most people would be running them between 3k and 5k pace, which is not a very important workout for a 42-kilometre race. A ten-mile run at marathon pace is a much better predictor.

  3. Soozan on September 11th at 10:42 am

    Our iPods must have the exact same songs on them – Beyonce so rocks.

    Galloway got me through my first marathon 2 years ago. It was six hours of hell – but I did finish.

  4. 21stCenturyMom on September 11th at 10:54 am

    Yassos rule! Bart Yasso tested them with runners of all speeds and if you do them right (and that is key – you have to do them properly) they really can get you to the finish line of your marathon on time.

    As for LetsRun…. how much time do you people have to play on the internet 😉

  5. Perry on September 11th at 9:45 pm

    You should really include Runner’s World. It is really the premier magazine devoted to runners.

    And don’t forget joggling…it’s the sport of the future. 🙂