From the Archives: Mostly the Miles are Just Boring

As a reminder, I am on vacation this week and planning to be ‘mostly offline’ – so I scheduled a few post ‘reruns’ from the very early days of the blog (when I had very few readers)! This one was originally posted here.

Back when I started this blog I was conflicted – I was planning to talk about running and ‘healthy living’, but wasn’t planning a hardcore running or foodie blog. At the time the blogs I most enjoyed were ones written by runners with more to discuss than just running. That caused me to reflect a bit. Here we go!

Run Route 10-19-13

Check out the route I ran on Saturday – it was ~12.25 miles, making it the 2nd longest I have run in nearly a month due to tapering and recovering from the Wineglass Marathon. I was happy with the pace as well, especially since I took a hilly route, and the wind was already blowing and the rain started coming down heavy and I looked like a drowned rat by the time I was done. The wind was crazy – I ran facing every possible direction and yet felt the wind was constantly bashing me around!

I posted my post-run picture on Instagram and had some interest in terms of people ‘liking’ it and sharing some comments either there, Twitter or Facebook. That is really cool – I love sharing stuff and getting feedback, just like I enjoy seeing stuff other people post.

However, I try not to share EVERY run, and never post full running summaries and so on – I even know some people who de-friend others who post too many ‘daily workouts’, along with too many motivational pictures, political or religious rants, and so on. It gets overwhelming pretty quickly – and isn’t very interesting for non-runners.

Here is one of those dirty secrets about running blogs: nobody who reads them is very interested in dry daily run logs. Not even other runners … heck, probably not even the person writing the blog! Some folks feel the need to include them because they think ‘it is a running blog’; others include them with other material or as part of a ‘weekly summary’; some people started doing things that way and probably just do it without thinking.

When I read my favorite running blogs, it is seldom specifically for the running. I mean, I like hearing how they are doing with their running – but always in service of a specific goal. Are they training for their first marathon? I want to hear how they are feeling with increased mileage. A PR (personal record)? Tell me how the speed work is going. An injury? Definitely want to hear about coping skills and be there to drop in a supportive comment (especially with what Lisa is dealing with now).

It is also fun to read about the non-running side of things, how runners with non-running spouses and families deal with things – or more precisely, how other normal people deal with us runners! And just seeing the three-dimensional views of a wide variety of people. We all share a passion for a sport, so it is interesting to see what else we share. As of now I have yet to find fans of Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and Mary Halvorson in my running blog travels!

The reasons WHY nobody cares about that stuff are actually fairly simple: most of the joy and benefit of running is very personal and doesn’t translate well into a daily blog entry. Here is an example:

Last week the weather was pretty uniformly nice and a bit warm. The mornings were clear, and I was happy to get out in the darkness, put my feet one in front of the other, focus on my breathing and strides, see the occasional bunny or squirrel and even a skunk, clear my head and work my muscles, and get home to be greeted at the door by a sleek black cat ready for 2nd breakfast as I head in to wake the kids up to get ready for school.

And that is the week – I ended up with 52 miles, and by the end of the week I had none of the residual tighness in my calf from the marathon, and was starting to think about my upcoming half-marathon. That isn’t too bad to read in bulk, but doesn’t make for an exciting daily read!

So perhaps it isn’t completely true that the miles are boring – because for me they are a continuous source of joy, elation and satisfaction …

19 thoughts on “From the Archives: Mostly the Miles are Just Boring

  1. I am enjoying these posts from your archives and I hope you are enjoying your vacation. πŸ™‚ The other day, I wrote a recap of sorts about the first six weeks of my training plan, just talking about general take-aways as opposed to week-by-week, run-by-run recaps. As I mentioned in that post, I stopped doing weekly recaps because I was even bored writing them! I agree that it is easier and more interesting to read a “bulk” summary of the running for the week than a day-by-day breakdown. There are a few people whose weekly summaries I do like to read, but I generally skip over things like exact paces. I don’t care that much how your third 800 was more difficult because of a headwind on the back straight, but you pulled through anyway and wow you were only 2 seconds off your pace, and Garmin splits from an easy run are absolutely meaningless.

    Can’t wait to see what other archived posts you dig up! Maybe I will go back and read some of your older posts if I get bored… πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Rach – and I agree, that it is much more about the stories for me than the mechanics. I mean, for me it is about trying to describe that feeling when it has been bitter cold for weeks and suddenly you have a day where it is sunny and breaks 40, or whatever … or how you deal with life or love or injury or whatever …

  2. This is great and I am loving the archives! I have had the exact same feelings while starting out my blog. I went in blindly a month out from boston and had a lot to say about what I was feeling. Now? I’m like does anyone really want to hear I ran another 6 easy miles and cursed the summer heat the whole time? I could have written this entire thing. How do you feel about it now that you’ve been blogging longer?

    • I think I have found a better groove, and I like to keep doing the weekly summaries if for no other reason than to keep myself accountable and keep track of things.

      As for how to approach things – on the one hand EVERYONE is feeling these things, and I think it was Lisa (Running out of wine) who talked about the ‘cycles of commiseration’ that everyone seems to be going through almost regardless of location (but mostly in ‘seasonal’ zones) – we dealt with harsh winter, rejoiced and many raced in spring, complained about heat and humidity, and then suddenly people were either getting injured or burned out.

      There is a sense of community – because it is important to know we’re not along … otherwise for some it can either (a) be a defeating feeling that everyone else is doing great and you’re not or (b) get up your competitive side (not that I know any bloggers who are competitive) and lead to overtraining and injury.

  3. I’m enjoying catching up on old stuff as much as the other ladies πŸ™‚ I like what you said about being interested in specific parts of training rather than a log as a whole. I agree…it’s kind of boring to just see what someone ran in a week, but I do like to hear how they felt or attacked certain days. Those are the things that humanize the blogger for me, and I like to hear it. Plus, I’m nosy, so the more you share about your training and other parts of your life, the more likely I am to go back πŸ˜‰

    • haha – thanks Caitlin! I think we are all a bit nosy, love to hear what is going on with everyone else. That is why some of these ‘day in the life’ posts can be really cool, just a look inside how someone else lives.

  4. This is so true! All the numbers and stats included in those posts mean absolutely nothing to me so I just skim right over all that. Some people do have interesting recaps of their runs, especially when they reflect and talk about more personal things. I agree, though, that all my favorite running blogs are the ones that talk about more than just each run they go on.

    • Exactly! And I so agree – there are a couple of blogs I follow who DO run logs, but they are never ‘dry’, they have loads of personal info and details that make it all worth reading!

  5. The human side of the stories / recaps is what draws me in, both as a reader and writer. One exception for me was during marathon taper. During the last 2 weeks of taper I scoured the Internet for every little story and tidbit I could get my hands on. On a normal day, I’d skim right past someone’s recounting of the minutiae of runs, but taper insanity made me absorb that like a sponge.

    I find that often with blogging, some days and some posts you connect with, others….less so. Some of it comes from what the writer put into the article and some of it comes from where you are that day.

    • All so true – I find that with recipe posts, as well. Some days I am very interested, others I just breeze through. Unless there is a story … I am always up for a good story.

  6. Very interesting post. I agree with you, I don’t really enjoy dry workout posts. I mean, I like to look for ideas, but mostly I enjoy getting to know the blogger through other non-fitness unrelated things. I also love learning from others, so any sharing of experience is much appreciated πŸ™‚ Enjoy the rest of your vacation! xoxo

  7. I always feel inclined to recap my weekly totals at some point in the 10 days before a marathon, but I 100% recognize that it’s for my own benefit. Usually it’s reassuring to see that I’ve had 10 weeks of miles in the 40s, 4 weeks in the 30s, 4 in the 50s, 1 in the 60s, etc. Somehow, I’m worried that with Portland this year, it’s going to have the opposite effect — I’ll see 10 weeks in the 30s, 4 in the 20s, 4 in the 40s, and I’m going to panic in recognizing that I’m not well-prepared. Oh well, I have 14 weeks left to make something happen!

    • haha – hopefully you won’t stress! But even then it is in context – you are doing it as part of race prep, which is different than doing it as a self-sufficient entity.

  8. I’ve thought about this topic alot, as well! While I wouldn’t want to read a recap of each individual run on a daily basis, I do enjoy the occasional summaries of a long run or hard workout , mostly because I can usually relate. I like to recap my workouts so that I can look back on them, but I also enjoy seeing other people’s weekly summaries (especially if they are training for something similar to me).

    • Definitely agree – it again comes back to relatable stories … we all have ups and downs, and hearing someone else talk about it makes it feel better when we go through it!

  9. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude – Day #20, Another Year of 3000+ Running Miles | Running Around the Bend

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