A couple of weeks ago, I fell into the rabbit hole also known as Get Off My Internets (GOMI). For those who aren’t familiar, it’s snark-central for the entire blogosphere. I forgot why I went there in the first place, but I ended up perusing the running blog forums and finding this question posed: “What are you looking for in a running blog?” Most replies suggested that readers were looking for blogs that are:
- inspirational — i.e., the blogger is fast and/or or hard-working and/or juggling a lot of responsibilities with running
- about running, training, race recaps (i.e., not too many posts about non-running topics)
What they have little patience for:
- paid product reviews; related: ambassadorships
- multi-part race or relay recaps
- too many posts per day/week
- too many photos of: froyo, kids, dogs, selfies
This, of course, got me to thinking about my own yay/nay list. What do I look for in a blog? Well, most blogs I read have these things in common:
- well written
- bloggers who are interested in creating discussion and forming relationships through his/her blog, usually through responding to comments, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
What rubs me the wrong way?
- endless drama. I know we all go through rough patches, but some people just never seem to catch a break, EVER. I don’t need to surround myself with negative people IRL or online.
- grammar and spelling mistakes. The Gypsy Runner doesn’t call me the Grammar Nazi for no reason!
- too many stock photos. Yes, they can work very well and I’ve seen a few GIF-filled posts that I’ve LOL’d at, but some people use photos as a crutch of lackluster content.
- empty comments. Sometimes I read through a blog post, get to the end, and wonder if the people commenting even read the post. This is especially true on the popular blogs, where there’s a bunch of blogger worship along the lines of, “Oh, you’re so fast/pretty/funny/awesome! I want to try that [insert product/race/recipe that was in the post]!” On some of the blogs I follow, I occasionally learn just as much from the other commenters as I do from the blog post itself.
- it’s all about the blogger. Yes, blogging is a narcissistic hobby, but a little humility goes a long way. Extreme vanity (e.g., too many selfies) or going on and on about boring topics without any consideration for your audience are all signs of narcissism that I have absolutely no interest in.
In writing this post, I realized that the question of “What do you look for in a running blog” ends up being a Rorschach test of sorts. All of the things I listed in the pro side are things I strive for myself as a blogger. I also really hope that I’ve steered clear of the pet peeves! What about you — What do you look for in a running blog? What are some blogging deal breakers?
Oakland Marathon – week 2 of 7 (with links to dailymile recaps):
Tues: “Strength” workout – 3 x 2 mile @ 9:30/mile (19:00 per interval), with 800 m recovery. Interval splits: 18:50, 18:50,18:55.
8.3 miles @ 9:45/mile.
Wed: Easy run + 7x Cleveland Cascade. Also did planks, clamshells, bridges and a few sun salutes.
3.4 miles (no Garmin = no pace)
Thurs: 6 miles @ marathon pace/effort, with warm-up and cool-down. My mile splits: 9:48, 10:03, 9:44, 9:44, 9:49, 9:48 (average 9:49).
7 miles @ 9:55/mile.
Fri: Long trail run at Redwood Regional. I had planned to run 14 miles, but ended up cutting the run short due to foot pain.
9.6 miles @ 12:42/mile, 1150′ elevation gain
Total: 28.3 miles. With plans to go away Friday to Sunday, I decided to cram all of my runs into 4 days. Since I hardly ever run more than 2 days in a row, I knew I would be pushing the envelope with 4 straight days of running. Indeed, it appears to have caught up to me Friday morning with a sudden onset of foot pain an hour into my run. With next week’s Chabot 30K, I really wanted to log 3 hours on the trails, not to mention the fact that I was hoping to finally reach 30 miles per week… but common sense prevailed, reminding me that there would be no Chabot 30K or Oakland Marathon with a bum foot. I took Saturday and Sunday completely off (well, I did a very easy 1.6 mile hike on Sunday). The plan is to be extra cautious this week, whether that means cutting mileage, slowing down the pace, or downgrading from the 30K to the half marathon on Saturday. The good news is that I went on a short run today and there wasn’t any foot pain. Yay!
To be honest, I’m just a tad worried about my long run fitness going into the Oakland Marathon. I haven’t run more than 2.5 hours in one spurt in months, and if I downgrade to the half marathon on Saturday, that will remain true for another week. I might be able to get one very long run (18-20 miles) in on the weekend of March 8th, but seeing as that’s only 2 weeks out from the race, and since I’ve only been averaging 25-28 mpw up to this point, it doesn’t really make sense for me to do such a long run just to do it. I’ve been reading Hanson’s Marathon Method, which argues against specific long-run mileage (e.g., 20 miles) and instead encourages each runner to base their long run distance on pace and percentage of total weekly mileage. Additionally, an article from Jeff Gaudette makes similar arguments. Both focus on cumulative fatigue and spreading out weekly mileage instead of piling it on during the long run. I’m liking the idea of this approach, not only because it makes me feel better about my lack of long runs, but also because it seems to make the most sense and will hopefully result in lower chance of injury.
In any case, there’s no use worrying about things I can’t control. The next 5 weeks should be quite interesting!