Contemplating Runblogger’s Future: Something’s Gotta Give

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clock clipart sm 5cm (Photo credit: you get the picture)

People have occasionally remarked that they can’t imagine how I’m able to manage everything that I do. As if being a tenured Biology Professor, Department Chair, and parent of three active young kids isn’t enough to fill my time, I’ve layered on top of that writing a book and managing a very active blog. Oh, and let’s not forget fitting in time to run and practice Taekwondo!

Something’s gotta give. I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past 6 months contemplating my future, largely because as this blog has grown, it has occupied more and more of the empty space in my schedule, to the point where it is now encroaching on the “already filled” space (e.g., I haven’t been able to fit in a run yet this week, and I’m about 2 months behind on responding to email!). I often tell people that I essentially work two full-time jobs – this blog occupies an enormous amount of my time.

The problem is that I love trying out and writing about running shoes. I love running. I love reading and writing about the science of running. I love working with individual runners to help with shoe choice, injury, and training issues. These are the topics that occupy my mind most of the day.

I’m also quite lucky to have a very stable and secure job, and it’s a job that I’ve done quite well at. I truly love teaching, and working with students in the classroom is what I enjoy most about my day job. However, there are aspects of my job that I could do without, as any college professor would probably agree. One simple aspect is that I’m tired of spending 1-1.5 hours in the car every day commuting to and from the office. Another is that I simply don’t fit the Academic mold all that well, but that’s a story for another day.

I’m in the process now of contemplating the future. Most people in Academia would tell me that I’d be nuts to give up a tenured professorship (not to mention salary and benefits) to be a blogger, and they’d be right. But this blog is currently my passion, and writing about science here is just teaching in a different way. Runblogger has grown to the point where it is now generating enough income to make me think seriously of becoming a full-time blogger – it’s not a sure bet yet by any means, but given more time to put into it I think I might be able to get by.

So this is where I am right now, and forgive my rant, but I needed to put some thoughts out there. This blog is my sounding board, and my place to let thoughts escape the confines of my brain. I’ve decided to apply for an unpaid leave of absence from my academic position for a year to sort things out a bit. I also have a business opportunity that I’m very excited about that would involve doing what I love most, and you’ll be hearing more about that in the coming months.

I’ve decided, as I have always done, to follow my passion. Sometimes the safe path isn’t the best path, and I’ve gotten along well so far in this life by following my gut. My gut right now is telling me to run and write and be around more for my kids while they are young. I may be crazy, but that’s my style :)

Thanks for listening!

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.



Comments

  1. Congrats on taking this step! Congrats on finding something that truly drives you and pursuing it. I hope to be doing the same in the very near future.

  2. RunTraveler says:

    I’ve got no golden advice to give, but I will say that I empathize completely. I’m at my own career crossroads (12 years growing into being an “expert” in my field, now seriously considering giving it all up to pursue a new direction.) It’s a tough decision process, but no matter what, it’s nice to know that life will go on! :-)

    • Pete Larson says:

      Tough, isn’t it. I think for me I’ve reached the point where there is not much more upward mobility in my current career unless I want to go into administration, and I have no desire to go there. I’m good at what I do, but I’m the kind of person that needs to be challenged and I like to create, and I kind of feel like I’d be more or less doing the same thing year in and year out for the next 30 years if I stayed where I am. The positive is I can always teach in some capacity, perhaps as an adjunct, so I don’t have to give up the part of my job that I love most.

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

      • RunTraveler says:

        While we’re in different fields, we’re facing similar choices. I have an executive path ahead of me if I stay at my institution, or a teaching/writing/creative path ahead of me if I take a “step back.” (I hate that I keep referring to it as a step “back” when it’s really just a different direction — but allegedly we’re all supposed to want the prestige and security of a linear career. Right? *sigh*)

        I wish you lots of luck with your career transition, and I’ll keep reading along!

        • Pete Larson says:

          Yep, linear careers are the expectation in this society I guess. The open-ended option just seems like more fun :)

          —-
          Pete Larson’s Web Links:
          -My book: Tread Lightly <http: bduo0=”” ow.ly=””>
          -Runblogger Blog <http: http://www.runblogger.com=“”>
          -Pete’s Twitter: Personal <http: oblinkin=”” twitter.com=””>and Runblogger<http: runblogger=”” twitter.com=””>
          -Runblogger Facebook Page <https: runblogger=”” http://www.facebook.com=“”> -Runblogger Discussion Forum <http: link to runblogger.com“”></http:></https:></http:></http:></http:></http:>

  3. Jamie P Tierney says:

    Pete, you have to what is right for you and your family in the long run (no pun intended) That said I can say I have gotten ton of info and enjoyment from your blog. You have improved my running and enjoyment of it. I will say this if you don’t chase your dream you may regret it. I think you should take the chance. BTW I can’t wait to hear what you business opportunity is. If it is running related I hope to be a supporter and customer.

  4. Andrew W. Lischuk says:

    I am not one for doling out advice, but the only one that has bailed me out on multiple occasions is this one: Happy wife, happy life.

    Beyond that you have a loyal follower for as long as you intend to pursue it.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Excellent advice, and I’d extend it to happy family. Fortunately my wife is on board and totally supportive. She’s also getting back into an earning position after 6-7 years as a stay at home mom. She just got her yoga teacher certification and is now teaching classes at a local studio, so she very much gets the “follow your passion” and live an active lifestyle aspects of what I want to do. Now I just need to get her to review women’s running shoes :)

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

  5. Erik Horton says:

    7 years ago my wife and I made the decision for me to walk away from a $90,000+/yr corporate advertising position that I held to be a stay at home dad. I took so much flak from the people closest to me, everyone thought we were crazy. It turned out to be the single best decision we ever made and gave me a chance to find my true passion in life.

    You already know your passion, I say go for it. In this day and age, kicking yourself as far out of the “system” as possible is in my opinion the best way you can insulate yourself from the tough times ahead. Being on your own, living your passion, putting family first, and enjoying the short time we have on this planet is the way to go. All the best to you!

    • I’ll pile on here in the ‘team positive.’ Two and a half years ago I walked away from a ‘great job’ and stable income to get my master’s degree and teach elementary school (Teaching has been a lifelong passion/dream). Best decision I ever made. The money’s less, but we’ve responded by replacing things with experiences, and i see a whole lot more of my kids. Soldie Ron and do what truly makes your heart thump!

      • Pete Larson says:

        Thanks Tim! One of the things I really would like to be able to do is get more involved with my childrens’ education. I spent some of my sabbatical a few years ago volunteering in my son’s classroom – loved it, and love being able to be involved in their lives. I get to do it in the summer, but if I have a way of extending that year-round I can’t help but consider it heavily.

        —-
        Pete Larson’s Web Links:
        My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
        Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
        Twitter: link to twitter.com
        Facebook: link to facebook.com

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks Erik, it’s great to get feedback like this from people who have take the leap themselves!

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

  6. Long time lurker and first time commentator here. But here’s my take: your writing style is fluid and good enough to bring you a following on whatever subject to which you put your thoughts. If you can make a living from this blog – and with a full-time commitment to it, I’m sure you can increase whatever revenue it brings in at the moment – and it’s really what you love doing, I would go for it. Perhaps try and reduce your teaching hours for a semester or two, or take a sabbatical if you can and see how it goes. Perhaps commit to another book (if the first was profitable) on a running topic enhanced by your academic knowledge. But otherwise, I think you have enough of a following and, more importantly, enough talent and interest, to be using this site as a base for future endeavours without great trouble.

    I’d suggest a re-design at some point – it’s a fairly busy site, though I know how important the affiliate links etc can be to your overall revenue. But there’s enormous potential here. Running is only becoming more and more popular and the technology involved and different avenues that produces in terms of shoe design, running style, kit, etc means significant opportunity (just look how dcrainmaker is the go-to resource for anything gps-related).

    So I’d encourage you to give it a try. All I see here is a talented writer with huge passion and many begging opportunities. What more could you ask for?!

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks for this Patrick, and for your first comment!

      I agree with you on it being a busy site, that’s something that I struggle with. Problem is that as small, independent blogger it’s somewhat of a necessary evil to have the ads and other sidebar content to justify the effort put in. I play around with the organization often and try to minimize the busyness and maximize the return, but it’s a real challenge to find the right mix since at this point I don’t have the leverage of say Runner’sWorld.com to have only a few ads that pay a high return. Hopefully this will improve going forward, we’ll see!

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

  7. Michael Martinez says:

    Pete,

    Dream big brother. Never look back. Blaze your own trail. Love your blog, your book is on my shelf.
    See it. Will it. Take it.

    Coach Mike
    Alamo Endurance

  8. For me, and I am sure others, the value of your writing is in the science. Not that I understand all of it. But the fact that you question not only what others proclaim, but back up your words has been very helpful in my running – believe it or not.

  9. Greg Strosaker says:

    I’m hoping to have that same quandary down the road, and fully understand the time required to do what you do here. Good luck in whatever you decide.

  10. Good luck with whatever you decide! I am sure it will be a tough decision. I would also tell you that you are nuts for giving up a tenured position and I would look for other ways to gain efficiencies before going that route, but I am pretty conservative.

  11. Hopefully you will do as a blogger even better than before. At least I hope so, otherwise where will we read about shoes!!!!?

    Best luck!

  12. Jay Dicharry says:

    Pete –

    you are wrong. You aren’t good at what you do, you are great at what you do!

    I didn’t make a leap anywhere near as big as what you are doing, but the biggest lesson I learned with myjob change was was this: We all get wrapped up in our identity of who people think we are because of our work, or what we do. Leaving my former position I thought I’d lose this. Well, I haven’t. I’m the same person, still on a mission to make a difference. My mom used to teach 4 yr olds and she’d always tell them “it takes courage to take a risk.” Leaving my job and jumping ship to the west coast was a fresh change that I needed. It showed me that I am the same person capable of the same stuff. As long as you’ve got the passion, and you do, you’ll leave you mark.

    And more time with the kiddos is just plain fun!!!

    Jay

  13. Run London says:

    Crikey. I was reading that with genuine concern that you were going to give up the blog. I’m relieved that you will continue.

  14. Been self-employed for about 15 years. The beginning is terrifying for sure. But looking back now I’m certain I made a whole lot more income, and currently I am much more financially stable, than I would be if I’d opted for the steady paycheck. “Steady” also means “doesn’t change much.” I spent about two years freelancing in addition to my full-time job, until I knew the freelancing could support me. This is how I advise others to make this life-change responsibly. Most people are not willing to do it. You already have.

    I have built the business/life of my dreams. Still work my butt off but on my terms. I actually try not to let on how happy I feel about it, because it might seem tacky.

    btw, started running in 2008, no clue what I was doing really. I have made so much progress since I started reading your blog, because now the subject of shoes is not so confusing! Keep up the excellent work.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks! The comment about “steady” meaning “doesn’t change much” is very true for my field. You don’t get big raises and bonuses as a college prof, even for merit, at least where I am. Having the combined income from both “jobs” is great, but not sustainable for the long term due to the time required, and my long term earning potential may be better doing something on my own. I appreciate the vote of confidence!

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      -My book: Tread Lightly <http: bduo0=”” ow.ly=””>
      -Runblogger Blog <http: http://www.runblogger.com=“”>
      -Pete’s Twitter: Personal <http: oblinkin=”” twitter.com=””>and Runblogger<http: runblogger=”” twitter.com=””>
      -Runblogger Facebook Page <https: runblogger=”” http://www.facebook.com=“”> -Runblogger Discussion Forum <http: link to runblogger.com“”></http:></https:></http:></http:></http:></http:>

      • Yeah, no bonuses for merit, and no penalties for the counterproductive. Self-employed people get compensated for exactly what they accomplish, and I love that. As for those who will call you “crazy” remember that lots of people with steady paychecks live in financial peril anyways, by expecting their future paychecks to bail them out. You can build a far more honest safety net, in the form of solid financial management skills, like saving, budgeting, investing. I started with 6mos living expenses in the bank, which quickly grew to 1yr, and so on. I always knew I could get past any hiccups. Now at age 41 my retirement is fully funded.

        • Pete Larson says:

          Awesome to hear it! I’m in a similar position right now, need to get the family budget under control quite a bit if I lose my day job income stream, but quality of life is more important to me than “stuff.”

          —-
          Pete Larson’s Web Links:
          -My book: Tread Lightly <http: bduo0=”” ow.ly=””>
          -Runblogger Blog <http: http://www.runblogger.com=“”>
          -Pete’s Twitter: Personal <http: oblinkin=”” twitter.com=””>and Runblogger<http: runblogger=”” twitter.com=””>
          -Runblogger Facebook Page <https: runblogger=”” http://www.facebook.com=“”> -Runblogger Discussion Forum <http: link to runblogger.com“”></http:></https:></http:></http:></http:></http:>

          • “Stuff” is so overrated. And figuring out a reasonably-priced lifestyle, and sticking to it, is a lot like being a runner.

  15. Hey,

    I’d just like to start by saying that I really enjoy your blog–you offer good insights into shoes, and, as a collegiate runner, they are definitely helpful.

    But I’d also say that, in my mind, running comes first for a runner–that everything else that has to do with running, be it core, cross training, researching running, or blogging, should be auxiliary. That to be a runner you have to run. And enjoy running. And run– a lot.

    So, to be brief, I think that running should definitely not be the things that has to give or should give–it should be the steady presence. With regards to your tenure and job, obviously those are undoubtedly important. You can’t, to a degree, give up on that. But if you don’t enjoy teaching–or, rather, if you enjoy teaching other things more (which is really what you do through a blog)–than your professorship can be put to the side, and perhaps should.

    Perhaps this is entirely off track, but I thought I would attempt to help in a way.

    Also, have you read Bernd Heinrich’s “Why we Run”- I feel like, as a biologist and runner, you’d appreciate it

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks for the thoughts. I agree in spirit, but unfortunately running doesn’t pay the bills or put food on my table, so priorities change when you have a family to provide for.

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

      • I thought I might be putting it too succinctly. I realize, of course, that you have to pay the bills and provide for your family. I feel like, if I were in your shoes, I would take running over blogging, no matter how incredible the blog is (which it is). I have a question though (and I guess this is a weighted question): where do you plan to go other than teaching? Rather, how do you think you could get more into blogging/make it financially feasible (if that is what you plan to do)?

        • Pete Larson says:

          Blogging is already financially feasible for me, just a lot less certainty than with a steady job. That’s why I prioritize writing, because this blog helps a lot with the family budget (my wife has been a stay at home mom for the last 7 years), and if I want to continue to grow it I have to post often and keep putting out good content. Blog economics are largely related to traffic – when you have a large audience and the right advertising relationships you can do quite well as a blogger.

          In summer I run a lot of miles, but it gets harder during the school year since I’m busy at work during the day and often have to get home early enough for my wife to teach or practice yoga or to take the kids to various activities. Makes finding time to run tough unless I do it early AM or at night. Problem I have is that I hate mornings, and by night I’m completely wiped. So, it’s usually late afternoon or nothing during the school year.
          Reality is that I probably won’t give up teaching – will always do it in some form, whether adjuncting, half-time, or via seminars and workshops. I like it too much. As mentioned in the post I have a business opportunity I am working on, so that may change the picture quite a lot.

          —-
          Pete Larson’s Web Links:
          My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
          Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
          Twitter: link to twitter.com
          Facebook: link to facebook.com

    • Pete Larson says:

      Forgot to add, Why We Run is fantastic! I identify a lot with Bernd Heinrich since he is an evolutionary biologist like me, and lives just a state over from me. I think it was the first running book I ever read, and a great one to start with.

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

      • I recently read it, and found it very very good (not of course my favorite running book, that’s reserved for OAR) and a lot more interesting than the sort of diluted, story-book like Born to Run. I love Bernd because, as a biologist, he considers everything and analyzes everything according to nature–the book can get dense, but you learn a great deal. And, of course, he was a doer- while researching, he went out and ran 120-140 miles a week.

  16. Dr. Erson Religioso III, DPT says:

    Pete, I support your decision with whatever you decide to do. At first my wife didn’t like me blogging nightly, but saw that it could bring in revenue and I’ve streamlined the process so she doesn’t mind 30-45 minutes a night. Blogging is an art form like any other any you are excellent at it. I am certainly not at the point where I could give up my clinical job or teaching, but if I could be at home more with my kids, I would absolutely do it. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  17. Nick Wojtasik says:

    Trying to balance my running pursuits and academics as a collegiate athlete is immensely challenging. On top of that, being a section editor and columnist for the university newspaper and maintaining healthy relationships adds difficulty to life. I get the dilemma I’m sure you’ve been contemplating for some time. I think the bottom line is that doing what you get the most satisfaction out of and what fits you best as a person will lead you to the greatest happiness. By reading most of “Tread Lightly” and creeping on your “ratemyprofessor,” it seems like you’re good at your job. But, if it doesn’t fit you and, despite your success, you’ve been driven enough to strongly enough to consider changing professions, it would probably be a good and healthy change. Best of luck.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Ha, I’ve checked those RateMyProfessor reviews, I think we all do :) I’ve been very lucky in my day job to have found something I’m good at – voted professor of the year twice by the students in the past 5-6 years at my school. But, teaching will always be an option for me, either on an adjunct basis or possibly if I can shift to half time at my current institution. Lots of possibilities, just need to find the right mix.

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

  18. Having worked in both academia and the private sector, I can only look back fondly on times where there was no boss to speak of and myriad possibilities for research and learning abounded.
    I love running and I should encourage you in this venture, but it just seems like a silly whim you’re indulging.

  19. Mark Cucuzzella says:

    Right on Pete! i took a 6 month leave to work with the USAF on a project related to healthier running. it was time well spent and i learned a lot more in the study than running mechanics. you could have an impact on public health.

    Mark Cucuzzella MD

  20. Juliann E. Allison says:

    OMG A kindred spirit. If my home/business and blog were anywhere nearly as successful as yours, I just might be persuaded to ditch the ivory tower myself. Good luck, whatever you decide.

  21. Larry Wasserman says:

    I am also a tenured professor, runner and blogger
    (although my blog is not the serious blog yours is).
    Before giving up your university job, I’d suggest
    thinking hard about what life will be like 20 years from now.
    Well, I tend to be very risk averse.
    Whatever you decide, good luck.

  22. Robert Osfield says:

    I was faced with a similar decision eleven years ago, a hobby software project had started getting wider recognition in the commercial world and it got to the point that I couldn’t juggle the obsessive hobby/work+commuting and a young family. With a bit of money in the bank and support from my wife I decided to leave employment and set up my own software consultancy turning my hobby into my livelihood.

    It all worked out great, I now work from home and have a far far better work/family life balance. I also had the flexibility to move to an area I love, my income got to the point that my wife could give up work and concentrate on our kids. Working for yourself adds it’s own stresses/responsibilities, such as irregular income/taxes/admin etc, but these are something one needs to master as part of the deal.

    One thing I’d suggest is that your skills and personality are suited for more that just reviewing and reporting on the minimalist movement. While in a more journalist role you will have the freedom to be independent from specific product manufacturers, but might you want to become more active within the realm of product development and less independent role with it? Or would the writing books/training programs/lectures be more appropriate outlet for you creativity and insight?

    Whichever path you choose good luck with it, it’ll be an exciting year :-)

  23. Hear hear on getting Mrs. Larson to review women’s shoes. :)

  24. Pete, alot of years ago I left a big money job I hated to start my own business. I’ve never looked back. Its most scary when you are on the firm ground looking over the cliff. Once you jump, its actually better. You’ll make it work. Good luck!

  25. Sarah @RunFarGirl says:

    What an exciting decision. Think about the great example you’re setting for you kids to really pursue what they are passionate about. That lesson in and of itself might make it worth it:-)

  26. Tom Davidson says:

    As has been said before, good luck! I have appreciated the reviews here even though I probably will only actually buy 1 or 2 pairs of all the shoes listed here. I have also been thankful for the links that you offer to other runner blogs and have added many to my blog queue for reading. Perhaps an option would be to update runblogger less frequently, once or twice a week only, to allow you to have more running/family time. I could live with that (because you know, it’s all about me, the reader).
    And if you need help with shoe reviews just send me a few pairs to run in and I’ll be happy to help out with the backlog!

    -Tom

  27. I think the passion point tells us where your heart is… and think about the extra time you could put in to the blog if you were not stuck in the classroom. Give it some thought, but I think you have what it takes.

  28. Pinkdonuteater says:

    Good luck! No matter what happens it doesn’t sound like you will have any regrets about this.

  29. MOVE! Your answer is right in your post… gain 1 to 1.5 hours a day by moving close to where you work. Yeah, I know it costs more than where you are now, so downsize. Of all the things you listed that you love, I didn’t see the following:
    Your house
    All the room in your house
    The design of your house
    etc.

    I know it’s really not that easy, but to be able to do the things you love, you’re gonna need to cut back on things you don’t or you just love less.

    And maybe hire an assistant out of your own pocket if that will give you more time.

  30. Matt Phillips says:

    Hi Pete. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in your blog. Sounds to me like you know what you should do and are just checking you haven’t forgotten or missed any reasons not to proceed. Some people work all their lives without discovering or developing any true passion that lies within. You have the gift of not only knowing your passion but being able to share it with others in a way that fuels their passion. You sound like a great father too so as long as you are able to provide and all live a happy life, go with that passion. As Lennon said, LIFE is what happens when you’re making other plans. Go with what life has brought you over the past year and I can’t see someone with your passion and talent regretting it. And keep us all in the loop as by the response your post has had a lot of people care about you! :-)

  31. 10km Training says:

    All the best Pete, you have a great blog going here. Follow your passion, you cant go wrong with that. Cheers!

  32. Marc Schwartz says:

    I wish you well in this endeavor Pete. Taking a year off to explore your options is a good plan, without completely risking a safety net of sorts.

    Back in 2000, after almost 20 years of working for others, I started my own company. It meant taking a big risk at a time when our kids were within a couple of years of college and the attendant financial implications of that stage of life. It was a challenge, on all levels. Long hours and a lot of stress. The reality is that you are still working for others, in the form of your clients and you take on all kinds of roles. It was a growing and learning experience to be sure. It ultimately worked out for 5 years and I have now been working for the company that became my largest client for the past 7 years. That has gone well, albeit not without its own set of challenges.

    Whatever you do, it has to be the right decision for you and your family. You can’t let any of us influence that decision. All we can do is to support you in whatever direction you go.

  33. wanderlust262 says:

    Good Luck! I love the passion!

  34. Ric Moxley says:

    you may have already done this, but it would be great if you talked with others who have been down this path. Like the guy who runs the I Run Far blog (link to irunfar.com…. He quit a day job as a lawyer to run his blog. He’s got a rep as a really nice guy, and would surely share his thoughts and experiences with you on this pivotal decision — from the unique point of view of one who’s been there, done that. Best of luck in your decision and remember the sagely advice of Yogi Berra — “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks! I exchanged emails a few years ago with Bryon after reading his story, this is something I’ve contemplated for a long time, but only recently has it seemed like it might be financially feasibly, particularly as some other opportunities have arisen. Another guy I know who recently made this jump is Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running. The positive for me is I know what kind of work it takes to make a living off of this since I’ve been doing it for awhile, and I have a good handle on the available revenue streams for a blogger.

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

  35. Scott Lynch says:

    For a moment, as I read this post, I thought you were going to stop blogging. And that really depressed me. Your blog is one of the few I follow where I read *every* post. If you can pursue your passion and make a living at it, I say follow your passion. Life is short and precious. Too short for regrets.

  36. Pete, everything else in life besides running is just gravy on top. Best of luck, and I respect and support all of your decisions. I’m sure you feel that you would regret not taking this blog as far as it can go. Know that many of us ‘silent readers’ appreciate what you do just as much as the regular posters.

  37. bdizzlefizzle says:

    Pete, sounds like you’re getting lots of support, and that’s 100% spot on. In life, we have very few opportunities like this, and we can either watch them erode or we can take a leap and go for it. I know a couple of people who have been so lucky, they took the leap, and it’s worked beautifully. I know people who had these opportunities and kept trying to live both lives, and ended up never being happy in either (plus being super tired).

    You are a bold guy, and that’s a good thing. You’re not selfish or stupid. Don’t let anyone give you a moment of feeling like you’re either.

    Rock on – and I’m so glad I get to keep benefitting from this blog and your awesome work.

  38. As a grad student working on my dissertation, I am excited to see you being so open about where you are currently. I hear similar comments from other folks in academic. That is not my route- I’m in an applied field. But I feel the same pull sometimes towards preferring the fun of running and writing about it over my dissertation :) I appreciate you sharing where you are. I love your blog. I’ll be excited to see where it all goes for you.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks, and it’s kind of funny because doing more applied work is one of the things I’m contemplating. Have been working with a local therapist doing gait analyses on injured runners, not something easily done in a small-college environment. Like any career, there are pluses and minuses to be an Academic – schedule, freedom, and flexibility are great, pay is not, and politics are always a big issue to be dealt with. I’ve also gotten frustrated with the lack of appreciation for non-traditional forms of scholarship, as well as the down-weighting of the importance of excellent teaching. Higher ed is changing these days, and not so sure I like where it is going.

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

      • Mae Lynn Arlinghaus says:

        ” I’ve also gotten frustrated with the lack of appreciation for non-traditional forms of scholarship, as well as the down-weighting of the importance of excellent teaching.”

        Yes, and YES!

  39. M Louise Cunningham says:

    Peter, Follow your heart, and there you will find your true happiness… :)

  40. digitalmockup says:

    respect.

  41. Curb Ivanic says:

    Good luck with the decision Pete. It’s worth taking your time to decide. I’ve always been amazed at how you’ve been able to do what you do. I’m a full-time coach and trainer and have been blogging/writing part-time and this is something I want to do more of as well. My book has been in research mode for a couple of years…I still don’t know how you managed that! But best of luck to you. I think you’ve got a very active and engaged audience so following your passion to make a living is very, very doable. (BTW…I’ve been meaning to write a book review for your book and will have that done in Dec. Great work man!!!)

  42. Best of luck, Pete! Love the book and the blog!

  43. Lauren Rich says:

    As someone who is also about to begin a 2nd career, I have to agree with your decision to follow your passion in life. Listening to your gut and doing what feels right will never lead you astray. Good luck and I look forward to reading about your new endeavors! :)

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks Lauren, means a lot from someone who has both taken my classes and been a victim of my gait filming!
      Sent from my iPad

  44. I think a one year leave is a good move, to test out the waters before you leave academia full time. Just be ready for the naysayers out there — I left academia last year and it was like a break-up. My former colleagues started taking sides and I felt like my Ph.D. advisor disowned me for a brief time.

    • Pete Larson says:

      This is the unusual part for me – my colleagues have been nothing but supportive, they are actually the ones who encouraged me to pursue the leave of absence route rather than resigning outright. One even told me that he though I’d be nuts to do it, but would be insanely jealous if I succeeded. I work with an amazing group of people, and that’s one of the things that has been holding me back. That and working with my students. But ultimately I have to make the best decision for myself and my family right now, and I don’t know that I’d ever forgive myself if I didn’t pursue my passions.

      —-
      Pete Larson’s Web Links:
      My book: Tread Lightly – link to ow.ly
      Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
      Twitter: link to twitter.com
      Facebook: link to facebook.com

  45. Hey Pete I enjoy reading your blogs/shoe reviews because its honest. If you didn’t like it you didn’t hide it there is no gains to giving readers a false sense of advertisement just because your are getting some shoes for free (or not). I can assume you did that in your academics teachings as well and for that I feel bad for the student who wont be abe to take your course next year but its good for me. I wish you the best of luck and i’ll be following your blogs !!

  46. Christopher Huntley says:

    As I commented on your DailyMile post a while back, I think the leave of absence makes good sense, even and especially given the academic nature of your day job. You’ll get it all figured out much better without the drain of campus politics and other annoyances to drag you down.

  47. Brian Martin says:

    G’day Pete, good luck with the deliberations. Great time to dive into full time blogging and the option of a one year leave of absence is a nice fall-back position if you change your mind. Sounds like higher education is going the same way in US as in Australia – sad that teaching isn’t valued. Thanks also for all your support and great work thus far! Brian

  48. Clinton Erickson says:

    I am in a similar situation right now (what I love vs stability) so I see where you are coming from. Good to know I am not the only one. Good luck with your decisions!

  49. After returning from a weekend getaway and seeing the “Something’s Gotta Give” title, I feared this might be your last post. Glad to read about the direction you’re taking, Pete. Doing what you love/loving what you do means happiness! Hope you don’t see this for a while because you’re out running!

  50. James Ubriaco says:

    Very courageous! I wish you the best of luck in following your passion!

  51. Nick Arthur says:

    As long as you love what you’re doing, that’s all that matters sometimes. Best of luck!

  52. Mae Lynn Arlinghaus says:

    Pete, I can so relate to your situation. I left my academic position 16 years ago to be a full time mom to my son who has autism. I know that my colleagues found my decision odd and misguided given all that I had invested in my career, but I have never regretted following my heart.

    There are a lot of good reasons for you to make a go at blogging full time. The blog is already a success, and as you said, with more time to devote you can make it even more so.

    It’s great that you have the opportunity to take a leave and think it through more carefully.

    I’ve always been impressed with the way in which you have applied your skills as a teacher and researcher in this blog and your seminars. You’re doing what you’re meant to do, in my opinion.

    Best of luck, and thank you.

  53. Fred Brossard says:

    GO GO GO !!! I wish I could do the same with my website but I’m too old. Good Luck and keep on the good work on Runblogger.

  54. Running Moose says:

    My wife did a similar thing. She was working as a full time Speech Therapist at an elementary school but had also started a child/ family photography business. For about two years she worked both and the photography quickly seemed to take on full time hours. It wasn’t until two medical issues popped up (one related to stress) that she finally stepped back, as I had been encouraging her to do. The final straw was, while she lay in the hospital, her supervisor called and was wondering how she was going to make up the kids she’d missed. The last thing she said before she hung up was “oh, how is she doing.” She decided after that she was going to quit, and did. Her photography is her passion, like running is for you. It’s been 6 months since then and she is truly the happiest I have ever seen her. We did take a big hit in income, but it’s worth it! Her job has taken her to California and will be taking her to Colorado in a month. She’s been to Vegas, NYC, Texas, Massachusetts and more. We also had the benefit of having insurance through my job, though my take home salary has gone down the past couple years as it has for many. It may seem silly or risky to some to give up a full-time, secure job. But, you have to follow your dreams. Some people choose not to follow theirs. Don’t let them talk you out of yours. You can’t do both full time and sometimes you have to take that leap of faith. I hope your business opportunity works out for you. Everyone deserves to follow their dreams.

  55. Craig Richards says:

    Do it Pete! You can always come and work with me if it all bombs out ;)

  56. People follow people with passion, not necessarily people in positions. Choosing your family is choosing your greatest passion and influence.

  57. Emilie Reas says:

    Thanks for being so open and honest about these questions, as your post really hit home for me. I’m currently wrapping up my Neuroscience PhD and struggle each day with my love for science and running pulling me in opposite directions. It’s immensely difficult to balance it all and even harder to make the decision to sacrifice any of it, so I really respect your willingness to make this bold move. Obviously, there’s no clear “right” path, but I’ve always believed it’s best to go with your passion. Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming endeavors … good luck!!

  58. Lisa Greenberg says:

    How exiciting and yet, scary all at the same time! I’m excited for you though and faithfully read your blog! Follow your heart and you’ll be fine:)

  59. PaulDavisTheFirst says:

    I’ve done a variety of the things talked about in your post and in the comments thread. I quit working at a startup to become a stay-at-home parent (the startup went on to become, ahem, rather successful). I left 4 years of option on the table, but never looked back on the decision (which was aided by the 1 year’s worth of options ending being something rather substantial). I also tried to turn my open source software “hobby” into a living, rather than face work as a programmer for an existing company. That has worked out, sort of, in that I manage to make about a US median income from it (much less than I would make as an employee). The freedom it has given me has been wonderful and a huge bonus over the last 6-10 years of my life, although it has also meant lot MORE work than I might have done otherwise.

    Against that background, I will point out my two biggest concerns: the first is health insurance, which I have not had for 12 years, and although I could afford some catastrophic coverage for my wife and myself, I’m skeptical of the value given more and more crazy stories about how this actually plays (pays) out. Two of our 3 children also have not had insurance, and this has luckily not been an issue, but easily could have been (and still could – they are 21 and 23 now, without insurance).

    The other big issue is retirement. We can afford to live pleasantly for now on what we make. We have flexible, self-controlled lives. But we are not saving, and probably could not save substantial amounts even if we wanted to. We have a fairly substantial net worth because of fully-owned real estate, but the absence of a “high end” salary and benefits appears to me to take its biggest toll by way of my fears of what our lives post-60 will look like.

    Self control and self direction to work on things you are passionate about is magnificient and I feel very grateful to have experienced it in the way I have. But if you the kind of person who worries about money (my wife, for example, does not), then the flip side of it can be quite nerve-wracking (unless of course your total income from blogging, adjunct teaching etc. is still “high”).

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