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The Best thing About Blogging and Running: People

Hat Run PicSometimes you need to get things off your chest before you can move forward. I’ve been suffering a bit of writer’s block because I waited so long to write and publish the post I released yesterday. Though it can be difficult to reveal one’s vulnerabilities to a larger audience, I’ve found that doing so can be therapeutic and can help one grow and progress. I also needed to provide a bit of background on where I am in life before tackling some related subjects.

With regard to my writing, I’ve been able to keep more standard posts like shoe reviews and science analysis going because I have a formula for writing them – the template exists, and I just need to fill out the parts. However, writing somewhat formulaic posts can get tiresome at times, and I miss being able to just sit down and dump my brain onto the page. I think yesterday’s post opened up the floodgates a bit, and it feels amazing to be writing this post because I want to rather than because I have to.

Over the past year or so I’ve reflected a lot on my experiences as a blogger and runner. I’ve thought about what I like about each, and what I dislike. At times I’ve considered quitting both, or conversely attempting to take things to a new and higher level. In this post I want to start the process of writing about some of these more philosophical topics by sharing one of my conclusions: the best part about both blogging and running is the people you meet and experiences you share along the way.

Craftsbury 2014

When I think back over the past 8 years since I started running, the things that I remember most clearly are the races I have run. There’s an element of personal achievement that makes such experiences memorable (a topic for another day), but the things I recall most fondly are the people I have met on those days. The runners I have shared difficult miles with in marathons. The people I shared a van with during Ragnar Florida Keys. The people I ran with at the Hat Run 50K. Fellow crew members and pacers at the VT 100. Fellow runners suffering through the Endurathon at Craftsbury. Runners I have helped complete their first 5K.

5K-Yes-I-Can

The experiences I have had with fellow runners are what make this sport so special. We’ve shared the slog of running long, hard miles in training, and we’ve run, and sometimes hobbled, together on race day. Sometimes we’ve shared triumphant moments at the finish line, sometimes we’ve struggled just to get there, but it’s those shared experiences that stay with you.

In a similar manner, the joy of blogging comes from the people you meet through your writing. The people that send along kind words in an email, or the thanks you get for helping someone out with a tough decision. It’s the comments and support you get when you share something difficult. Yesterday was a perfect example of the latter – it wasn’t easy for me to open up on what I’ve been through over the last year, but the countless messages of support, both public and private, mean more than you could ever know.

Smuttynose

The thing about blogging is that it’s so easy to fall into the trap of letting marketers and PR firms dictate what you write (again, a topic for another day) – the lure of attention and advertising dollars can be tough to fight. Sometimes you need to wrench control back and make things your own so that the words can flow. I enjoy writing shoe reviews, but I’ve realized that the best interactions I get are when I share something personal. That’s what creates connections. That’s when both reader and writer benefit. That’s when people who have shared similar, and sometimes difficult, experiences in life connect with you in a way that would never happen as a result of a product review. Yes, you need to do the latter to make a living doing this job, but only doing that is no way to live.

I think most runners would agree that connections made with other people are the best part of the sport, but I think a lot of bloggers forget that, particularly as their sites grow. It’s something I need to constantly remind myself of, and if you are a blogger I’d encourage you to consider it as well. Write for your audience, and keep them first – after all, readers are what keep sites alive. Without them, there would be no advertising income, no opportunities to try out gear. And when you let readers know a bit about you as a person, that makes people connect with you and trust your opinions more than if you become a shill for marketers.

Whether you are a runner, a writer, or a running writer, remember to cherish and cultivate the connections you make with other people. Be there for them, support them, and they will be there for you. That’s what life is all about.

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
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. I just came across your blog (yes, I’m very late to the blogging scene), and I love what I’ve read so far! I just started my own blog so I very much appreciated your latest posts. I can’t agree more that the people I’ve met through running has been by far the most enriching thing I’ve gotten out of it. Looking forward to reading more!

  2. When you write from the heart, your readers know the difference…getting caught up in the social media marketing side of blogging is easy to have happen and is part of the growth process that takes place as a blogger.

    At some point bloggers decide to monetize their blog, go through all the hoops and find out that it is not where their heart lies and eventually many start over.

    I hope you keep your blog, but begin to write from the heart more often. Template and formula posts make it easier to write quickly, but are they what and how you really want to say it?

    It sounds like you are moving to the next stage as a blogger and I believe you will have more fun with your blog again and I have a feeling that many of your newer readers will start to see a different style of writing from you.

    Good luck and keep smiling or is that blogging.

  3. I just vomit words when I write. Sometimes I have to edit them because it comes out like stream of consciousness but I am not Virginia Woolf. I come to your blog oftentimes to get the routine type of posts. There are 17 Kazillion blogs out there and people will gravitate to what they have an affinity for. That said, no person is a robot so if/when you switch gears it is understandable.

  4. We missed you at Craftsbury this year. It was great having you as a coach last year- you clearly have a passion to teach and inspire others. You made it memorable. Best of luck with your new teaching goals- there will be many lucky students learning from you. Hope you are back next year at Craftsbury.

  5. Hi Peter,
    I’ve been reeding your blog for a couple of months, and have loved it. Run blogger is by far the best running blog.

    Anyway,would you be able to review the adidas takuma sen 2 or 3 as i am planning on purchasing one for racing (5k-half marathon). I would go ahead and buy the 2 because it is apparently more responsive (thanks to the torsion system in the forefoot), although I really like the boost material in the adios boost (my current shoes I use for just about anything). And also living in Winnipeg, the claims that the boost material is temperature resistant would really help (it gets below -40ºF here!!)

    If you can’t review them for whatever reason it’s totally, because they are very expensive (thats kind of drawing me back, to). Although could yo please recommend some other shoes similar? (

    • Jamie,

      Thanks for the kind words! The Takumi Sen is a shoe I’d love to try, but the price has held me back from giving it a go. Have heard good things about it though. Personally, I’d choose a shoe like the Adios Boost for up to a marathon since I need more cushion for that distance, Takumi Sen more for 5K maybe up to the half. Some others to try might include the Mizuno Ekiden, Adidas adizero RC, Saucony A6.

      Pete

  6. I’ve been reading quite a few blogs lately and I love how down to earth and real your posts are. Thanks for reminding us to remember what is important. Cheers to you and best of luck.

  7. Hi
    totally agree on the people part! I’ve been “SOLITARY RUNNER WOMAN” since after my marathon in April. Just this past Saturday, I ran a local 5k. It SOOO great to see all my running friends. Of course now I’ve been thinking “Why don’t I do this more often?’

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