Runner’s World Magazine Review

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What? Where do I get off reviewing a famous running magazine? Full disclosure, I cancelled my subscription to Runner’s World in March when I received the obligatory auto-renew post card, letting me know that my account would be automatically debited in April. I must admit, I have waffled over the decision to cancel for a couple of years now, but the deciding factor were the inserts that fell out of a recent issue that offered the magazine several dollars cheaper than I was about to be billed. I can be cheap like that sometimes, but after a more introspective look at the magazine it suddenly became even clearer to me. I am not their target market.

I think secretly I always knew. I’m not a slim, nimble 20-30 year old elite runner. I don’t have tons of money to buy the latest sneakers, nor to purchase the products that lurk in their glossy pages. Despite their one cover story issue last year of the plus-sized runner, there is very little for me. I’ve learned to stop drooling over the things I cannot have,  nor will ever be (again).  I have none of the characteristics that represent their true target audience.

I was thumbing through one of the last issues, looking for one of their cover stories and came across a story about a Couch to 5K success. It was supposed to be a motivating story about a 42-year old mom with two young boys. She wanted to shed a few pounds so she started with the C25K and now holds a trail run record, despite her busy schedule. She is a lawyer. My average woman-self, with a government job thought…mmm…she can afford things I cannot. I couldn’t connect when I thought of the advantages she would have over my own struggles. How about the advertisement to “Cheat Your Way to Lean”?  Second paragraph, “Last Tuesday was especially hectic, but I’d booked with my $200 per hour personal trainer…” Again, not me. How about Best Foods for Runners? There wasn’t a cheap item on any page.

All of this may sound negative, but it’s really not. I truly believe that Runner’s World has a niche market that works well for them. At my grandma age, I have no desire to be the elite “running with the 20-30 year old” market, nor the well-to-do older set. That is not my reality. I’m basically a barely paycheck to paycheck, grandma enjoying the run. So with that said, it’s important to realize that glossy pages, pretty pictures and well-toned bodies is not something that everyone necessarily needs or wants to see.

Does this mean that I will never pick up another Runner’s World magazine? No, there will still be some occasional interest…a headline that sparks my curiosity. To my friends, in that niche, it is definitely a good magazine for you, lots of helpful advice and exercises you can probably still do. 

I think that one day, someone will come out with a publication aimed at the beginner runners, the slightly over-weight runners, the older runners, the back-of-the-pack runners, the “not in my budget” runners – to let us all know we can still enjoy the sport too. It’s still a great magazine, but I am not their target market and I’m OK with that.

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Jeff Galloway – Mental Training for Runners Book Review

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“We have a powerful mind-body network that is interconnected.” Jeff Galloway.

As I head toward my first marathon, I realize that it’s not only about the body (yes, even a grandma’s body), it’s also about the mental stamina needed to get to the starting line, cross that line and make it to the finish line. As we barrel toward January, there are so many doubts. In fact, I considered downgrading to the half, but unfortunately, the half is now full…go figure.

Plan B… I was looking for material on stepping up my mental game when my sister mentioned that Jeff Galloway had such a book.  Jeff Galloway – Mental Training for Runners – No More Excuses, a rather long title for a book, but no worries, it all fits on the cover page.

Mental Training for Runners (I had to shorten the title), is 205 pages of Jeff Galloway’s best advice, all crammed into 205 glossy pages (literally…glossy). If you’ve ever had the opportunity to hear Jeff Galloway speak at an event, you know he talks about the “monkey brain”. Now, before you go trying to decide if it’s an insult or not, the monkey brain is that part of our subconscious (reflex brain) that sends signals to the rest of our body (that’s how I interpret it anyway). This is the part of our brain that lowers our motivation and lose our focus. The purpose of Mental Training, per Galloway, is to override our monkey brain. This is exactly what I needed.

Mental Training for Runners covers a wide variety of topics and tips, as I said, many of which have been covered in Galloway’s books and speeches, but all in one neat package.  Think of it as a one stop shop.  The book covers everything from various running situations like recovering from injury or illness; what to do when a close running friend moves away and running in the morning or at night after work, just to name a few. It also includes inspirational stories from individuals who have survived cancer; a runner who ran a marathon after the age of 80; running for and after weight loss, and keeping journals.  If you need motivation – this book is definitely for you.

Fav Chapters

Chapter 6 – Setting a motivation training plan – This chapter discusses setting a reality check for your goals. “As you take one conscious step after another, you take control of your attitude and your running experience.” Now, that is what I needed to hear!

Chapter 11 – Cognitive Control over Nutrition – Fat Burning.  There is no denying that weight loss is one side effect I am hoping to achieve. Since kicking up my running, I am happy to report the loss of 10 pounds. (I like to think of it as the equivalent of a 10 pound sack of potatoes). “The monkey brain is programmed to keep eating when food is available-long after we have eaten enough nutrition for the next 24 hours.”

Not quite fav, but not bad…

Keep in mind, this is a Jeff Galloway production so there are going to be mentions of his books and products throughout.  You can look at it a couple of ways – mini-commercials, or the opportunity to read about additional helpful resources. For example, I saw a couple of books that sound like they might be my next purchase – Nutrition for Runners and also Running and Fat Burning for Women. Hopefully you won’t let these strategically-placed product endorsements deter you from taking full advantage of all this book has to offer.

Well, for me, I’ve found Mental Training for Runners – No More Excuses to be extremely helpful in trying to tame my brain.

Running on Air – A Book Review

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Why would you take a book out of the library and keep it for twelve weeks? Because it’s crammed full of information and I just can’t give it up. That’s how I felt about Running on Air” The Revolutionary Way to Run Better by Budd Coates. Do you want to run longer? Cross-train? Strength-Train? There is something in the book just for you. Not only does the book give great advice on learning how to breathe while running, it also provides sample marathon training schedules for anything from a 5K to a full-marathon.

Illustrations – Who doesn’t like pictures?  They may be in black and white, but Coates also includes picture examples on how to do core-training exercises.  For those of us in the middle of the 30-Day Plank challenge, there is a pretty black and white picture of the CORRECT way to do a plank.

There were really only two small downsides I noticed while reading.  First, is that he did a lot of talking about RBE’s. I know if I plan to run, I need to learn the language, but it really had me confused I’m embarrassed to admit. The second is that all of the short “stories” scattered throughout the book seemed to be about younger runners and the over 50 examples were all seasoned runners who had a running background. I would imagine that’s not a real bad thing, but fI am a grandma after all..

All in all, 12 weeks? Absolutely, this book will be placed on my purchase list.

Running 101 – Book Review

Yes, I’m a reader, so when I decided to start running, I had to read up on everything I could.  Yes, there is plenty available on the web, but I also like the feel of pages in my hand.  Running 101 – The Essentials For Success, by Joe Henderson is the first book I picked up to start filling up my running library (of course I already subscribe to Runner’s World Magazine).  I looked forward to the advice and tips the author offered.

Running 101 – Essential for Success is divided into three main categories including; starting to run, running for fitness and training to race.  These categories are definitely areas of interest for any beginning runner. The categories are then divided into 111 lessons, each designed to help the runner towards their running goal. How you progress through the lessons is definitely up to the discretion of the reader/runner.

Since I spent a great deal of time running on the treadmill (too cold, then too hot), I find Henderson’s take on treadmill running very interesting.  “Exercising indoors, and in place, is like watching the natural world pass through a car window.” While some may disagree, it’s definitely a very interesting analogy.  Personally, I would say that there are definitely pros and cons to running on the treadmill.

Ever wondered what training plans to put in place to run a 5K? What about a 10K?  Running 101 provides daily training plans to help readers figure out training plans to ensure success.  Training plans are also included the book.

Overall, Running 101 – Essentials for Success, provides a lot of great information for the novice runner.