After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.
If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.
Originally posted on: March 17, 2012
Many, if not most runners have a problem with listening.
It isn't that we don't listen enough to what others tell us about running, sometimes I think we listen too much.
I think opinions are a lot like assholes - everyone has one.
Many of us listen all too well, to what too many other people are saying about running.
- When was the last time that you really looked closely at the information you are being given, who is saying it and why they were saying what they are saying (whether it is another runner, on a blog, business, website, video, book or magazine)?
- What is their background or experience?
- What is their motivation for saying what they are saying?
- Are they trying to get you to buy something or go somewhere?
- What marketing or propaganda techniques are they using to influence you? Scarcity, Low price, Expertise, etc.
Let's face it, if a company provides information or free product samples, they are not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. It is usually in some way connected to their marketing efforts and to influence others to use their products. Marketing and advertising are not bad, but you do need to be an informed consumer, to know the difference between hype and what works for you.
The bottom line is that companies are trying to get you to buy their products and turn a profit. That is not new or exciting news by any stretch of the imagination or a bad thing. However, how often do we get, as Paul Harvey used to say "the rest of the story."
So we need to be careful not to confuse hype and marketing techniques that businesses use to sell their products, with information that you need to make informed decisions about what will work for you, when you are out for your run.
"Caveat Emptor" is a warning we need to heed even in running and you should research the claims being made by businesses before making your purchase, to make sure the hype actually meets your needs.
Bloggers put a lot information out there for runners to read and watch. Some of it is great stuff, while some of it sucks, (being honest here), it all depends on who the blogger is. I get a lot of information and ideas from fellow bloggers about running, that has helped me become a better runner, however, I have had to cut through the chaff to get to the good stuff.
Runners need to be aware of a blogger's prejudices, background and motivation for writing a post. Read the blogger's About, Disclaimer and Disclosure information, those will give you a lot of information about the blogger, their motivation and affiliations - which are important.
If something doesn't seem quite right, figure out where they got their information and double-check the blogger's facts with other sources you trust, before you jump on their bandwagon.
Sure it is great to hear the opinions of what someone who has been a runner for a while or even someone who is new to the sport, has to say about running (training, gear, shoes, etc.). Their experience or lack of it might give you an idea or perspective on how to do or use something better or differently than you do now. Which could save you time, effort or hell their advice might even help you run better - a lot better.
If it is another runner, how well do you know that person, how current are they with "new" whatever, what are their running prejudices, which theories, companies or products are they aligned with and what is their background. Are they an old curmudgeon or a hot-shot racer? Is it a coach, someone who knows you well or is it someone who just started telling you about running 101 according to them?
All these things matter when receiving advice on running from other runners.
At some point, after you have looked at all the ads, read all the blogs, listened to other people's advice, it comes down to you looking at your goals for your running, which will really determine how you run and what gear you will use. After all you are the one who will be doing the running and using the equipment, not the companies or all the "experts" out there.
That is part of the challenge of running - finding what works for you.
I am very selective about which businesses and people who I really listen to and try very hard to not follow willy-nilly the latest fad or next great thing. Over time I have developed my own sources that I trust about running and running gear - I believe that eventually we all do this.
However, this doesn't mean that I take their word as gospel and not do my own research, to learn more about something that I want to do or buy, before I do it (well most of the time - every so often I get caught up in the hype and do the dreaded impulse buying too).
What do you do?
With all the conflicting information, opinions there out here about running and running gear, how do you choose who you will listen to?
What are your criteria?
How do you make that final choice about ___________(you fill in the blank).