Since 1982 I've written a newsletter, Running Commentary. A new issue appears here each week, and material is archived.

Sun, 7 Nov 2004 08:37:50 -0500

Run Right Now?

RUNNING COMMENTARY 544

What's in a name? Everything, say the publishers of books.

The cover spurs sales -- with its image, its colors, its typography and especially its title. This is why the publisher does the naming.

At most the author suggests a name and uses it as a working title. During the writing of my latest book I thought of it as Running Long. "Long" could be taken two ways, long in distance and in years.

If asked for a different name, I would have suggested Winning Running. I'd spent much of the book telling how to win as a runner.

Barnes & Noble, the publisher, didn't choose my original title. Nor did it ask for my second choice.

The editors there christened the book Run Right Now. At first I was cool to this title, mainly because it wasn't mine. But by the time I saw the first copy, the name had grown on me.

Run Right Now. B&N gets good mileage from these three little words.

They imply three different meanings. "Right now" can mean correctly, immediately or temporarily.

The title can represent running the right way. Not that I have a corner on absolute truths, but the book represents the best ways to run that I know. These are based on long experience, which is to say many mistakes made and most of them corrected.

The title also can stand for running right away. Even as an author I say, don't spend too much time reading and planning and analyzing. I'd love to hear that a runner read one page and was moved to drop the book and go run right now.

And finally the title can mean running right for now. Current practices change along with interests and abilities. The right approach for now might not stay that way in the long run.

This book comes in three parts. Each covers what runners most want to know at different stages of their evolution. These parts follow the typical path -- from exerciser to racer to fun-runner (or as I prefer, life-runner).

Part One, titled "Running Routines," lays out the basics that oldtimers already know but beginners need to learn. Part Two, "Running Races," deals with going faster, farther. Part Three adopts my orphaned book title, "Running Long," and covers the years when we run (to borrow words from Robert Louis Stevenson) not to go anywhere but just to go.

I spent almost no time in the first stage, and had to go back and learn those fundamentals later. My time in stage two lasted 15 years before blending into stage three.

Here I've stayed the longest. The runs have been right for 30-plus years now.

(Run Right Now, released by Barnes & Noble in October, is available several ways. You can find it in any B&N store, through barnesandnoble.com or -- for a signed copy -- joehenderson.com)

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