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

Sun, 5 Jun 2005 08:45:27 -0400

Run Write Now

RUNNING COMMENTARY 574

(Last year Barnes & Noble published my book, Run Right Now. Next will come a companion book, the RRN Training Log, due out this fall. Here is a portion of its introduction, addressed to the reader-runner who will become its co-author.)

My name may appear on the cover of this book, but make no mistake: this isn't just my book but OURS. It might become the most important one you'll ever open. This isn't because of anything I wrote, but for the other half of the book that you will write.

Don't let that word "write" frighten you. I won't ask you to compose any essays for anyone else to read.

Think of this as a daily short-answer quiz. I guide you through it by asking, on standard weekly log pages, the most important questions a runner needs to answer each day.

All you need to do is fill in the blanks. Together the answers will write a story that only you can tell -- the unique story of your own running life.

Several of my books have encouraged runners to become writers. The first with blanks to fill in was Jog Run Race. This book that I asked readers to help me write would also be my all-time best-seller.

Another book, the Runner's World Training Diary, topped JRR in sales. I set up the format and contributed a brief tip for each week for this book that stayed in print for 25 years.

But it doesn't qualify as mine. My name didn't make the cover, nor did it belong there. Most of each weekly page was left blank for the reader-runner-writer to fill.

My current leader in sales is Marathon Training. It goes back and forth between my essays and daily log pages, totaling 100 of each.

The Run Right Now Training Log blends the approaches of the Runner's World and Marathon Training books. Here, as in the old RW Diary, you have a year's worth of weekly pages to complete (while MT only covered one season of a year).

And here, as in Marathon Training, you get the essays (which the RW book lacked). I call each of these pieces a "Story for Week," intending it to fuel your running through its instructional content or inspirational message.

This Training Log also follows the lead of my Marathon Training book. Here, as there, I give a paragraph of advice, titled "Tip for Week." Each Tip takes just seconds to read but took me as long as 50 years to learn.

The Log does not tell you exactly HOW to train or race. You can find those plans in other books, including some of mine.

Here you report WHAT you just ran. Make this fill-the-blanks exercise part of your cooldown. One requires no more time than the other.

A day's report is like one step in a long run. By itself it doesn't tell you much. But over the months, years and decades the steps multiply to form a trail that helps you plot your path ahead -- and also to see how far you've come.

Analyze your results by the month or longer periods. Judge from your records what does and doesn't work. Then use these conclusions to write better training and racing plans for yourself instead of trusting another writer to do that for you.

Also use the Training Log as a place to remember and reflect. Write a book that you can open later to any page and call that day back to life. Capture here and now the experiences that otherwise would be as fleeting and invisible as footsteps on a dry street.

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