Preview: Run Right Now Training Log

(from the book’s Introduction) My name may appear on the cover of this Training Log, 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 the standard weekly log page, 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.

I could have called our book a “diary” because this is how I’ve always thought of my own book. Make that books. More than 40 notebooks, each crudely labeled by marking pen, now occupy four full shelves of my office bookcase and are eating into a fifth shelf. Each binder represents a year, starting in 1960.

My diary-keeping actually began two months before the Sixties. But the year 1959 didn’t rate a book because the diary totals just two pages, with a one-line listing of each run taken that November and December.

Oh, how my diary grew! The next year I found fill-the-blanks daily pages designed by running coach and author Fred Wilt.

Wilt’s pages lasted me several years, until my writing finally outgrew the small space he left at the bottom of each sheet for “descriptions.” A pleasant side-effect of the diary was that I became a compulsive describer, which led to a long career in running writing.

Early in that career my diary became less a report on training and racing results than a place to practice wordworking. From the late 1960s onward I’ve filled a page each day (handwritten at first, typed into the computer in recent years).

But if I were to write only one line, it would be the one that I still goes down first each day. It’s same one that started my diary-keeping as the 1950s ended. This line reports the day’s run.

No run has gone missing from my book since November 11th, 1959. In fact, neither has any day off from running gone unnoticed.

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).

Each of these stories intends to fuel your running, either through its instructional content or inspirational message. Fittingly and intentionally, all of these pieces were born in my diary. I’ve harvested them selectively, then groomed the wording carefully, while retaining the personal, conversational tone from that diary page. Original time references remain intact, with a note at the end on when the piece was written and with updates as needed.

My weekly stories read like those in the Run Right Now book (published by Barnes & Noble in 2004). They’re similar in length and style, but different in content. The RRN Log repeats nothing from that first book.

This Log also follows the lead of my Marathon Training book. Here, as there, I give paragraph of advice, titled “Tip for Week” and its number. Each tip takes mere seconds to read but took me as long as 50 years to learn.