I got into a #running argument, I didn’t cry

I was having a discussion about the value of blogging as you run with a colleague and a fellow runner, we met about a decade ago and have periodically run together – he’s something of a monster having completed dozens of marathons and a few ultras, I’ve often looked toward him as something of an inspiration and although we have beaten slightly different running tracks we have always been very respectful of each others achievements – but on blogging and Twitter we simply could not agree and more for the first time ever it got insulting.

The suggestion was that my blogging has no value other than to publicly air my dull thoughts about what running means to me and that there is very little interest in what I (and others like me) have to say. I disagreed

It was here that it started to get even more personal and he laughed at my rather poor blog spelling – here I defended myself saying that my blogging often takes place while I’m commuting or walking to work and spelling errors are the result usually of the dreaded autocorrect

He further questioned the value of race reviews that focus so much on my personal feelings about them and less about the numbers ‘people don’t much care how you were feeling, they care, if anything, about splits, elevation, pace, etc.

I tried to explain that if I wanted to write about pace and splits and speed and the more technical end of my running I would but that the reason I write about my experiences in the way I do is that if I feel good, bad or even amazeballs that is something that might lift someone else, or empathise with someone else.

To this he countered that my audience was too small to actually offer a connection to other runners but my view is that my blog has a couple of hundred hits per day, not massive but then I don’t promote it extensively and as long as one person finds it of use then it has done its job and sometimes the job it does is let me express my running angst or happiness. Does this seem so bad I asked?

By this point I was feeling a little dejected and so the conversation turned onto Twitter … another thing he simply couldn’t understand.

‘Why would you waste your time chatting on Twitter – you could be running?!?’ At this he had a bit of a point I could be running instead of tweeting but at the same time the Twitter community offers lots of advice, support and ongoing shits and giggles. I get to (hopefully) inspire others to get out the door or offer advice based on my experience and in return I get the same.

His counter argument was that I should join a running club, thereby giving and receiving support in the real world. That being around other runners would inspire me to break back into better times, better finishes, avoid injuries and generally be a better human being or something.

We simply couldn’t agree and by the end of the conversation I was actually angry and we haven’t spoken since. But does he have a point? Would I be better dumping Twitter and blogging in favour of joining a running group? If I did though experiences like seeing @abradypus at the Country to Capital at mile 24 just wouldn’t happen. Randomly being stopped by runners in the street who recognise your picture from your blog or Twitter feed wouldn’t happen. And being recognised at ParkRun for your Vibram-clad monkey feet wouldn’t happen.

This conversation has been rattling around in my head for a few days now – I’m hoping it goes away soon.

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9 comments
  1. To be honest if you started going on about splits and elevations I wouldn’t read your blog – and please don’t ditch Twitter, I find it useful for motivation and tips. Yes join a running club cos then you’ve got the best of both worlds. Ignore those that counter every argument, they’re only jealous 🙂

  2. WalkToRio said:

    I don’t think you should dump blogging or twitting.
    After all a blog is supposed to be something personal, you express your point of view, your experiences, interests, you can rant and try to fix the world, but at the end of the day is something personal. Like an open diary, people decide if they read it or not.
    I personally find all the “elevation, pace, VO2max” talking a bit boring, if you want an expert’s point of you, you ask an expert, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share yours, but dwelling on that keeps newbies off. The whole idea of blogging is to build a community with people who share the same interest right?
    So, blog on!

    Check spell is overrated lol

  3. Whatever works for you is what counts for you. Whatever works for him is what counts for him. There’s no right or wrong.

    • I certainly agree we all need to follow our own path and I would never suggest anyone follows my way of doing things – in fact I tell people they should look at me and do the exact opposite 🙂 it was simply disappointing to have a chap I consider a friend suggest that what I was doing was a bit of a waste. Thanks for commenting too 🙂

  4. psychojog365 said:

    As someone traing for my first ultra, reading others ultra/running experiences helps debunk myths fears and questions. Don’t stop!

  5. Dear Gods not splits and elevation stats. If I want those I’ll look at the course profile on the race website. What I can’t find there is any clue about how to persevere when my race isn’t going to plan or how to get out the door when I really don’t feel like it. Those, and sheer entertainment, I will get from blogs.

    As for blogging / tweeting versus joining a running club, I do both. But it’s the blogs and twitter which inform / entertain / motivate when I’m commuting, awake at stupid o’clock or stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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