Why I Encourage Athletes to Be Hard on Themselves

The conditions for this year’s Boston Marathon were famously brutal, claiming many victims among the race’s 27,000 participants. Among them was professional runner Kellyn Taylor, who dropped out at 20K with symptoms of hypothermia. In a tweet posted later that day,...

Are You Uncoachable?

The best teacher I ever had was a sociology professor at Haverford College named Mark Gould. I’ll never forget the first day of the first class I took with him. He basically spent 90 minutes scaring the shit out of the two-dozen 18- and 19-year-old students in the...

Why Endurance Training Can’t Be Reduced to a Formula

Recently I tested a prototype of a wearable device that is intended to help runners monitor and control the intensity of their runs. During my back-and-forth email communications with the product’s lead developer, he sent me a link to a study titled “Intensity- and...

The Human Body Is Not a Smartphone

Last week I received an email message from Dawn, a runner who had just purchased The Runner’s Diary, a book I authored back in 2008. Maybe “book” isn’t the right word. As the title suggests, it’s mainly just a training log, but it does offer some training and...

Why I Eat Pretty Much the Same at 47 As I Did at 32

Recently I was invited to comment on the standard breakfast menus of several top ultrarunners for an article published on the REI Co-op Journal. Most of the seven athletes who were represented consumed fairly standard high-carbohydrate fare such as oatmeal, cold...

Making Periodization Intuitive

The term periodization refers to the practice of dividing the training process into distinct phases, each of which is defined by a specific purpose and made up of workouts that are intended to fulfill its purpose. Simply put, an athlete who practices periodization...

How to Set a Good Race Time Goal

Many of the posts I write for this blog are inspired by athlete FAQ’s. Well, this is another one. And, quite honestly, I’m note sure why it has taken me so long to write it, because it answers one of the top three most frequently asked questions I get from runners who...

How to Avoid the Moderate-Intensity Rut as a Trail Runner

Trail running is becoming more and more popular—statistics say so. But I don’t need statistics to know that increasing numbers of runners are taking to the trails. I can tell by the emails I receive from advice-seeking athletes, a rising percentage of which are sent...

3 Things That Work, But Not the Way Most Runners Think

There are lots of running-related techniques and methods that are widely known to be effective but that achieve their effects in different ways than most runners believe or assume. For example, drinking water and consuming carbohydrate during endurance exercise are...