Wednesday, October 11, 2006


In case anyone is interested, here's a sneak peek at my first article for the RunMinnesota magazine. Rather than just introduce my blog, I thought I'd write an article on blogging in general. It should appear in the November/December issue, so maybe there will be a bump in blog traffic.

It started innocently enough, like any other addiction. Umm, I mean habit. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had heard the word ‘blog’ before but I associated them with some off the wall organization or political movement. I never considered that there were blogs out there on topics I was interested it, like running. Then I came across an article in Runner’s World on blogging. At the end of the article it listed links to five or six running blogs. Later I followed the links and check out all the blogs.

Looking back, I think that Runner’s World article should have come with a warning label. “WARNING: Surf blogs at your own risk. You may get sucked in.” That’s exactly what happened. I found that I could really relate to one of the blogs listed in that article. I book marked it and started checking in daily. Then I started leaving comments regarding the stuff I read. Clicking on comments that others left led me to their blogs. Again I’d book mark the ones I liked and the number of blogs I read began to grow.

And then it happened, slowly at first and then more and more frequently. I kept seeing blog entries that sounded as if I had written them. The next thing I knew I was registering on a website and setting up my own blog. Re-reading my first entry I can see that I had no idea what lay in store; “The creation of this blog is spur of the moment. It could be fun and entertaining, it could suck. There’s only one way to find out.” That was nearly two years ago.

This article will list some of the reasons that runners blog, ways to get you started and tips on helping you get your blog read.

Whether you’re looking for a web log to track your training, looking to meet people with common interests or looking to hone your writing skills in an effort to get published in RunMinnesota, starting a blog may be the way to go.

Ever since I started running, I’ve kept a typical running log book that tracks mileage, time, pace, weather, races and so on. I even have a section for comments where I usually write such ‘in depth’ comments as “felt good” or “legs tired”. My blog actually complements my log book because I’m able to do a better job of expressing my thoughts and feelings (my wife will love to hear that). I can write more details about each run, why I missed a workout or switched workouts around, what’s going through my head as I taper for a key race, etc. Best of all, I can put my race goals in writing (for the whole world to see) and then write up a race report with all the gory details.

Maybe you want to “meet” runners that can relate to what you’re going through. Whether you’re just getting started with your running career, trying to break 2:30 for a marathon or are somewhere in between, there are other bloggers out there like you. Blogs offer a safe way to share experiences, offer and receive advice and even make friends in a (mostly) supportive environment.

If the social aspect is what you’re looking for there are many ways to find other running blogs. You can visit the Running Blog Family Directory at It lists nearly 1,000 running blogs along with a short description of each. Once you find just one running blog the web extends from there. As I mentioned you can find more blogs in the comment section and people usually place links to their favorite blogs off to the side. Keep in mind that, like in life, bloggers tend to gravitate towards other bloggers that they can relate to. So if you find one blog that you like, the chances are that similar blogs are nearby.

Here are a few of my favorites;

Mike - A blog about trying to understand, interpret and perform Arthur Lydiard's fabled training while juggling a job and family.

Duncan - If you're looking for cynical and sarcastic, look no further.

Sara - A recent Ironman finisher whose posts are as inspirational as they are fun to read.

Susan - She's not afraid to blog about any bodily function and how it pertains to running. She's funny, clever, witty and extremely creative.

Alright, now your interest is piqued and you want to become a blogger. But how do you get started? First, make sure you have ten minutes to spare. Seriously. Websites like Blogger, Livejournal and Xanga are free and offer step by step guidelines for setting up your blog. I use Blogger and it was a simple three step process; create an account, name your blog and choose a design. If you’re still not comfortable doing it on your own, you can contact Susan at Sumyblogs and she’ll help you set up your blog for a fee.

Finally, here are some tips and advice on blogging, especially if you’re looking for social connections. First, write often. You don’t have to post daily, but if you take weeks off at a time people will lose interest. Second, keep it interesting. Not every post has to keep readers on the edge of their seats, but you don’t want to bore them to tears either. Third, if you want people to read your blog you’re going to have to do a little marketing. The best way to do that is to leave comments on other people’s blogs. Most people get comments from the same people over and over. When they see a comment from someone new they will check out that person’s blog. Lastly, use common sense. You never know who’s reading, so if there’s something you don’t want others to know, don’t post it.

Since that Runner’s World article failed to mention it, I’d better do it here; “WARNING: Surf blogs at your own risk. You may get sucked in.” It could be fun and entertaining, it could suck. There’s only one way to find out.

Chad followed his dad out the door when he was 10 years old and has been running ever since. That was 27 years ago. He's been addicted to blogging for nearly 2 years. You can check out more of his writing at Simon Says Run.


Duncan Larkin said...

Zeke, congrats on being published! Thank you for the 'nod' in the article. Good luck with your taper and may you not suffer from taper madness and seek to travel up river in search of Kurtz and his band of atrophied savages.

Lance Notstrong said...

Great article!!! You're right, blogging can really suck you in.

I'm "crushed" that I'm not one of your fav's Notstrong....a "never have run a marathon" runner LOL!!!

I'm hoping to change that in December :-)

Chad said...

Duncan, I was going to use "sardonic" (like you mentioned a couple of weeks ago in a comment) but I figured if I had to look it up, so will others.

I'm actually feeling great during this taper. I hope to post more about it tomorrow.

Thanks Lance. Sorry to crush your hopes and dreams. It was tough picking only 4 blogs. If it makes you feel any better you were 5th on my list.

Trisaratops said...

That's awesome! And not just cuz you said some nice words and gave me a plug. :) Congrats on the publications! Very well deserved.

Gettin' excited for Chi-Town?

Lance Notstrong said...

5th huh? That DOES make me feel better......besides, Trisaratops deserves it, she did finish some race in Wisconsin I hear :-)

Mike said...

Hey Zeke- ya gots skills- congrats! You've listed some great blogs to suck people in too...Susan is hilarious and Duncan's is one of the best blogs out there....your blog would be a great start too

Taper time eh? Rest and recharge!