Sunday, April 7, 2013

Roast

A reflection on running-blogging today! Let's get meta.  

The myth of the blogging formula.

There seems to be a formula, originated and spread from popular bloggers who likely learned through trial and error what drives readers to come back (did I win that giveaway?!), what drives readers to comment (questions at the end of a blog post), what leads to income for the blogger (be very kind to brands and companies that may want to advertise or gift you things).

There are, obviously, no actual rules you have to follow to run a blog.  When I started blogging in early 2011, I knew this to be true, and I purposefully intended to not sound like the blogs I was reading.  I intended to document my running, to call out blogging bullshit, to have some fun, to communicate with like minded bloggers.  And still, I fell into some elements of the blogging formula.

For instance:

  • I often posed questions at the end of posts (and I reserve the right to do this again! Sometimes it is the only way to get concentrated feedback if I desire it--otherwise the comments are all over the place.  Since my posts are often all over the place); 
  • I felt some obligation to try and post every other day, and when that proved to be too unrealistic, I aimed for twice a week;
  • I tried to swap comments with every blogger who commented here.  It only seemed fair?
  • I tried to find a way to get a picture of me in every post.  I truly thought that posts needed pictures to be complete, and needed a picture of the author for the reader to feel like they were connecting and remember exactly who was talking.

Of the many elements to the blogging formula, the element that drives probably most of us crazy is product placement--typically via giveaways and reviews.  

When I first started blogging, within several months I had a giveaway.  For no fucking reason at all.  I was sucked into the blogging formula trap, and I figured that as a blogging rule, I owed it to the world to have a giveaway.  It was pretty pathetic; I scoured through the "last minute gifts" bag in the closet at our home and gave away a book and some food.  Really pathetic.  But I did still try to have fun with it by "hiding" the giveaway for readers who were doing more than skimming.

The only other giveaway I recall was a running calendar I was gifted for Christmas and I didn't want.  Since then, nothing for you.  But a bunch of selfies of me.

I do have a couple things lying around that were sent to me via contact to my blog email that I should probably give someone (Aquaphor sunscreen chapstick anyone?) and a number of emails I never replied to with offers (headphones or a free running e-book?).  I haven't figured out when, if ever, I can bundle these things for a proper giveaway.  

You know what the best free thing would be? Free race entries.  Let's do that.  That is something that would legitimately enhance my life.

Anyway, since we have to sit through blog post after blog post of product placement, here today and now, we have earned our right to be entertained by these brands.   Today, we do a running-blogger-brand roast.

Here are the brands on the chopping block:

1) COMPEX

Where to start, Compex.  One of your problems is that you sound like a legal discovery/court reporter vendor.  Because there literally is an e-discovery legal vendor called Compex.

TOO COMPLICATED!


Every time I see the word "compex" at work, I think about what a stupid legal vendor name that is.

It's also a stupid name for an electrostimulation product.

The bigger problem is that I don't know anyone who uses compex, except for people who are paid (via free Compex) to use compex.   Has anyone ever purchased a compex?

Whatever science is behind it, the cavemen didn't need electrostimulation to recover from their deer-hunting runs, so I will surely survive without it.  I barely believe in the foam roller or the ice bath, so this one can be thrown in the pile of "do not want to add wires to my normal running routine thanks for the $$$ option though."

Compex is good practice for disassembling a bomb


2) NUUN

Whooops.  Did Nuun just discover that nobody cares about Nuun except the eager beavers who have already ambassadored for Nuun in the past?

I haven't heard a word about Nuun hood-to-coast this year outside of the alumni more or less saying "it's so great, we have been expelled from the opportunity to run it again, but YOU should!"

crickets.

no thanks?

Sure, running HTC is expensive, I hear, and getting to run it for free thanks to Nuun is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I dunno.  If it's that expensive, and that worth it, you can make it work without repping Nuun.  We can save some money like we do for all the other races we run each year.  Invite some real friends.  Rep a company that loves all athletes regardless of gender and whether they have a blog.  Or rep Nuun if you really love Nuun, I guess.  Water is pretty awesome for quenching thirst though.  Have you heard?

Or you could have an Airborne, which seems like the same thing...
   

3) PRO-COMPRESSION

My in-laws got me a pair of these for Christmas because I specifically asked for a good pair of compression socks.  I've had a lot of problems with my left calf this year that seems to me to be directly related to the leg-lock sensation I get when running fast.  Thought compression could be worth a try.  I don't know the difference from brand to brand, but my pair seem nice.

The reason Pro-Compression is on the chopping block today is because I DON'T NEED TO HEAR ABOUT YOU EVERY WEEK because of a 35% off sale or a special holiday design.  Goodness they've done a good job of keeping themselves relevant by having a Groupon deal everyday, a discount code everyday, a new design everyday.

$50!? Maybe!? Oh oh, $38 with a coupon code?! totally worth it for SOCKS.


This is called creating a false sense of desire.  Ooh! New color!? Must buy so I can wear it on the ONE St. Patrick's day race of the year!

(On a related note, paying $70+ for a Halloween costume has always blown my mind.  All that money for ONE wear? Dude, if you're going out in a $70 slutty Alice in Wonderland outfit, you're probably going somewhere where everyone is too drunk to notice your outfit anyway....)

Aaaand, let's roll out the orange and black compression socks for sale in October.

4) OISELLE

Let the brand speak for itself--they make really good running shorts.  I have been loyal to the Oiselle distance running short for over a year now.  However, I've found a couple other pairs of shorts by other brands that I like just as much, so they don't have a monopoly on good women's running shorts....one more wrong move and I can easily move right on (5-pocket RoadRunner brand short; RaceReady shorts).

But, Oiselle of course doesn't let the quality of it's clothing speak for itself.  Instead they promote flowery running diaries about self love (at least that's what I've gleaned from my cursory reading of the blog world), they have pretend giveaways for self-promotion, they have fashion shows, they tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet, and then they kidnap Lauren Fleshman.

Lauren Fleshman is one girl I will listen to.  So instead of considering Ms. Fleshman poisoned, I will consider Oiselle slightly redeemed.  Ever so slightly....

****AND NOW.  Moving on from blog-branding to other blog trends on my mind*****

5) COACHES

Coach.  Everybody has a coach.

I feel like my side-eye towards this one is supposed to be derived from jealousy.  But I can't get jealous about this one.  The idea of a coach sounds like being stripped of all my freedom and taking ten steps backwards to the days when I played high school soccer and I was disciplined with 4 laps for having too much fun while playing soccer.

We are grown ups.  If we want a training plan, can't we follow directions without someone being paid to hold our hand?  Like, aren't there 18 billion training plans on the internet and in bookstores?

Perhaps it's a problem for me and my potential growth as a runner, but no part of me is interested in following a mandatory email plan from a coach.  I can do a general instruction of "one tempo/week, one track day/week, one long run/week".  And then sorta kinda follow that.

Maybe I'm completely naive and coaches do things for amateur runners that books and online plans can not.

*note--"amateurs".  If you're knocking on the door of a 2:50 marathon, I completely understand that this requires a different level of training, attention, direction, safety, and motivation.  Elites can have coaches.  Duh.

Actually, fine, amateurs can have coaches too.  I just do not understand why anyone would want one.  A coach seems like overkill for a hobby.  Let's say your hobby is cooking and making recipes.  Maybe you go to a class? One or two? but no coach.  Your hobby is photography? Again, read some books, some blogs, maybe take a class.  No coach.

I love to run and learn about running my own way.  I can very clearly see the ways that I am a terrible self coach, but let me learn from my mistakes on my own. Hokay coach?

If I wanted the discipline, oh boy I could dish it out to myself.  If I needed to reach a running goal THAT BAD, I could make myself a plan and follow it.  Nothing has sparked the desire in me for that kind of discipline though.  In fact, running is kind of my escape from the sometimes four rigid corners of my day.  I get to do what I WANT. My deadlines are my own.

And lastly, why are the coaches never ever ever ever ever a woman?

5) GIFS

GIFs on a blog are at first glance a good thing.  They indicate a funny blog.  Or at least a blog that is trying to be funny.  Some really good blogs are GIFaholics.

But I think, perhaps, we can call for a one GIF per blog post limit?

As far as I can tell nobody on the internet is complaining about GIFs, so they aren't causing any harm.  The reasons I can't handle GIF-based blog posts:

  • When the little moving pictures do all the work, the entire blog post can become derivative.  Find 10 funny GIFs created by someone else, throw them on a blog post, and add some captions to work around them.  GIF first, writing content second.  
  • GIFs freeze on my ipad (or other device).  I end up sitting there trying to read a blog post, a GIF is moving at about one frame per 20 seconds, and I can't decide whether to move on or whether the GIF could be so awesome that I should keep staring and waiting.  Technology hasn't caught up with a page full of GIFs, and so I'm stuck developing rage from a slowly jerking image of an animal/infant/celebrity making a hillaaarious reaction.
  • When the GIFs do work, that's another headache in itself.  The whole flipping page is dancing.  I'm tryin to read here, eh!
  • They can be very, very funny.  But sometimes I have no idea what I'm looking at.  Is this a zombie television show reference? I don't get it.
6) SOLID FOODS

Solid foods are gross and overrated, they don't taste that good, liquid foods are way, way better tasting.  Anybody who happens to be trying to heal themselves on a juice fast is not missing out on anything!

(For Ali).

Your turn to roast please

175 comments:

  1. Funny post. Btw I love oiselle apparel but I might have to give those others shorts a try

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  2. Dude, this is amazing. And hilarious.

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  3. I didn't even know what NUUN was until it just appeared in the blogging world...I have still never tried it. Also-procompression really came about in the last 6 months or so I think. I hadn't even heard of them either (I alternate between cep and zensah...) and now it seems like those are not the "cool" compression socks. Not that I care in the slightest.

    Giveaways should be relevant to your blog I think. Not just random crap that no one cares about...do I really need 20 bars that you didn't want? No...I don't even enter those anymore. I'd be all over free race entry giveaways..and a free ticket to the west coast.

    I have nothing to add about gifs but I just find them obnoxious...take them back to tumblr.

    Finally, the topic of coaches. If you want a coach that is fine. I don't want one right now because I'm improving without anyone up my butt and I don't want a rigorous plan. BUT it seems like those who throw around their coach and that they are coached are not elite runners and feel they are above those not being coached. I personally think that a lot of bloggers who claim they have a coach...don't and just use it to justify their whackass delusional actions.

    Oh and I have to say the slutty halloween costume comment had me laughing for quite some time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Until recently, when Nuun began sending pretty girls to promote Nuun at race expos, it seemed to exclusively exist in the blog world. That's how we all learned about it (I think)!

      Delete
  4. HAHAHA. It's 6:48 AM and you, RR, have made my day. That last bit was so good and I love you for it.

    I've never Compexed, have never worn Oiselle, have never tried Nuun and the pair of Pro Compression socks that a friend gave me come up to my mid-thighs. Blogger fail all around.

    But mostly, thank you for telling me that food is gross. I TOTALLY believe you ;)

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    1. THREE MORE DAYS! I believe in you! If I had a cowbell I would be ringing it to cheer you on. Hope you are feeling better by the day.

      Delete
  5. I hate it when the running blogs get all incestuous. "Omg I ran this amazeballs race and road-tripped there with Blogger A and Blogger B and Blogger C and Blogger D! I stole a lot of these photos from their blogs so you can see them three or four times! Runboner!"

    It's probably not a legit complaint - BLOGGERS ARE ALLOWED TO BE FRIENDS I GUESS - but some people do it well and some people do it obnoxiously.

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    1. Relay recaps get the "mark as read" click from me for this very reason. But man, sometimes it is HARD not to gush when you meet an absolutely awesome blogger. The line between cute and obnoxious is a thin one!

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  6. Meta blogging is so much fun! I certainly don't care about what other bloggers do. Their blog, their choice, my choice to read or not. Literacy is a basic requirement for me, but I'm picky that way. I don't follow the so called basic rules for blogging, and have no intention of doing so.
    Nuun is pretty good stuff for longer workouts, but it's not the everything.
    Compression is over rated. I think.
    Coaches. I had one for IMC, because I didn't know how much to train, or how to break it up so I didn't kill myself with over training, or over doing it. But other than that, why? And the thing that really gets me about coaching is that here you are, you've gone through some kind of a selection process, and you're paying that person real money, and then you second guess them, or argue with them? Get a life.

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    1. If "IMC" is a triathlon, then you have my approval for having a coach. You could probably learn a lot about triathlons by the book as well, but it doesn't sound nearly as simple as "put on running shoes, go run, run faster to get faster" which is my take on the simplicity of running...

      I didn't know arguing with a coach was a party of the process! Sounds delightful.

      Delete
  7. Ooooh I like this one! I'm totally with you on Compex & NUUN (although Compex has only shown up on one blog I read). But still- overkill on that shit. I have been tempted by the compression sleeves but have yet to take the plunge. I think because they are so COLORFUL and I'm drawn to shiny pretty things like a moth to a flame. Maybe you should do a giveaway....

    GIFS are best left to sites like whatshouldwecallme. However- I miss having a coach so so so much! To be fair my college coach was the best: he was tough without being mean, had experience to back up his workouts, and also could do all the runs with us (I mean his 5k pr is 13:50 so running with some DIII women was no sweat). I liked having someone holding me accountable and making me push through the last mile of a tempo. So I guess I'd only want my old college coach back, not some e-coach.

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    1. Your coach sounds like a great one! I still get anxiety when I think about my high school track coach and he was a harmless guy! I guess that's where my anti-coach feeling originates. Wringing my hands all day in school worrying how many 400 repeats I would have to do at 2:00 p.m. with my pizza lunch barely digesting.

      You should try out a pair of compression socks, but I would recommend a more neutral color! I don't know which brand is best. I have an "active recovery" brand pair that seem just about the same...

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  8. Oh my gosh I was JUST thinking about this topic: all the brands that are solely blog-famous. I think Compex gets me the most. Are they serious? Who on earth would pay that much for this gadget? And who has time to use it? I can already blame injuries or quirks on the fact that I finish my runs at 8 am and can barely find time to shower, eat, and pack lunch by 8:30 when I leave for work. If I don't have time to massage a stiff calf I certainly don't have time to apply defibrillator pads to my quads.
    Nuun: still haven't tried it although I have a free tube somewhere. I probably never will because I just don't carry fluids with me on the run, although in the past I've brought Gatorade for long summer runs when the temps and humidity were both over 95. So maybe this summer. But yes, the HTC thing? Nothing about it. No one cares anymore. And I certainly won't be applying. I'm not sure I "get" relays anyway, but if I do cram myself in a van for a few days with a bunch of runners, it better be people I know, like, and who can put up with me sleepless and smelly.
    Compression: Maybe it works, but I never give it a chance. I do have some shorts I got for cheap on Ebay and they feel great if my quads are tight, but geez, the colors and patterns - who cares?! Also big sneaky secret: drug stores have been selling legit compression for half the price for years. People who have varicose veins or work on their feet buy them.
    Oiselle: Will never buy anything new from them ever because I don't like their marketing. But if it pops up on Ebay I might try it. Also if I spend money on new clothes I spend it at Varsity Sports, my local store and running group.
    Coaches: I think this would only work if your coach was local. Distance? Might as well just use an online training plan, right?
    Thanks for putting it out in the open. I'd say your brave, but...nah, internet bravery is another bloggy myth!

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    1. "I can already blame injuries or quirks on the fact that I finish my runs at 8 am and can barely find time to shower, eat, and pack lunch by 8:30 when I leave for work." = exactly me too. When I can find the spare minutes, the basics are going to get my attention (shower, stretch).

      Good tip on the drugstore compression!

      And your last line is fantastic. Everyone is brave on the internet!!

      Delete
  9. Yes, it was a zombie show reference.

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    1. Speaking of my gif stupidity, did I really need to capitalize GIF each time I wrote it? I don't think that was necessary. I'm one step away from the generation of old un-hip people who think LOL means lots of love.

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    2. Nah, fuck that. Gif is a common noun in my book. (Because I wrote about a book...what, you don't have a book deal yet? WHAT KIND OF BLOGGER ARE YOU??)

      Delete
    3. In my book, all acronyms have to be in caps lock (because I do have a book--How to Run WIthout A Coach, by Coach RoseRunner)

      Delete
  10. I get how all these things are irritating, and I've definitely raised an eyebrow at them all. But I don't really care how people write their blogs. What bothers me about this stuff is that EVERYONE does it so that there's this huge convergence of blog content. Sometimes I feel like all the blogs on my reader are just reiterations of each other. Boring.

    What will really drive me away from a blog is really, really poor writing skills. I mean the kind of writing that seem to lack syntax, that leave me feeling a little confused (and not in the fun "garden path sentences" kind of way). I just literally cannot read that stuff.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I follow a few blogs that I have fun with because I often have NO idea what they are talking about! There is no structure, just a jumble of thoughts. Then I realize half of my posts probably sound like that.

      I know what you mean about blogs sounding alike...but there are a number of unique butterflies out there! Clean up your reader so only the good remain

      Delete
  11. I hate it when blogs are well-written and have no gifs or pics.

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  12. I like Nuun. I have no interest in filming a ridiculous video of me begging to be on their HTC team, but I do like the product. I sweat a LOT, and the -ades make me want to puke. Nuun seems to work for me.

    I also love compression. I don't know if it actually helps, or if it's a placebo effect, but I like it. CEP > PRO > Zensah.

    Oiselle is fucking DUMB and their stuff is okay, but the owner seems like a giant bitch. And that journal. Puke.

    And, finally, I have a coach, that I hired when I trained for my first marathon, because I like to talk things out and I am terrible terrible terrible at discipline. It helped me for awhile. Also, my coach was a chick.

    That compex machine is weird, man.


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    1. Go woman coach! Glad she was helpful for a while. I think you are only 1/4 of a "terrible" at discipline, at most, but definitely not three terribles.

      You know what I LOVE to grab at a 7-11 on a hot run? A lemonade vitamin water zero. I bet that would feel better than the ades. But I guess popping a Nuun in your water bottle is probably easier/cheaper than stopping at 7-11. FINE.

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    2. I don't even care that they are charging me more for the fake vitamins in the water. I love orange vitamin water and I'm glad at least one other person has admitted to liking expensive water.

      Delete
  13. Ha! This was great. I'm a relatively new reader; this is the first time I've commented. I have to admit though: I sometimes read running blogs and feel like maybe I DO need to spend hundreds of dollars on compex. Maybe it WILL help me run faster. But then I just cant swallow the price and remind myself that, please, I do not need to attach myself to a weird little machine and why don't I just try foam rolling a little more (which I really hate but do think helps) if my leg/hip/whatever hurts.

    I do think that there is something to compression socks but only for after long runs. They dont seem to make a difference during the runs for me. Never tried pro compression- I like CEP.

    Nuun is actually pretty good but by no means as awesome as so many bloggers claim.

    Agree with giraffy...that Oiselle journal is the dumbest thing ever.

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    1. Another vote for CEP! I'll have to try that when my Pro-C ones wear out.

      If you really respect and trust a blogger's product opinion, go for it, but 99% of the time YOU DON'T NEED IT. You barely need ANYTHING to run. Can you believe that you REALLY can run without a Bic band on!? It's easy! You just look less like a princess!

      Delete
    2. Hey, BIC Bands I love. 1. I have weird hair and that shit holds my flyaways down. (I guess, really, any band would, but this is the brand I pick, because....) 2. They donate $1 of each band sold to charity - over the last two years, they've donated $4,000 to pediatric cancer research and my team. So they get a pass from me.

      Sparkly Soul, though. Blech.

      Delete
    3. BIC Bands has a wonderful heart, but they still contribute to the world of making blog readers think they need a thousand superfluous things in order to run. Not quite in the same territory as a "medal rack," since some runners do like and use headbands. I ran with a headband (goody brand, fifty cents) for two straight years before realizing my eyeballs wouldn't be covered in hair without one. Now I never get headaches when I run, and I don't have the flyaways that used to be born from wearing headbands...

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  14. I have a "coach" right now, but by coach I mean my best friend who is a far more experienced runner than I am is helping me to hopefully achieve a nice PR on the third anniversary of my first half marathon. Otherwise, I would never pay for a coach, because you're right, this is a hobby. She is a woman, although I'm not paying her.

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    1. Aw, that's an awesome friend. I've considered having friends coach me (XLMIC) but am still too devoted to spontaneity to get that lined up.

      Delete
  15. This is hilarious and I'm totally with you on most of these, although I do have a coach and I really love it. I was really struggling with nagging injuries when I first started running and running with a coach helped me train much smarter. I'm also super type A, OCD and love having a schedule although my coach doesn't just blindly send it to me. We sit down and talk about the workouts and build them together so it's also educational. Yes I could probably read books and blogs and through trial and error put things together but I've also made some really good progress over the last two years of running with a coach. Maybe I'm just impatient but I like the quicker progress.

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    1. Awesome! Thanks for giving me some perspective on how a coach can be worth it. I love that your coach meets with you in person.

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  16. I kind of love this post. I will have to say that you omitted one thing that bugs me... When people post tons of meme pics, or just pics that aren't theirs in their post. A) you could be running into copyright infringement because I'm not seeing credit listed and b) it's unnecessary. Cute sure, but are you just trying to make your post longer by adding 10 someecards.

    Well blogged! And you just reminded me why I love your blog. :)

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    1. This is the main reason I had to stop reading Running Off The Reeses (sorry if we're not allowed to mention specific blogs here, but her ENTIRE BLOG is memes, screengrabs, gifs and random pictures of male celebrities/the royals, none of which she created). Just. No. Stop.

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    2. I went over there to see what you were talking about and I almost had a seizure. My god.
      Also, regarding the copyright stuff: I think it's pretty safe if the images are macros or memes that have 11000 different versions. If she's swiping original celeb photos (which it looks like maybe she is), that's probably where there could be trouble. The paparazzi don't fuck around.

      Delete
    3. Awwww, guys I love me some ROTR. She does all the hard work of finding funny stuff on the web for me to click over to. The zombies and housewives make my ipad have a seizure, but the rest is fun.

      Delete
  17. The other day I actually thought, "Maybe I should apply for that HTC thing because I have a blog now...?" I dunno, it reminds me of that time I joined a sorority and thought, welp, should I start sleeping around a lot? I had hoped by the time I reached my late 20s I'd be more immune to the social influence of small, insular groups, but here we are. I do think it seems like we've reached a breakthrough point in our collective level of awareness -- I haven't heard anyone gush about their flower journals for a long time, now.

    MY major rant right now is about those gimmicky races -- lasers? mud? glow sticks? huh? and especially the "girl power" races that are everywhere right now.

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    1. I feel the same way about those gimmicky races! I'm sorta insulted when someone asks me if I'm going to "run" one of those -- it's like, "AS IF!!" And don't get me started on the "girl power" ones... though, truth be told, I'm running an all women's trail race in August. (Pot, kettle, etc.)

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    2. Jen, I was just going to reply to Outside Time that one well-executed women's race is the one in Aptos in August (skirt/dirt something or other). Hope that's the one you are doing! It is TOUGH and serious women show up. No actual skirts seen, no champagne glasses at the finish line.

      My college sorority was a relatively non-slutty bunch of cool girls. I equally like to surround myself with non-slutty blogs. Whatever that means? Sluts are cool too.

      Delete
    3. Hey, I was in a sorority with relatively non-slutty girls too! Also, I want to note that no one had an eating disorder (to my knowledge) and most of us worked our way through school.

      The race I'm running is the Skirt n Dirt. It's in Redwood Regional at the end of August. (There is another race called She Rocks the Trails in June, which is part of the same series of women's trail races.) I signed up for the 25K which has 3000' elevation gain. I'm a little frightened, actually... time to woman up!

      Delete
    4. I second the gimmicky race thing. I don't get it. I will not be running one.

      Delete
    5. There's a "Dirt Inspires" half in Aptos, right? I had some running club friends that ran it last year, they said it was fun & well organized. They don't run in skirts :)

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  18. I feel like what may have started as a good thing with some of these companies has backfired. I know so many runners who are so disgusted with their marketing ploys to bloggers that they flat out refuse to use and/or purchase the product (myself included). News flash Oiselle - we don't take you seriously anymore.

    Compex is my personal fave, because as someone mentioned above 1) ain't nobody got time for that 2) It's expensive! I clicked on the "sale" like once on a blog I really like and saw it was still like $300.

    Also way over the gimmick races. SO MUCH RAGE FOR COLOR RUNS.

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    1. Yes to the gimmick races! The color run just baffles me in its stupidity!

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    2. eatdrinkrun tackled the problem of the color runs well before I even knew what they were. Go find her post!

      Delete
  19. You know, I actually like Nuun for what it really is: a no-calorie water-flavor-er. I get sick of drinking plain water sometimes. If people just admitted thats what they liked it for - and admitted that it is impossible for this product WITH NO CARBS OR PROTEIN IN IT to enhance recovery or whatever it claims to do - I think I would have a lot more tolerance of the shilling thereof.

    Couldn't agree more re training plans v. coaches. I can read books. 90% of coaches I would even have access to, are not going to provide any more information than a few good running books.

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    1. I should add - one thing I could see being useful in a coach, is someone who can review and point out training mistakes that you get blind to (e.g. too many miles, running too fast etc.) But actually, the best advice Kristen and I get on this stuff often comes from each other - duo-bloggies FTW :)
      ~ Penny

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    2. You and Kristen are so cute and lucky to have each other!

      And I think you touched on something that didn't even materialize in my mind--OF COURSE that's why it's marketed through lady bloggers only. It's a diet product!

      Delete
  20. This was....yes. Perfection. (Also, I had never heard of Nuun until they got roasted on a snark website...uhhh??)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that means my blog and Nuun have something in common....hehe

      Delete
  21. I avoid giveaways like the plague and I'm highly dubious of reviews linked to giveaways. Knowing a little about how these things work, I just don't trust that people can give a truly unbiased opinion when they are given things for free. Human nature just doesn't work that way!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Haha, I say, MORE GIFs!! One day will you do just a whole blog post of only GIFs? That would be awesome. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I agree with most of your post, but there are a lot of upsides to having a coach. When I started my work as a volunteer pacer for the San Francisco marathon/half-marathon, we had to work with a few coaches for long runs and track workouts. It was my first time ever working with a running coach, and I really wish I had one sooner, because he introduced me to a lot of unpleasant speed workouts that I would have never done on my own (because I hate speed workouts!).

    Also, there was a time when I had problems with my Achilles tendon and he told me to start wearing compression socks, which kept me from of dropping out of a race AND the hospital.

    When I started training ten years ago I had to drop out of the first race I ever registered for, because I was simply doing too much way too soon. Didn't following a plan, just tried to run longer than the previous day. I don't work closely with my coach now (I just see him once a week), but it is great to have someone tell me when I'm doing too much or that I can work a lot harder.

    The other coach I worked with (for long runs and general training) was a woman. Now that I don't volunteer with SFM I don't see her that much, but we still keep in touch. She had us do yoga after long runs, and I don't really enjoy yoga, but I think it kept me healthy during that training period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only the internet existed 10 years ago! All the answers were right at your fingertips. And bloggers who know everything of course.

      Sounds like coaches help keep you smart and uninjured. But you've scared me away by warning that they force yoga on you! ;)

      Delete
  24. Wow, this put into words everything I'm feeling right now.

    Another brand that has disappointed me lately is Brooks. I don't quite understand why they're choosing "ambassadors" who are barely running 25 miles a week or training for anything seriously. I don't need a review of a new shoe that was taken on a 2 mile shake-out.

    Ugh, and I still have a box of nuun i purchased a year ago. I couldn't get the stuff down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know!! Why does Brooks sponsor runners who don't seem to understand what the shoe is for, or how to properly test it? I definitely don't think it reflects well on Brooks when their ambassadors don't seem to have any knowledge about, or even curiosity to acquire knowledge about shoes. I get the sense that most of their ambassadors don't know or care about differences between shoes and would jump ship for whoever gave them the most $hit.

      Delete
    2. I would have added this to the chopping block if I knew about it...who what huh?

      HRG is the only Brooks sponsored runner I read, which makes Brooks a genius as far as I can tell since that adorable family is catalog modeling perfection

      Delete
    3. I wanted to chime in and say that after 3 years and several pairs of Brooks, I switched to Mizuno. I made the decision after a blogger received a pair of Brooks (trail shoes, I believe) and didn't even run in them. She took them out for a stroll on the sidewalk. Not even a trail. The sidewalk. You're going to send shoes to a #motherrunner who doesn't run, but you expect me to pay over $100 for them? NO.

      Delete
    4. That is a sad, sad waste of trail shoes. I need a pair of trail running shoes badly...

      Delete
  25. there goes my big plans for Tuesday GIF day (TGIF - get it)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get it, and I LOL'ed for real. You're cute.

      Delete
  26. I'm positive that if I had a run coach I'd get faster. I'm sure my form could be improved, and I'm aware that I need to learn to breathe better, especially during my sprinting. And, I have thought about it.

    But, I'd also get faster if I put in the effort myself. And if I'm not going to do that, why pay someone and skip the middle step?

    That said, I have a personal trainer, but weight lifting with shitty form = crippled for life, whereas running with shitty form = slower/dumber running. And my weight lifting form when left to my own devices is awful. Plus, I like telling people I have a personal trainer. It makes me feel like the 1%.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and your toned tush are the spokesperson for why one should get a personal trainer.

      I had this personal training session once for kettleballs, and the trainer almost broke my back by making me do WAYYY more than I was ready for. And I was too polite to stop breaking my back.

      Delete
    2. The downside of personal trainers is it's hard to tell if one is good unless you know enough already, and if you know enough already, you might not need one.

      I got really, really lucky with him. He likes to talk shit with me about how terrible some of the other pts are at him gym.

      My butt is probably 65% genetics, 30% weight lifting, 5% unicorn blood.

      Delete
    3. You got lucky, but so did he. You sound like a perfect personality match

      Delete
  27. I love you. I rarely comment on anyone's blog, but echo everything you stated. I have stopped following a certain well known running blog that I used to love. It has turned into a freaking ad every.single.say. No substance, no humor, just slopping together a post to get paid by the insertwhatevercompanyissponsoringmehere.So DONE with that!
    Rant over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean you don't enjoy when a period cup add pops up and follows you as you try to read about vitamin melts?

      Delete
  28. Flipping loved this so much. You dared say so many things that I don't dare say but often think. Which makes me feel a little spineless. It's been something that I've thought about a lot recently. If enough bloggers are raving about something (and I think they know more about it than I do), I tend to try something. Does that make me sensible or easily-infuenced? Or both? And how many of the above things can I actually start using and liking before I lose any semblance of my own voice and just sound like everyone else.

    There are a few things you mentioned that I quite like. I have a pair of Long Rogas and I like them lots. I drink some Nuun to recover from my drink, but primarily as another commenter said because it's a low-calorie way to change the taste of water.

    But yeah. This post is awesome. From top to bottom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not spineless. You're open to everything--posts like this one, and posts that promote products. Trust your judgment! It has worked so far if you've found two products that really work for you.

      Delete
  29. Well, these days everyone needs their hand holding for everything. Coaches, therapists...it's all a culture of co-dependency on other people. Yes, for elite runners coaches are necessary and I'm sure they know their stuff, but I'm the same as you in the respect that it would suck ALL of the fun out of running. I moan and whine that I don't reach my goals, but I want to do things my own way...not just because I'm stubborn and obstinate (although I am), but because I'd rather repeatedly screw things up but have a blast doing it than be stressed, anxious and hate running 24/7 because I'm working on someone else's schedule. I feel enough of a failure without having the pressure of conforming to someone else's expectations of me. Plus, I'd rather do things under my own steam - I want any achievements I do have to be MINE, not shared with a coach...to me it feels like cheating/an unfair advantage to an extent. Plus, as you say, what idiot can't follow an online training plan if they want to?

    I don't know if your (very percipient) remarks about coaching were a reaction to blogs, or if someone suggested that you should get a coach. I did read a thread on GOMI where someone thought you and I (and Sweaty Emily) would do better with a coach because we all run high mileage, and we get injured/frustrated quite a bit. I didn't really take it in because I was peeing my pants at the idea of being mentioned in the same sentence as you - the idea of me being anywhere near your calibre, with or without a coach, is utterly ludicrous.

    Anyway, completely agree about the other products too. I personally think Nuun tastes like watery shit - I'd rather use High Five Zeros in my water (not sure if these are a UK thing only?) because they taste gorgeous to me - really sour whereas Nuun is just so sweet it makes me want to barf.

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will own up to posting that comment on GOMI. I'm sorry for forcing this idea on anyone. I hard no idea how offensive this suggestion would sound. I think you both are very talented runners. Maybe this comes from a place of envy because I am so far removed from where my running used to be.

      Many years ago I worked with a coach and it was a great expierence overall. I didn't feel too much pressure and it wasn't to rigid. I knew I wasn't training for the olympics, but ithelped me get faster.

      Again I am really sorry.

      Delete
    2. Jessica--the coaching thing was based on noticing a solid 20% or more of the blogs I read (minus elites) have coaches, which is just something I never would have even close to considered plausible for a non-elite! It just never occurred to me. Not based on anything in GOMI, but we can be in each other's company any time! That's fantastic.

      Dolly--I remember you told me once I should get a coach/follow a plan and I thought it was inspiring! I was like "she's right! I will be such an awesome runner!" And then of course I immediately decided I could try that "later." I still think that. I still expect that at some point I will REALLY want that sub 3:00 and need some help to get there, but I think that help will be in the form of a physical therapist instead of a coach. Anyway, I bet Jessica will agree you have nothing to apologize for, again, I always love hearing your thoughts. (p.s. your baby is SO SO SO CUUUUTTTTE!)

      Delete
    3. Of course Dolly has nothing to apologise for. I think perhaps that's one of the problems deriving from the anonymous aspect of GOMI - I tend to assume that remarks come from a malevolent place because I have a suspicious nature by default, but if I'd known they had come from Dolly I would have realised that they were made with my best interests at heart.

      I second the baby cuteness, and I don't even like babies!

      Delete
  30. The only thing I would add to this is something about fitfluential. WTH is it anyway? I see it all around & it makes no sense to me. These are the things I think about while on a long run (not where my next Nuun will come from).

    You are a gifted runner & that's why you don't need a coach. :) I have a coach, but it's as part of a running group, so it's not quite the same thing as a one-on-one coach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, fitfluential is annoying and stupid. fatfluential on twitter does a good job of calling the fitfluential bloggers out.

      Delete
    2. ding ding ding look who did this roast ONE YEAR AGO. The "WTH is it anyway" was the theme.

      http://roserunner.blogspot.com/2012/03/ambassador-of-what.html

      me.

      Delete
  31. OK, yes, with you (though I can add a few), but I don't know if a coach counts as a brand you want to roast, unless you're roasting a particular coach (and, yes, I could do that). People totally hire writing coaches and piano instructors and all kinds of things for their hobbies. So. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing, but it's not unique to running.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct, coaching is not a brand, to quote my post above: "****AND NOW. Moving on from blog-branding to other blog trends on my mind*****"

      The piano/writing is a good point. Still, I had teachers/coaches in both piano and writing as a kid, just like a track coach in high school...and those are things I don't pay for as an adult because I have the skills, knowledge, and internet access to learn more about them if I need to, and because I guess I'm cheap? Or satisfied with improving at a slow pace?

      Delete
  32. I'll play devil's advocate here and put my thoughts out there.

    From the company's point of view - it takes a lot of passion, dedication, heart, soul, $$$, etc to build a product. Early prototyping, design, usability testing, tooling - all of this stuff happens before you even have something to market. And once you do, you have to fight your way into that market and essentially steal customers away from the big boys. It's not an easy road, especially for a small company/mom&pop type start-up. So if getting a few influential bloggers on board with your product helps you make money, it makes a lot of sense to me - probably the cheapest advertising you could hope for.

    Now, from the blogger's point of view ... hey, maybe I'm a misanthrope (or just severely jaded) but I believe that everyone has a price. I'd love to sit here and say I would never shill for some quack e-stim machine, or magic mushroom supplements, or nutjob protein powder/bar/whatever. But if Magic Mushroom Supplements, Inc wanted to cut me a check for $100k, let's be honest - I'll tell anyone who will listen just how magical these mushrooms are.

    All that said, I won't pretend I haven't given a massive side-eye to the things you've called out above, especially Compex and Nuun (I just don't get it ... I just don't). Also, I will never cease to be amused when you call shit out on the internet. So props to you for a funny, yet thought-provoking post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What she said. I get why companies do it, I get why bloggers do it, and I get why it annoys people.

      Although as an MBA / Marketer / Former employee of the oil industry, I probably have no soul anyways because I willingly sell my soul for a tube of Nuun.

      Anyways, thanks for another great post, RR <3. You're the most interesting blogger chick on the block. ;)

      Delete
    2. Heather, that was great! I'm on board with the first paragraph. It seems like a wise avenue for some companies. it's just too bad that in the running blog world this has manifested in a bunch of diet-y or completely unnecessary-to-running products being fed to influential young women.

      The second paragraph made me lol, but, I truly don't think anyone who is making ends meet nicely needs to accept $100k (or lets face it, $500) to lie to a bunch of, again, influential young women. But maybe the mushrooms really are magic?

      Delete
    3. Eh, that's a pretty solid point. I guess if all you're shilling are some overpriced socks, no harm no foul. But if you're actually promoting something that could potentially be dangerous to an impressionable audience that isn't going to do due diligence to find out what it might actually do to their body, you should probably stop and re-examine your life decisions.

      Or maybe I just really, really want to believe in those magic mushrooms.

      Delete
  33. -Oh how I hate the giveaways. And they don't make me teensiest bit more likely to buy their product. If anything, I'll avoid it. And why would you want to sell yourself to a company like that?? Are you really gonna make a ton of money that way? If you're in need of money, get a real job (RR, I mean "you" in a generic way...obv not directed to you.)

    -I really can't stand hearing about people's health problems and injuries. Yes, we're all runners and all obsess over injuries, and yes, I've written about my injuries, but bloggers who continually talk about every little injury or ailment they have and when it takes over their blog...no thank you. Even Crohn's Disease. Yes, it's a legit condition. I have ulcerative colitis. It can suck, but I still don't want to hear about, but if people want to talk about it and it's therapeutic to them, fine. I just choose not to follow those bloggers. Nothing against them personally, just not what I'm interested in reading about. I see a ton of worse shit at the hospital...people with dying with cancer (seriously), so that's why I'm not too sympathetic.

    -my only somewhat "serious" injury happened when I was using a coach. Go figure.

    -GIFS. Hate them. So distracting.

    -Pro-compression: Huh? who sold herself to them??? ; )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the record, my UC is much, much, much less severe than Ali's CD, so I don't mean to downplay what she is going through. I just see enough severe health conditions at work that I don't care to read or talk about it in my spare time.

      Delete
    2. Since you don't talk about it all the time, I didn't know about the UC! Sounds sucky. I try to tone down the buttcrease talk, because on the one hand even I find it terribly boring to talk about, but on the other hand, I know a lot of readers have similar issues and we get to work through it together! which is helpful.

      Delete
    3. Don't worry, you dont overdue the buttcrease talk! Like I said, I talk about my injuries, too...it's the blogs where the primary focus becomes describing every health issue time after time after time after time that start to get on my nerves.

      Delete
  34. It is posts like this that keep me coming back to your blog! You are like a breath of fresh air. When I decided to start my own blog (last week, so I'm just a baby) I didn't even know I was following a number of "rules" of blog running. I was just writing what I liked to read. I love product reviews - but only the "real" ones. I'm not sure one could ever be completely unbiased unless he/she has spent hard earned money buying it. And all this "Ambassador of XYZ" "XYZ Team Member" stuff is confusing to me as a reader. What exactly does it even mean? I guess blogging is like everything else in society. You start it all bright-eyed and full of dreams, and then become jaded over time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha. I was jaded from day one. And I definitely unknowingly mimicked what I was reading. I wonder what my race recaps would look like if I had never read one of someone else's before?

      Delete
  35. Funny, between Lauren Fleshman shilling for a brand known for fake giveaways and her dishing compliments at certain running bloggers (really? You're elite, lady...why shill for the shillers?)...I stopped paying attention to her. A pity too - she's otherwise a class act and her "that balls!" quote after winning the USATF 5000 a couple years back has to be one of my favorite track moments ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats balls!? That sounds like the Lauren I love!

      Delete
    2. I fricking love Lauren Fleshman, but it shat us royally when she glibly stated that she wouldn't reach out to a company like Lululemon for sponsorship because it was some kind of cult. And then to turn around and pull all this Oiselle shillin'. What so, shilling for a company that gives you $ and free shit is ok, but raving about a product you pay actual money for and just flat-out love is not? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!
      ~ Penny

      Delete
    3. Well that royally shats me too. She buys/loves Lululemon products?

      Delete
    4. Ha, no. She was just saying that she wouldn't partner with a company like that. I loooove the lulu speed shorts, and a lot of people rave about various other lulu products. It was just irritating that LF considered that cultish, but then went on a girl-power shill-fest for Oiselle.

      As for "shat" hahahaha. I guess its an Aus. thing. Shat is past-tense of shit used to describe annoyance/frustration/irritation. As in "it shits me that RoseRunner is so against bloggers making an honest buck from schilling whatever crap arrives in their mailbox that week."
      ~ P

      Delete
  36. Hahahaha! I love it. Ok, I am totally guilty of buying Nuun (the cherry limeade is good, yo!), ProCompression socks, and having a coach (he keeps me accountable and LESS injured than normal-lol!). But yeah, I don't talk about those things on my blog 24/7. What the crap too with that dumb Oiselle journal and the Nuun Stink Van relay. PASS on both *eye roll*

    Honestly, I move on when people start shilling, so that's one reason why I'm still coming back to you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Best post ever. The end. :-)
    -Jen

    ReplyDelete
  38. Any thoughts on bloggers who can't get their point across without putting occasional words/phrases in different colors. (see Tall Mom on the run and Run EMZ as examples). I don't get why the word "Funny" has to be bright green on a white background for me to completely understand a story.

    The only giveaways I've found that seem legit and not just from someone shilling for free crap are from DC Rainmaker. The guy doesn't seem like he's in it for swag.

    It's frustrating when you've been reading a blog and the author posts that they've been selected to be a brand ambassador (Brooks I.D. for example) and then a month later comes the sly marketing post talking about how the Brooks whatever shorts are the best they've ever tried and go so well with the Pure Project whatever shoes that cure Polio.

    Nuun is basically Emer-gen-C in tablet form, no?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well you weren't kidding about the bright green "Funny." Maybe it's a subliminal message that you are supposed to laugh?

      I think there are a lot of legit giveaways--anything that is actually needed for running is a great giveaway and appropriate for a running blog. Shoes, running clothes, Gu, etc. It's the completely unnecessary products that concern me (on behalf of the readers who may think they need it), and the brands that market themselves annoyingly by gathering exclusive teams/ambassadors or showing up on 1000 blogs that annoy me.

      Delete
  39. Bahaha, boy do I have stories for you about how I was given crap, chose not to write about it because it was...well...crap, then how the company wasn't so "fond" of my decision. But we gave you stuff?!?!?! Le sigh...

    About the coaches, I will say they are needed for anyone attempting a first Ironman on their own, because you know, if you don't do it right you could DIE. Just sayin.

    See ya Thursday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, what do they do?! I'm very curious. I guess if you say "my review will not be a good one," then they would ask you not to write it anyway? I'm impressed that you can recognize when a product is crap even when it was gifted...I think I would be much more forgiving by virtue of not having paid for it, without meaning to.

      Anyway you have nothing to worry about, your reviews are actually useful running products that I enjoy hearing about and would love to win.

      And Ironman = definitely understand wanting a coach. I wonder if any athletes try for their first ironman without a coach? There must be some plans out there

      Delete
  40. I actually had a company borderline stalk me when I didn't review their item because I thought it was total shit. I think I have done 4-5 reviews in 4+ years because when I DO them, I want them to mean something!

    I love everything about this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Creepy. And I'm going on zero company giveaways in 2+ years since I'm a marketers worst nightmare. They stay away with a ten foot pole!

      Delete
  41. It makes me so happy when you do these posts. I won't even try Osielle because of their blog-branding. So I guess their marketing isn't working (or at least not with me). Same goes for Nunn. As for Complex, stretching works for me. And it's free!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stretching is free! That's what I'm going to yell the next time I walk by a yoga studio.

      Delete
  42. Love this...I will admit when I started with my very teeny little blog about my extremely slow running, I was excited about giveaways as I am so far out of the 'norm' from most other bloggers I read. I'm older, slower and for me, running is NOT something I come by easily - I have to work for every gain I can get except for weight which comes to me naturally.
    Now I see I was trying to fit in with some cool kids that honestly I don't care about anymore.
    Keep up the honesty and overall awesomeness I always read here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's how it starts for all of us! Plus if you aren't in the norm of most blogs you read, that's a good thing! Be unique. And keep working hard.

      Delete
  43. Coaches: I'm open to the concept. I've often worked with personal trainers because, frankly, I'm biomechanically challenged and uncoordinated, so I've learned a lot from the trainers about getting stronger and minimizing my risk of injury. I haven't tried a running coach yet, but at some point I might take some group or one-on-one classes to work on form or speed. So, I don't need someone to tell me which workouts to do when, but I could benefit from someone watching me move (however cringe-inducing that might be) and telling me how to move better.

    Oiselle: I don't run in shorts or skirts (capris or leggings, thank you), so I have not tried Oiselle's. But their tops? I do not need a shrunken, brown ugly sweater with birds on it. Especially for $74. And how can it be called a "running top"? I will stick with my cheap ($7-20) and functional running Ts from Old Navy and RoadRunner.

    Compex: I'll admit, I fell for it. And I did first read about it on a blog. But, to be fair (well, fair to myself, really), I have been plagued by some injuries, my chiropractor has been using an electro-stim machine on my hamstring for some time (and with some improvement) and my super-speedy sister (who is also an experienced nurse and an experienced rehab patient) said she had used a similar machine with some benefit. And I'd just received my year-end bonus and, although I've put myself on a strict clothing budget for the year, no such rules apply to electronic toys. So Mr frogoutofwater and I have been experimenting with it, for recovery and for some strength training. But not consistently so it's hard to tell if it's helping. And I must say, I feel a little odd, lying down on the bed and having my husband attach electrodes to my body. I am thinking, however, that there is some potential here (for entertainment, if not therapeutic, value) if we could just get the wardrobe (lace? bandage dresses?), lighting, mood music and accessories (feathers?) right :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was hoping someone who bought a Compex would speak up! Your justification makes sense to me. Seriously, keep me updated on how it works. I wonder if the one your sister has is better/different and why. I am completely ignorant to the science, but I thought of Compex as more of an indulgent possible helper/possible placebo for runners, not an actual potential injury cure. So let me know!

      Delete
    2. I didn't buy a Compex but I have one from our relay. So there's definitely science behind electro-stim stuff because physical therapists use them and stuff. And it's kind of cool to put electrodes on.

      That said, I would never spend that much money on one myself as I'm pretty cheap. Also, I am too lazy to use it on a regular basis because it takes some time to attach everything. RR - if I see you again soon, I'll bring it and we'll have a good old shocking time.

      Delete
    3. Let's shock away!!

      I wonder why compex doesn't just sell what the physical therapists use? Seems simpler than 80 wires.

      Delete
    4. I did notice some improvement from the treatment my chiro was doing on my hamstring, but I've had better results (in less time) with a good massage therapist. On the other hand, the chiro only zapped me for 5 minutes once or twice a week, whereas I have unlimited zapping potential with my own Compex.

      Two of the ways I think Compex can help when you're injured is by helping you keep some degree of muscle fitness when you can't run (or can't run a lot). For example, we were planning (i.e., failed to do so but planned) for my husband to use the strength and endurance programs on his legs etc when he was sidelined by plantar fasciitis. And I was planning (and still planning) to use the strength and endurance programs on my quads and glutes, which I seem to under-utilize relative to my hamstrings. (Supplements traditional strength training, like squats, but I found that when I did a lot of traditional strength training, by lower back and hips got grumpy.) And if my quads and glutes are stronger, then maybe I'll be less likely to over-use my hamstrings and then maybe my butt-crease pain problem will diminish. I also have used the post workout active release program (not frequently enough) on my sore hamstrings and calves. If I ever get around to using the thing consistently, I'll report back.

      I also should add that the single most useful running gadget / accessory I've acquired is the Moji mini-massager. I don't want to turn this comments section into an advertorial (especially given the theme of your blog post), but this little thing is simple to use, relatively cheap (about $30 at Road Runner Sports online), and most importantly, convenient to use (and therefore likely to be used). It reminds of those loofah pads that you slide over your hand, except that instead of scratchy loofah, you have 7 nickel-sized rolling ball bearings. So when you rub it along sore and achy bits, you seem to be able to hit trigger points and get a deep massage. And I'm much more likely to use this than a foam roller, since I can just sit there reading a book or watching TV and rub bits of myself instead of having to get down on the floor and contort myself on a foam roller. I can reach everything except my own middle and upper back. It's working well on my IT band, glutes and calf muscles.

      Delete
    5. I had no idea all the wires also came with the option of different "programs." Crazzzzy.

      I think I would love to have a mini Moji. I find my hands are kind of lazy about self-massage, which is why I am more loyal to my triggerpoint foam roller than my tiger tail, so I don't know if I want my hands to do the work. BUT I love giving my husband massages so I still want one. Nice anti-roast :)

      Delete
  44. I don't know if someone already mentioned Lululemon, but I would LOVE to chop off that brand/store/whatever. While I admit I do like their bras, I hate their marketing ploys and the legions of ga-ga-women (or girls?) who fawn all over the brand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your the first! Lululemon is extremely hatable, mostly when I look at the price tags, but I never really see them on blogs? Although there were a bunch of ambassadors a few years back...

      Delete
    2. Then there is that whole "transparent" yoga pants thing going on. Heh heh.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/lululemon-fanatics-want-to-fire-the-ceo-2013-3

      Delete
    3. There's also that whole "someone was murdered at a Lululemon yoga studio" thing.

      [too lazy to find link. I swear this happened.]

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-01-27/local/35439741_1_yoga-store-brittany-norwood-jayna-murray

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  45. hahahaha yes about coaches--I ran xc in hs and college for a couple years and HATED HATED HATED being told what to do. I love running and the fastest way to ruin it for me is make it a schedule I have to follow or I get in trouble. Running is about my emotions. Id like to be fast but Id rather go with the flow and do what I feel like :)

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    1. You get it! Running is emotional for me too. My "speed" days work best when I'm angry/stressed/sad/etc, not when a schedule says its a speed day.

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  46. I liked you post initially but after reading the comments I felt a little sad. Wow! What happened to freedom of speech/writing/action? I mean, why so hateful and judgmental? No one is forcing anyone to read blogs! Is there some jealousy that some runners have been able to get a lot of free stuff through their blogs? How is writing a blog review on a product different than all the ads that are on TVs or magazines? Does one really believe all the ads on TV? Why the expectations that the reviewed products are going to work for you? Just like you say someone does not need a coach to run well, I say someone does need to have enough common sense to figure out whether a product lives up to how it is advertised. Anyway, not trying to be negative here, but wow!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I think this is a really interesting point. I totally agree that if we don't like a blog, we can simply stop reading. I've done that in the past. I think a lot of the hate (not necessarily here, I didn't find the comments unpleasant) is due to jealousy...jealousy of free stuff/of blogger glamour/of opportunities/of speediness. And that's just nasty.

      However I find bloggers promoting stuff they've been paid to promote a little untoward. It's not always obvious when they've been paid, and, even if it is, I'm never convinced they don't promote it because it was free. Everyone likes free stuff. No-one has ever asked me to promote anything (ha) and I hope I would have the integrity to turn it down if they did...but I know my own weaknesses.

      I'll be honest...when I first started reading blogs, I fell for EVERYTHING that particular bloggers recommended, primarily because I felt they knew much more than I did. They definitely run much faster than I could probably cycle ;) So I bought numerous packs of Nuun (and hated the stuff). I bought Brooks running shoes (and developed shin splints). I now have a pair of Oiselle shorts (and like them). And a year or so later, I feel foolish for not seeing through it. Now I've been reading these blogs for a while, I know the three or four bloggers that I trust - when they say something is good, it probably is.

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    3. To Ana-Maria: Freedom of speech is happening! This is what it looks like! We don't have the loud voice of a brand, but we can take our little annoyances out on an inconsequential blog comment board ;)

      I didn't see much hate/judgment browsing through, just, again, little annoyances. The narrow running blog community is not really akin to a television channel. But even so, there are certainly commercials that are remarkably annoying. And if Toyota had a video-entry contest and the winner was friends with all the Toyota employees...I'd be like WHOA.

      That said, I like your input. It did get a little outta control up in here, huh? hehe.

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  47. Standing up applauding!!!

    And what about all of the mid-pack runners who get certified to BE the coach???!!! Gotta love those!!!!

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    1. Haha, I think that's me. I'm not sure I'm mid-pack since I've BQed, but I'm certainly not fast fast. But at the same time, pro basketball coaches can't do half of what they want their players to do, and I believe the same goes for some elite running coahces, so I don't see the issue. Getting certified to coach for me was about learning a lot more about running, physiology, nutrition, etc. And I'm happy to share that info with runners who don't have the time or interest in learning it themselves. I've never actually offered my services as a coach for pay (I've put together some plans for friends for free, usually people just getting started). Ah well, it does seem somewhat hypocritical.

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    2. a BQ certainly is an indicator that you would be a great help friends and people just starting out. Also, I'm okay with the "teachers" of the world not being the best model at what they "teach." Many doctors I have met don't necessarily appear to practice what they preach (eat healthy, exercise often) but I still totally trust their years and years of studied knowledge.

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  48. Re: product reviews. I actually like them, but only in small doses. I think ChicRunner does them well, and she has voiced disapproval for some freebies she received, so I believe her feedback.

    I'm in marketing, and I enjoy reading the reviews on Road Runner Sports's website ... Especially negative reviews! Runners can get very passionate about bad shoes. And if a race goes badly, well, at least I can LOL over the company's Facebook page.

    So I will be frank, since we all know who you're talking about here. I used to love SkinnyRunner, and I would refer to her blog on everything from race recaps to compression socks. And I still check her blog if I'm considering a race she's done before. However, the shilling is now ridiculous, and her blog isn't as reliable as it used to be. When a blogger will promote anything -- including olive oil -- my trust will plummet.

    I still think she's witty and a strong athlete, but her brand is diluted.

    That said, I will admit to using Nuun, Bic Bands, compression socks (not ProCompression tho - I like CEP) and a coach. They work, at least for me.

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    1. Scouts honor, this was a reflection of things that have been absorbed by me from reading blogs. It's not about SR, its not about any one or three or ten blogs. SR is one of a dozen Compex promoters I've read...and Pro-Compression is all up in my Groupon inbox, not just on blogs. The rest of the chopping block doesn't really apply to her. Witty, though?

      I'm okay with reviews too. And I definitely trust reviews that are weighted from the masses (like Road Runner website) over an individual blog post. I'm poking at specific brands that have shot themselves in the foot in various ways. When a product is annoying instead of enticing, before I've even tried the product, they're doing something wrong...

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    2. long time lurker- first time commenter here-- Likely one of the most annoying things about Oiselle is that bloggers talk so much about their products being OMGTHEBESTEVER MADEBYWOMENFORWOMEN ROGAGSFLATTEREVERYWOMANSBODY. I'll go on record to say that their products DO NOT flatter everybody, and there are ZERO reviews on their website to talk about how the apparel will fit. Just a bunch of leggy gals lookin' hot in everything. My thick lady legs would love representation here!

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    3. Eff, you're right. I love my Oiselle distance shorts, but have always thought the famous "rogas" looked super...stupid. Why is the pocket in the back so square and pronounced?

      And yes, the skinny models and skinny "Oiselle Teammates" or whatever they're called (ambassador, leader, etc) haven't provided any diverse images as to what bodies CAN wear Oiselle clothing. "Oiselle! Flattering for women who already look good in everything!"

      Does anyone else think "WASSSSUPP" when they pronounce "oiselle"?

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    4. Just my 2 cents on the Rogas shorts - which I somehow had not heard about until recently, but got a pair on clearance on Running Warehouse. They are not the most super flattering shorts, but it's all relative, no? They don't have the "diaper" appearance of some running shorts, and they have a flat front/waist, which I think is the most attractive part. I don't mind the square back pocket at all, since I never see it... I love that it has 2 pockets, which is more than 95% of the shorts out there. Plus I got them for less than $30 (holla!), which is always a plus in my book. So, while I agree with some of the remarks above (about how they don't comment on fit, only show really skinny girls, and say they look good on everyone while they don't), I do think they're a good pair of shorts and have become my go-to race shorts.

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  49. Ugh, all of the product placement. I particularly love it when the product placement is super awkward, like "I went for a 2.1-mile run, then ate some nut butter on a carrot, and then I started sneezing because of my allergies, which is when I'm so grateful for Kleenex tissues, which are infused with lotion so they don't hurt your nose when you use them too much. Buy them at your local drugstore!" And meanwhile I'm like WHAT DID I JUST READ.

    Honestly, sometimes I think it would be great to get paid for blogging, but then I see the weak-ass shit some of the pro bloggers do to make $$$ and I am just like, No thanks.

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    1. Kleenex!? "I ate a gluten free chia seed, then masturbated to the number of page views my blog got today, so blessed to have Kleenex tissues to wipe away my lady jizz and my tears."

      Is that how it works?

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    2. I just laughed out loud. At my desk. Kids are staring! THIS IS WHY I READ YOUR BLOG. You crack me up!

      I could never sell out so hard as to do the shit they have to do to get paid.

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    3. I hope you shared it with the staring kids

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  50. Product placement overkill, yes! I feel like a few blogs I read have turned into walking ads and promote something new EVERY day- not that it wouldn't be nice to be given/sponsored for everything you could possibly spend money on(compression socks, yogurt, those jaybird headphones that are making the rounds, vitamins, kleenex, etc), but sometimes it's like jeez... I came to read your blog, not to read an ad!

    Plus, don't these companies realize that they are reaching the same audience over and over again, especially when 20+ bloggers post about the product on the SAME day? Read about the-latest-and-greatest-headphones on one or two blogs, fine. Read about them on seemingly every running blog out there, and you've just turned me off to your product.

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  51. Ha! Yes. I received some pretty awesome stuff as a blogger, and I'm surprised you didn't bring Reebok into the chopping block ( I guess they attempt to be running related but haven't quite been able to break into the market, especially with some of the insane shoes they're come out with, I legitimately like them for crossfit stuff though). I got a free race entry which was probably the best thing I ever got, but I haven't been interested in doing any more reviews lately, and I'm super small fries so I'm always surprised when ANYONE contacts me, and I'm always more likely to say no than yes.
    As a former member of Oiselle, who was ousted for circumstances that were confusing and poorly communicated (nevermind the passive agressive tweets I received from the owner), I agree with many people who think they suck. I have found better shorts elsewhere and I've given away every single piece I felt obligated to buy with the "deep discount" (pffft) they gave me.
    I'm actually wearing my CEP compression socks as I write this my calves have been giving me lots of trouble and CEP is my solution.
    Nuun- So happy that my all female team beat all of their teams last year, we plan to do that again. They're fine for electrolytes, but I stick with water.

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    1. This is so juicy! Oiselle, you did it again.

      How did you gather your HTC teammates? Good for you guys!

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    2. Honestly, that woman...

      My HTC team is filled with my former college teammates, we're "Centro's Survivors" because we (lovingly) survived being coached by Matt Centrowitz. We tried for two years to get in and finally got our spot last year. Because we placed we automatically got in for this year. There's a couple of speedy girls who occasionally still run, though we're three hours off from the #1 spot. Hoping to close the gap this year by actually training.

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    3. you guys are serious shit. Good luck this year

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  52. I love this post. I have nothing to add because I agree with ALL of it. And I would sooner shoot myself in the face than use any of those products. Including a coach. UHM...I can READ a training plan for free.

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  53. I love it that you have a bazillion comments. I love it that you copied me AGAIN and had such better blogsuccess. But you forgot about the oatmeal pictures and the fucking Gotein. AND WHAT ABOUT CHOBANI? O, right...they sent you free shit so you can't rag on them ;-)

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  54. *woman coach raising her hand*

    *although not running, triathlon*

    *which I believe is a totally different story*

    *and I don't coach olympians, I coach excitable beginners who need someone to hold them accountable and get them through three sports without tripping over their shoelaces*

    *the little stars part of this comment is now over*

    compex, nuun, pro compression. why not just go stand on a street corner with a sign that says "WILL WORK FOR PAGE VIEWS?" this is the future of blogging, and it's full of dirty dirty whores taking pictures of their oatmeal and bragging about their watts.

    maybe I should just hang up now. KTHXLUVYABAI

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  55. Another thing about coaches: I think some of the naysayers here don't know (or have forgotten) how hard it is to start running. Especially if you aren't super fit or even active.

    I wasn't a coach (just a pacer for a training group), but I took on leadership responsibilities for a running group and beginners have questions and doubts about so many things.

    The doubts are the most relevant here. Yes, you can refer to an online program, but when someone starts at a run-walk and runs at a 13-min pace, she may need someone to tell her that she's progressing at a great rate, that she looks strong, that she should invest in a proper pair of running shoes or that a juice cleanse isn't the best thing to do when you're training for a marathon (yes that last part really did come up a few times).

    I wasn't a trainer and I wasn't certified, but a lot of my trainees would call, text and even Facebook msg me about all of those things ... and I'd like to think I really made a difference in their training.

    Also, a few beginners fell off the wagon and I was able to call them and coax them into returning. They just want a bit of guidance, but mostly someone who believes in them and knows they can do it. Of course eventually one would hope a runner will be able to get herself out of the door without that extra push, but a little nurturing and human connection in the beginning goes a long way.

    Just my two cents, based on my own experiences.

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    1. Valuable two cents. The bloggers I read who have coaches aren't beginners, they are runners who I think want to get stronger/faster with someone to hold them accountable. It also sounds like new runners you have worked with also want accountability/coaxing. They should join an online community! Lots of running support up in here

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  56. Dude, you're awesome. I am a total a-hole materialistic b**ch when it comes to non-running clothing: I ashamedly admit that I wear Jimmy Choos, Manolos, carry a Burberry bag, etc. HOWEVER... my point in telling you this is not to brag, but rather to say that I I run almost exclusively in ancient running shorts and "free" race teeshirts. I want to GAG whenever I hear people freaking out about lululemon, I refuse to buy Nuun only because I was so turned off by the obnoxious pimping of it on blogs I actually enjoy reading, and I own ONE pair of Oiselle shorts-- that I finally gave in and got just bcs everyone and their brother was raving over them. However, all the pimping of it has made me not want to buy any more of their stuff either. I can't really explain why I am so turned off by this stuff, but I feel better knowing that you are, too.

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  57. Compex- I have never heard of it... but as someone who can't use a curling iron without burning herself, I don't think it would be a good idea to put live wires near my body.

    GIFs- If I understood how to put them into my blog, I would (in moderation, I swear). But I'm apparently too dumb to make that leap.

    Oiselle- Here's my full disclosure: they give me clothes, I run in them. Periodically I buy more clothes from them (I appreciate that the majority of their products are produced in the US). Someday they will notice the lack of reviews on my blog and I will no longer fit into their marketing plan. Until then, is it selling out? I think that depends on the blogger. Companies will always have teams and sponsored athletes and ambassadors, and it's in the companies' best interest to have people that are outstanding in their endeavors and also people that are "just like you and me" for broad appeal, blah blah blah. But I think it's unfortunate that bloggers especially take that to mean "I have to suck up hardcore to everyone out there so they give me free shit. Everything XYZ company produces is AMAZEBALLS!"

    TL;DR? I'm (probably) a sell-out who is too dumb to use the internet or really anything involving electricity.

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    1. Companies will always have ambassadors?? I was hoping that title would die. It's such an inflated title for a person with a blog.

      It probably is in a company's interest to sponsor people "just like you and me". I can see how that makes sense except that it makes a lot of us go, "huh? Why that person? They're just like me."

      Delete
    2. I agree, but it's my best guess that even if the title 'ambassador' dies it will just be replaced by something else. And I also agree that the average folks make some people go "huh?" but makes WKs, go "You are obviously the best ever!" and those folks are the target market anyway.

      I find that the big name athletes are better at the ambassador game than the "normal" people, and it's probably because they know that they aren't going to get cut loose so they can say what they want or just focus on their achievements, not on their OMG LOVE of the gear. I also believe pro athletes/ambassadors when they say they love a product, but that's because they likely had a hand in developing it. The rest is all just noise.

      I think there should be bets on what the next big blogger product will be. It's a tough game because, as Nuun showed us, there is no accounting for taste.

      Delete
  58. +1 to GIFs, NUUN, and Oiselle (although I do like some of their stuff but I can't stand hearing about them all the time).

    CEP >>>> PRO.

    And I agree with the comment above - Brooks did a crappy job selecting ambassadors. I hate when "ambassadors" are picked solely on page views. Or maybe I'm just a bitter bitch?

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  59. I need to read through these comments, but before that, I need to comment. Excuse me if it has already been said.

    Oiselle: So, initially, I was sold on their shorts but frankly, over time I have found they are only a step above Target and Old Navy, IMO. I have had two separate chaffing incidents with the Roga and the Distance (this one was my lower back - the elastic ruched fabric with lots of sweat created a very gnarly chaffe). Lululemon is about $10 more, retail price, and honestly, they are *way* better (and I usually find stuff in the clearance rack, so $29-$39 for shorts). I even like Puma better than Oiselle.

    Nuun: I have to say I like the product, I think it's good. However, the all-female-blogging thing is kinda weird.

    Flowery Diary Thing: I think perhaps I am just too much of a crotchety realist, because I can't stomach that stuff. Not for a hobby like running. I can get flowery about family, friendship, etc. But not like running and knitting and shit.

    Coaches: I actually see the appeal here. What I really don't get is the freaking amateurs/bloggers that have coaching services via email. WTF is that? I have seen some with less experience than myself (I have been running since I was 15, all 3 seasons of XC/track in HS - nearly 20 years) and, frankly, quite a bit slower than me. And they are offering coaching services? Does not compute.

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  60. This post is awesome. I'm sick of hearing about Chobani. It's frigging yogurt.

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  61. How could I forget the short-lived "Chocolate Milk is a great recovery drink" advertising campaign put forth by the Dairy Council that several bloggers jumped onto. So Milk (with HFCS and Carrageenan) is good for recovery? Compared to what? Mt. Dew?

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    1. Chocolate Milk....yes. And coconut water. I don't care about the science behind why these are being promoted so hard at runners, I simply can't get on board because of my stomach and taste buds. Coconut water (zico, especially) tastes terrible the second it isn't freezing cold, which is scary. And chocolate milk is still milk....I'm not into chugging milk right after a workout.

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  62. OK, one more comment about coaches. I've never had one and probably will never hire one, but my friend K's experience made me think more positively about it. She hired a coach to help her train for an ultramarathon later this year. She's run 2 so far (on top of a handful of road marathons), and she was getting frustrated with her lack of progression speedwise. Her coach agreed to help her train for a recent road marathon as well as the ultra.

    The amount of progress she made was astounding. More importantly, she was able to significantly increase her mileage without any injuries. And this was all done via email and phone. I know that different people respond to different motivations. She admitted to me that she did not want to let her coach down, so that was a useful strategy for her. Her experience also made me rethink heart rate monitoring. I've always been kinda against it for various reasons, but seeing how well it worked for her made me reconsider it.

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    1. Interesting! Definitely suits K's personality. Some coaches do rely on heart-rate monitoring, which while it may be useful is something I don't want to touch. One watch and one ipod is enough gadgets to run with for me!

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  63. I'd like to add protein powder "muffins" to the list. Why are bloggers who run 60+ miles a week so into putting chemicals into a ramekin and calling it food? I no like.

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    1. Lol, I appreciate the timing of this comment. It's the next step after protein powder pancakes, which have long been the rage in blog land.

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  64. I love this post. Every word. It's so funny and so true!! I always skip race recaps too. I don't care how many bloggers they met and I certainly don't need to know a summary of every tenth of the race.

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    1. You mean relay race recaps I presume. Here come the ragnars!

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  65. I don't agree with everything you say here (I love having a coach, but maybe that's because I refuse to grow up and still need someone to tell me what to do), but you know what's neat? I don't have to! Just like you don't have to agree with everything I write about. I like your blog, it's truthful and focused without being cookie-cutter "rah-rah-rah running is awesome" all the time. Fuck that gets boring.

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    1. High five! Yeah, you definitely don't need to agree with my shit. When I read it back one week later, I usually don't agree with it either ;)

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  66. yes, the giveaways are rather annoying. i'm just bothered by the reebok crap and how people are fawning over the gear and shoes that look like space shoes...they are crap, pure crap. being on the other end of the coaching spectrum, it is odd how serious amateurs take their running. i think some people like the accountability and they don't really understand how to progress so it is good for them, but just like you say it is a hobby and a coach makes training at times get more serious than it should. sometimes i feel like a coach and a psychologists, which is a bit overwhelming for me and why i've decided to take the summer off coaching. runners are exhausting, awesome...but exhausting.

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  67. First time visitor here. Not sure this is the right - or wrong - post to start with. :) But I always enjoy someone who's challenging the norm, and I'll definitely agree that all this product placement/giveaway nonsense gets rather old. [As do other aspects of the largely-female, run-blogger-health-ish person world.]

    I have my own feelings about each of these products. The advertising through blogging push is a brilliant marketing strategy, although a bit much for blog readers. But some of these are products I liked loooong before I entered the blogging world just a few months ago, and I'll continue to buy and use them (and GASP maybe even mention them on my blog!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE HORROR!!!!).

    And I'm going to step up loudly and proudly in defense of running coaches. [Conflict of Interest Disclaimer: I am a running coach.] I don't coach elites. I don't charge a zillion dollars a month. I charge enough to compensate myself for the time I spend working with my clients. [Hint: I won't be getting rich any time soon.]

    If you're a non-runner who wants to get started running, and wants a bit of help getting the right program, staying accountable, learning what aches/pains mean trouble and which are "normal", figuring out what strength exercises will help that wonky knee, or what hip stretch will help your IT band - then I might be the person you want. [Obviously, not "you", literally. You seem to have grown up through a running environment.] Or maybe someone wants to tackle a new distance (10K, half, full marathon) for the first time - but is a stay-at-home Mom, or frequently-traveling professional, or overworked grad student - someone who can't meet at the times most groups plan their runs. Could this person figure out a plan all him/herself, by going to the doctor and spending hours researching things on-line and making lots of runner friends? Possibly. Probably. Will the doctor or the internet or the runner friends email this person every few days, and answer questions within 24 hours, and text to see how a tempo run went, or adjust a schedule for a last-minute business trip? Perhaps not.

    I speak only for myself when I say that I'm not ESSENTIAL to someone's running success - but some people find it useful and smart to outsource things they could do themselves, to save time and help ensure greater success and a higher quality result. [Think about outsourcing anything....cleaning, cooking, laundry, tutoring, etc.] If they have the resources, then why NOT outsource the "brain-work" behind their training to a professional? I can think of far worse things money could be spent on (like a Compex machine!)...

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    1. Whoops! Cue rant on Commenters who leave multi-paragraph comments...

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  68. i like your blog and its good help for me i buy the Vitamin World online coupons its good for save money

    ReplyDelete
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