|Going to the Well|
Running magazines provide great utility and can occasionally inspire. When I was a new runner, I found these magazines to be a useful source for information about terminology, practices and setting expectations. But just as there are no magazines to help you become a run-of-the-mill decorator or a mediocre cook, the focus of every running magazine seems to be about improving performance. Up until recently, I appreciated that focus. Now I’m a little conflicted.
The reason for this comes from recent studies published by the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and the Lancet. Both of these studies concluded that mortality rates for those who exercised moderately were lower than the rates for sedentary people or high performing athletes. If running greater than 20 miles per week or pacing in the seven minute pace range causes a health concern, I’m certainly not going to do that. Not that I could run a sustained 7:00 pace anyway.
I’m curious to see whether running magazines will ignore these studies or dismiss them as inaccurate. If not, will they acknowledge the facts and modify their editorial focus? After all, the topic of minimalism started getting regular coverage after Christopher McDougall published “Born to Run”. Covering running without a focus on performance may be a hard sell for Running Times, but many titles already devote pages to nutrition, human interest and lifestyle.
Given the choice, I’d always choose an article about running experience over a new approach to running intervals. Maybe that’s a new market segment for Rodale to cover.