July 2016— Issue 1

Hey Friends,

I hope you all had a great 4th of July and are ready for the dog days of summer. Please enjoy my first Issue of The Running Plummer. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Getting Back on the Road

This might seem like a strange time to disclose this, but I have not run in two weeks and I probably will not run again for another two. Brad? — isn’t this your first Newsletter about RUNNING and you haven’t even been running? Touché, Reader.

The abridged reason for my hiatus is: On January 15th I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Subsequently, I had 9 weeks of chemotherapy ending on April 12th. Then, on June 22nd I had a brief run in with a DaVinci robot for a procedure called and RPLND. I am likely cancer free, and I will make a full recovery, but it is going to take some time.

I hope to back on the mean streets of Ann Arbor as the August heat and humidity hits! This post is not cathartic. Even experienced runners stop, take breaks and struggle to get back on the wagon. It is hard for everyone to start running again even if there were a track star in high school. We are all human.

For those of you say they hate running or have trouble starting to run — I can promise you that I too will be struggling to run over the coming weeks. It will be hard for all of us, but that does not mean that it is not worth doing. Maybe we can all get outside and run a little more this month?

Rome wasn’t built in a day

The beauty and agony of running is that there is no cheating. You have to put your shoes on and do the work.

Modern culture has trained us to expect rapid rewards. In running, nothing is quick. Our bodies force us to take the long view when it comes to run training.

Training is not about a single workout or a single run. Learning to run farther or faster is about patience. Slow and steady growth over months and years. Constructing a long chain of runs that builds upon the last.

It helps me to think about training in the context of trying to move an average. Let’s for a second think of our fitness level as the average pace (mi/min) of all the runs that we have completed in the past six months. It is not a perfect analogy but stick with me. Assuming that the sample size is sufficiently large. One additional fast run or soul-crushing workout will have a negligible effect on the average. Since running is a strange sport, not only will our one fast run not move the average, but it will also dramatically increase our likelihood of injury. This analogy can also be extended to include avoiding lone super high-milage weeks.

Avoiding running injuries is by far our number one goal. No one likes hobbling around at work because they ran too hard. I have been there. It is no fun.

Rather than chasing a super intense workout or high milage week we need to think about moving the average. Learning to shut it down when we are going too hard. Finding a way to have more slightly above average runs or runs that are simply good.

When I started running the first time about five years ago, I really struggled to understand that last bit. I wanted to crush my body every single run. If I did not I felt like I was not trying hard enough. A bit masochist in hindsight. Injuries ensued.

Now that I am 30 and down a testicle I see the goal of shooting for more good days as liberating. We do not have to crush our bodies or destroy our legs to improve. It is a good thing to NOT be exhausted at the end of the run. If an interval or tempo run gets skipped the globe will continue to spin.

The number one goal is to have another good run tomorrow and the day after.

Quote I have been pondering

“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” -Bart Yasso

Links From Around the Web

  1. RunBlogger recently reviewed the new Saucony Kinvara v7. The Kinvara continues to be a huge favorite for runners looking for a lightweight low-drop daily trainer. The price is also favorable. I have personally enjoyed running in the v4 and v5. Sadly, Saucony discontinued offering the Kinvaras in a wide (2E) starting with v6. Subsequent models have been two narrow in the forefoot for my taste. The Kinvara 7s are available via Amazon Prime here: Men’s & Women’s
  2. I am an unabashed Patagonia fan. Running Warehouse even starting carrying their running gear just this past year! Outside Mag recently published an article documenting the negative environmental impact of out fancy performance fabrics: Patagonia’s New Study Finds Fleece Jackets Are a Serious Pollutant :(
  3. This week my long running favorite running shoe got a refresh: Hoka One One: Clifton v3. The Clifton continues be a popular shoe for people looking for a pillowy lightweight shoe. Look forward to a review in the coming issues! The older Clifton v2 can be found on Amazon for 30% off: Men’s & Women’s

Happy running. See you next month.

Cheers, Brad

PS — Please email me (bradley.plummer@gmail.com) if you have any burning questions that you would like me to feature in upcoming issues.

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