Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Runner's World Website Review

Is Runner's World for the truly serious runner? Or is it a sell-out to the masses? My answer: It depends what you're looking at. And as anyone who has ever been to RunnersWorld.com knows, there is A LOT to look at! 
RunnersWord.com is quite the onion of a website (can I get those carmelized please?). Seriously, so many headings and subheadings and categories and links - this girl can loose herself for hours in the mazes of its pages. 

RW may be my favorite magazine. But I'm far to cheap to buy it off the rack, and have not yet taken that extra step to commit to a subscription. 

Thus, I read it online. RW is one of my go-to sites when I'm tired of reading news, looking at cake, or compiling a Viral Report.  

There is A TON of stuff there - articles, tools, coaching advice, etc. With so much to chose from, the hardest part is weeding through all the stuff I'm not interested in (aka Beginning Running, Shoes and Gear, Marathon Challenge) and getting to the articles I'm really interested in, and haven't already read. 

So let's venture on a little trip, shall we?

Stop #1: Motivation
The Good:
- I like Ask Coach Jenny for training tips.
- The Runner's Stories section opens up a whole new branch of the RW maze - hours and hours of reading...
- Heros of Running: Yeah, Usain Bolt is fast, but in my book he just can't compare with, Joan Benoit Samuelson or Haile Gebrselassie.

The Bad:
- It's not updated as often as I would like
-The RW Daily Blogs are a bit sub-par, though they do have their moments (am I saying I could do better? maybe...). For example, this post on the great underwear debate that has raged throughout my running career - more on that later. 

The OK:
- I'm a Runner really doesn't do it for me. I just don't care that much if a famous person runs. 
- The Penguin writes pretty funny articles sometimes - more geared towards the new/slow/average Joe runner

I have avoided the "Nutrition and Weight Loss" section for obvious reasons. (Check out Jess'sarticle, "Eat Normal, Live Normal.")

But OBVIOUSLY I'm quite into food. So today, for the first time, I clicked on that section. My conclusion: Runners are crazy when it comes to food. I mean, I already knew that (didn't you?), and this just reinforced it. 

But not crazy in a bad way, just in a abnormal way. For example, breakfast couscous? I mean, I guess it's kind of like oatmeal...but why fix something that's not broken?

Some of their eating advice is really obvious. Like should you eat two graham crackers an hour before you run, or the whole sleeve? Um, duh. Was a video really necessary for that?

There are more pasta recipes than anything else, but this girl is not that into pasta. Why is rice so underapreciated???

Wait wait, I just found another layer to this onion! Check out these fro-yo pops. My family has been making our own popsicles since I was a wee mini-Mollie. Go us! You can buy molds at a lot of hardware/homeware stores, or you can just use paper cups with a spoon stuck in the middle. 

My overall conclusion on this section? There are way too many sites/blogs devoted to eating and eating/exercise for RW to compete. (Check out my blog list on the left sidebar for some great examples!)

Stop #3: Women's Running
 Follow the "More" tab along the top to get a drop-down menu of - you guessed it! - more stuff! 
There is definitely some good reading in  "Women's Running."
Like what? you may wonder...
How about a whole section devoted to sports bras!

Stop #4: Training
I actually ended up in the training section thanks to a RW space-time continuum link from the Women's Running page...clickety clickety click - here I am reading an article on A Perfect Day: Tips for an Optimal Workout.
- I was excited to see "Fall For Running: Making the most of a runners' favorite season," but t ended up being short and obvious. You can run longer because it's cooler. Duh. You should enter a race. Duh again...jeez RW, letting me down. I don't know what I was expecting, but something a bit more insightful. 
- A couple good articles on running form:

- I don't bother with the training plans sections, just because I kind of know what I'm doing/have coaches and friends I can ask for advice. But if you're new to running, or want to start incorporating workout and aren't sure how, then check out the race training section and the pace charts.

Since I'm in no position to get into the destination running phenomenon, and am not going to run Boston, Chicago, or New York any time soon, I'm not going to waste my precious time (jk) in this section. 

This is a fly-by. 

In the shoe dept. I know what works for me. Don't try to fix things that aren't broken - when it comes to running shoes that can get very expensive. 

The Gifts for Runners section, however, may come in handy when I'm trying to figure out what to get my impossible-to-shop-for dad for Christmas!
Um, not quite sure why this is in the Shoes and Gear section, but check out Deena Kastor's Long Run Playlist

So there is a start for you. As I said from the beginning, RW.com is a crazy maze of onion-y goodness. Aka layers and layers of everything running with so many links to so many other things, I can't possibly keep up. So jump on in and explore for yourself!

Ooh! Ooh! I just found some more! Check out Racing News. Paula Radcliffe is my hero - I'll definitely blog about her book at some point.