Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Evolution of the Blog

  I started blogging my training back in or around 2003 on a friend's website.  Over the years I continued on trackshark.com, runningtimes.com and here on blogger.  The first three websites are all now defunct. I'm not promising blogger is doomed but just don't say I didn't warn you.  Through each of these sites my basic blog didn't change much.  It has always been pretty much just a training log.  In the age of strava this type of blogging is to my mind largely obsolete.  As such and during a time when I have been injured with little or nothing to report in the way of my training I have gone back and forth on how to or whether to continue this blog in some form or another.

  My thought process has been that at my core I am not comfortable with the general social media self promotion style that is standard fare in our current culture.  To be clear I don't dislike it for other people.  I just don't like it for me.  I don't run with a cell phone.  I've snapped maybe one selfie in my life and it was to capture whatever I was standing in front of.  It's not that I'm a private person or that I'm against self promotion. I am neither.  It just isn't my way of expressing myself.  Additionally I have almost certainly left my best running behind me.  I will be 38 years old before I do any real runs.  I have thoroughly documented my struggles with the coordination in my right leg and even if this latest surgery has fixed that problem, which is unlikely, I would be a bit old for a full on comeback.  Additionally I have a wife, a mortgage and very soon a son.   At this point I'm a middle school math teacher with a running problem, not the full on road warrior that I once was.

  Despite these reservations I can't shake the feeling that I still had something to add to the conversation around running.  A feeling that I could add a type of content that would be worth reading and that I felt could provide something that isn't necessarily missing from what is available currently but something that could add some depth to what is available.  Specifically I have enjoyed writing about specific training plans and workout types and how they can be used to make yourself the best you can.  Additionally I like the idea of still providing a personal story that isn't necessarily focused on the attempt to make a U.S. team but instead is focused on a more short term story.  Additionally to try and keep up with the times I would like to focus less on the specifics of my training, while still having those available via strava, and more on how I am planning, implementing, enjoying and not enjoying the process of that training.

  There are, for me, a handful of unknowns when it comes to this plan. Will I have the time to produce a blog.  Life is pretty busy and I waste more time than the average person. Additionally with a baby coming it is probably a lot to ask just do some training never mind to write about it.  I also don't know if there is an audience for it.  Beyond my personal issues I am also aware I'll never win any prizes for my prose and I'm not sure how interested people are in a person like myself with less lofty goals. Still I have always felt I got more out of doing a blog than I put in and so I think I should at least give it a try.

  So what are my "less lofty" goals.   Long term I would still love a return to the marathon however that would be entirely depended on the coordination if by some miracle this last surgery has fixed that issue then in fairly short order I would turn my head in that direction.  Regardless of that I simply love to run, race and train.  I have never been the type to quit at my best.  I honestly don't even understand the desire to do so.  Even as a kid I couldn't understand why there was so much pressure for the best to quit "at the top of their game."  To me it seemed much more interesting to see how long they could continue to be good enough to compete, good enough to be on a team or qualify for a given level.  I still think it would be more awesome to see some superstar stick it out and still be playing in the pro's at 50 then see another one walk away at the top of their game.  Luckily in running, like golf, we have the structure for people like me.  So I am certainly eyeing my entry into masters running on whatever level and distance my body will allow.

  Short term I am first and foremost trying to come back from this surgery and return to a reasonable amount of running, training and racing.  What exactly that will be I'm not sure but generally speaking I want to be able to run daily, I want to be able to do workouts and I want to be able to race.   As an extension of that return I have run at least one sub 15 minute 5k in a race every year since I ran my first in 2003.  I would really like to continue this streak.  It will be quite tough to do so as I did not run one this year before surgery.

  Along the way I would like to blog a few times each week with a mix of reports on how my training is going and how I'm handling the process, explanations of how I'm going to change and adjust my training plans in response to how it is going and more general blogs on running and training.

  If there is anything you would particularly like me to cover please leave a comment and let me know.


Preston said...

Congratulations, good luck, & welcome back.

Craig McMahon said...

Just popping in to say I'm glad you'll still be at it, and that you'll be writing here. I'm coming off a very stubborn sprained ankle (and a few years away from real running) myself. New England racing just wouldn't be the same without the constant threat of Nate Jenkins crashing your race.


Danny said...

Trying to run through injuries, particularly how certain indirect injuries can affect how you hold your Hips. That's a topic I would like you to talk about. I came late to running ( age 46) and didn't understand, that trying to run through an injury( and then having to take time off) would lead to muscle imbalances. Long story short, I didn't know how important it was to rebuild strength and keep my hips forward. Now it is really hard to relearn how to run after running so long with improper form. I use to run like the wind, now I run like I'm reading steps off written directions. I look and feel completely uncoordinated. It seems hopeless.

Thank You

Nate Jenkins said...

Craig and Preston, thanks!
Danny, I'll certainly do a blog on that but the biggest thing I would 100% recommend for you is doing a series of Feldenkrais lessons. I recommend thebalancedrunner.com. It will change your life. After doing a six or eight week series of that you'll be running naturally with good form. Rather than forcing it and having to think about every little thing. After that there is a lot of strength and mobility work you can do to maximize the effect and benifits but the feldenkrais is the biggest thing I can recommend.

Tomek Baginski said...

Nate, congrats!
Also, I'm guessing surgery went well and you're healing.
And yes, there're so many of us who are big fans (of course, I'm assuming that since I find the content of your blog from very useful to entertaining to SUPER inspiring). I'm little older than you (41), but can relate to so many things you'd bring up, like social media for example. I love the work-out section of your site. But also like when you comment on races, performances (like recently you brought up Sondre Moen's training). Anyway, congrats again and glad to see you published another post (I get google's email notifications since you're using Blogger :-)

Donald Chapelle said...

I am one of those who read, enjoy and look forward to your weekly blog. Your wit, sarcasm, honesty and running smarts keep me coming back. There aren't magazine articles or other blogs with your running IQ, can't find it anywhere.....please don't stop.
I've learned a lot from your blog, and training plan. The last relatable instance: you were coming back from your foot(?) injury. I followed you phasing back into running and now use that model with my injuries/comebacks. Walk/runs aren't just for mortals!
Your menu of thoughts on training is instinctual and rare, very rare. We pick and choose what we need to learn from it and apply accordingly.
Being an senior runner I relate to your concerns of family and balance. Work through it, give your body time to heal, affording you many happy years on the back nine, which is just as gratifying as your elete years, even though you can't see it yet. Competitive runners get injured, that is just the nature of things.
We learn from your strategys, great teachers rarely see the effect they have on their students until too late in life. But I want to thank you now.
Be well

Nate Jenkins said...

Thank you! That is super nice of you to write but more than that I really appreciate your perspective on running as a Master. See you around soon!

Philippe Viau-Dupuis said...

Hi Nate!

I will also say like the other guys to absolutely not stop blogging! Lije others you were one of the first runners that really inspired me when I started running back in 2008 ( I used to be a pro cyclist before, back in 2001). So I started reading your blog when I was a 17:15 5k runner and ended up a 2:20:42 marathon runner in 2014 in Philly! If you remember I wrote you back in 2015 before the Boston marathon to run with you on the course. We ended up running together in the same pack (I finished in 2:21:16 that day which I consider my best marathon to date). Since then I, like you, got my absolute fair share of injuries. Achilles tendo for a year and a half, very chronic. Now I'm just getting back to a run/walk program after a femoral stress fracture...So long story short, you are inspiring to me because of you resilience, your immense passion for the simple act of running and also, for beig such a grinder and good athlete. So keep on giving us good advice like you've always done and GOOD luck with your come back.

Btw my two best marathons (Philly and Boston) were done right after the birth of my daughter. So there is a REAL dad power going on :)

Hope to see you at a race soon!

jd dundas said...

Good deal never just quit without trying. You just have to make small adjustments and more importantly you must be having fun & enjoying your running 90% of the time. Good luck and see you on the road

Nate Jenkins said...

I never ceased to be amazed by the amount of improvement you can make in this sport. To progress to a point where your marathon is faster than your old 5k pace is pretty awesome.

JD- My only issue is that I essentially ALWAYS enjoy running and so it is easy for me to find myself doing too much of it....

Russell Greenwald said...


I find your blog to be relatable, honest, motivating, and exceptionally informative. In the world of social media, strava, etc this blog is exactly what I would prefer. Thank you for putting the time in, it's not unnoticed.

-Russell Greenwald

Philip Hantschk said...

Good to have you back. Really enjoy reading your blog. Strava is not the same, and your knowledge and ability to put your knowledge in words that even I can understand are rare.

Cheers from Austria.

Ewen said...

Thanks for keeping the blog going Nate. I'm a long time reader and enjoy every post. All the best with your return to sub-15 and eventual Masters racing.