My name is Amy, and I'm a runner. I'm a relative newbie who sustains injuries, runs in any weather and willingly shells out an obscene amount of money for shoes I can't wear Saturday night. That hurts, but not as much as running in cheap sneakers.
Why didn't I start reading Runner's World sooner? The name intimidated me. I used to think of runners as hard-core athletes clocking hundreds of miles a week and participating in countless races a year. Could a novice like me relate to the super-charged content in this pub? As Molly Bloom would say, "Yes, yes, yes."
Runner's World speaks to oldies and newbies in a seamless way. The tone isn't intimidating for new runners, but keeps the bar high for accomplished ones.
Now that I'm a mildly obsessed reader, I always start RW by reading the last page. Titled "I'm a Runner," the section profiles a famous actor, musician or politician who also runs. The Dog Whisperer himself, Cesar Millan, was October's runner; the page is full of nonlinear short blurbs where he describes why he runs, goals he sets and what he indulges in post-run.
Hint: overcoming obstacles is a big part of RW.
The front of the book begins with an uplifting story about a news anchorwoman and marathon runner who successfully battled breast cancer. A mini-sidebar profiles three women who also beat breast cancer -- then went on to tackle marathons. Then there's a cover story on distance runner Alberto Salazar, who suffered a heart attack and was sans pulse for 14 minutes. Undaunted, he eventually returned to work as a coach of the Oregon Project running club at Nike.
Two Q+A sections in the FOB are extremely informative: "Ask Miles" and "Ask the Experts." The difference? "Miles" responds to questions about mid-run nose-blowing etiquette; the "Experts" tackle why a runner is stuck at a 9:30-minute pace per mile. The last question hits me where I live, since my higher power stops at 9:30, too.
Yet the mag isn't all about keeping fit and turning your one-pack into a six-pack. Rob Burnett, executive producer of the "Late Show with David Letterman," defends the playlist he runs to in a light-hearted column. His downfall seems to be "Mambo No. 5." Mine is the Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)." I'm sensing a one-hit-wonder theme here.
In another column, best described as "Supersize Me" for health nuts, a man explains how he voluntarily lived on nothing but energy bars, gels and shakes for two weeks. Can you say high-strung? Better him than me.
As you lace your shoes, remember: Runner's World is a must read for anyone who runs 20 miles a week -- or 70. I'm consistently learning and improving; plus, I'm no longer intimidated by the publication. Now I know that no matter how far or how often I run each week, I'm a runner. And as ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek once said: "Running is about more than just the run." Got it.
Published by: Rodale