I find myself periodically chiming in, as I call it — others may call it butting in — when I see a post that I find interesting. For the most part I try to be encouraging. But I do not use “!”s and I try to be honest.

So I was a bit taken aback when I posted something deemed critical about someone else’s training, with the caveat that it was based upon my experience, and was roundly slammed for it in certain circles (although since most of the runners I know are more of my thinking they understood). Perhaps I should have further caveated that it was based upon my mind-set.

The more I see of her, the more I like Jenny Barringer, who runs for Colorado and ran the women’s steeplechase for the USA in Beijing. She likes her coaches in part because they never tell her she can do something she can’t or can’t do something she can. When I served for a period as the coach of my former team, my thought was to have everybody training for a particular objective do the same general workout, varied only by pace. Simplistic, yes, but I figured that there was no reason why someone training for a marathon or a season of 5Ks to HMs would not benefit from the specific speedwork we did once a week.

My view was further dictated by accepting that each of the regulars shared my mind-set, i.e., to be the best runners they could be. Some club members didn’t come because that was not what they wanted, and this fissure lead to my leaving the team. But those who did worked hard at it.

But I could have a discouraging word now and then, particularly on the issue of running marathons. If you want to race a marathon, you must respect the distance, and to do that you must put in mileage. So I discouraged clubmates on the issue if I thought they were jumping in too soon or too light.

After I came back to the marathon almost by accident in 2006, I did a fair amount thinking and reading about the marathon and felt/feel that I understood myself and what I needed to do to be more successful than I had been. I’d tell anyone who’d listen, and a number who wouldn’t, that you learn more from your race mistakes than from anything else. And I made a bunch of them, before and during the race. So periodically I, as I say, chime in.

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