It is a painful fact of life that everyone has an opinion. If identical twins have the same training plan, run shoulder-to-shoulder for 26.2 miles, and cross the finish line at the same time, they will each have a different story to tell their children, or anyone who will listen.

For any aspect of running, whether it’s what kind of sock you should wear, or the ratio of carbs to protein in your diet, you can find a different opinion. I had no idea there was a controversy over shoes. Some say running barefoot is the best. Others tout the importance of which kind of shoe goes with your particular pronation. Some propose running toe-first gives a better running economy than running heel-toe. One of the books I’m reading (ten years old, by the way), suggests upper body strength isn’t something you need to worry about. That the best runners, in fact, look as if they’ve barely survived famine.

Some training programs have you running four days a week, while others have you running five or more. Some people say cross-training is great, other say it’s detrimental. For each opinion on running, there is a book to buy. These conflicting issues had me feeling confused and frustrated, until my literary background came sprinting back to me.

There’s no reason I cannot apply literary theory, which simply means to dissect and criticize anything in print, to the sport of running. Research is vital, there’s no doubt about it. When you are facing 42 kilometers with a less than sportlich body, ignorance is dangerous. It is important to not only read books, blogs, and websites, but to talk to other runners. When all the evidence is presented, you take what is good for your body type and skill level, and leave the rest.

Caution is the key when going by the book; because the book may not have been written for you.

Stats:

Miles: Wednesday 0, Thursday 5

Terrain: normal run to the next village. Took the long gentle slope instead of the short, steep hills.

Wildlife: My deer were lying in the field (shivering, probably) until I came upon them. I’m always afraid I’ll scare them into the road, or in view of a hunter’s blind.

Weather: 44 degrees with the normal light wind. Overcast and cold enough to wear gloves.

Overall feeling: my mind was dull, and subsequently, the run was dull. It wasn’t spectacular or awful—just kind of blah. I’m chalking it up to the weather.

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