It’s Gotta Be True – It’s On The Internet

This is a bit of a rant, so be forewarned.

I love the Internet and how it allows me to connect with others, research new or different ways to improve my running and all the other things that I do there. However, we have to be aware and careful of what we are reading and watching while visiting there.

Is what you are reading or watching based on reality on reality or is it what someone wants to be reality and make it easy for them to make a quick buck or two?

Does it really matter?

I believe it does – a lot

There are lots of people who are providing “questionable” methods and programs to runners to improve their running, especially newer or desperate runners coming back from an injury, that make recommendations about running that make me go huh!

Too much of their “proof” is based on conjecture, questionable or cherry-picked research or something they simply pulled out of their ass.

I know the old saying CAVEAT EMPTOR  “Buyer Beware” theory that some seem to condone completely online, but is that the direction we want or need our running community to go?

I don’t.

Stop and think

Stop and think about how easy it is for someone to claim to be an “expert”, create a blog and a website, then publish an eBook about running (ripping off others ideas and methods), sell it on Amazon and other places,  start a slick Internet marketing campaign and start shouting from everywhere that “you” should do something like:

  • change your form – after all there is only one “true” way
  • change your diet – this is the “only” right way
  • change your training – this way is the “only” right way
  • change your outlook – this is how you “should” see the world
  • change your…you fill in the blank

and all the other “should, only, right, better ways to instantly become the runner you have always wanted to be, while never having to worry about injuries again. Then comes the kicker – we can do all this and more for a small price, because after all your health and your running are so important to you – well isn’t it?

In my opinion if someone starts to preach the above – run a fast as you can in the other direction.

Those people scare me.

In the 40 plus years that I have been a runnah, I have learned the hard way that there is no single right way to run or train for every situation or runner.

There are too many variables involved like different distances, finish times desired, individual biomechanics, injury history, current gait and running form, personalities and all the other factors that need to be factored into our running, that do not and cannot fit into any one size fits all runner’s plan or program.

Before buying into a “program” (either with cash or time) look at the author’s (writing or video) credentials.

Do they have the background and experience to be knowledgeable in what they are talking about?

  • Where did they get it?
  • How did they get it?
  • How long have they been involved in this?
  • Who else do you know that has used this program (online or real life)?
  • What do other experts in the field say about this program or person?
  • How much is it actually going to cost you?
  • Can you do the concepts in the program without instruction or do you have to have ongoing coaching?
  • How long does it take to see improvements or changes?
  • Have you been following this person on Twitter, Facebook page, Google+, what are the responses that person is actually receiving on their program?
  • What does success look like?
  • Is the program a new and different take on something or does it build on the work of another author? Is credit given?
  • Finally and the only thing that really counts – does it feel right to you?

Those and many other question are important to ask yourself before you jump in with both feet to use a particular program.

The reality is that

Just because someone has a great blog or website, does not mean that they have all the answers or that they are the experts they seem to be. There are many out there whose primary aim is to get you to give them some of your hard-earned money and not worry about if their program is right for you.

While I hope that many, actually I want to believe that most authors, blogs, website and programs are truly out there to help us become better runners, it is up to each one of us to make sure of that. We need to find and use those sites and programs that have qualified coaches, instructors or research behind them. Even a site or program with the best of intentions may not be giving information that is appropriate, research based or reasonable.

There is room in running for many different philosophies, plans and programs for runners, but there are no shortcuts to becoming a better runner, you have to put in the time and hard-work to do it.

If a training plan or routine promises you the world and it sounds too good to be true – be careful and do your research even more carefully.

I don’t want to see anyone get hurt or say running sucks, because they used information or a program that is based on drivel and some shithead’s wish to make a quick buck,

Just because it is on the Internet or in a book, does not make it true.

Think about it and do your own research!


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10 thoughts on “It’s Gotta Be True – It’s On The Internet

  1. This is something I notice a lot too. For the most part I don’t begrudge anyone putting advice or selling something on the internet – if their story is compelling enough to make someone buy what they’re selling, good for them.

    On the other hand, it’s pretty apparent when someone has just thrown something together in hopes of making a quick buck. I’d venture to guess that none of those people are going to get rich pedaling their half-baked programs that they’re not really qualified to write. One of the ways people like you and me can help is by spreading the word on good and legitimate programs….and there are plenty out there.

    Whenever I write about running, I try to imagine that I’m talking to someone who has asked me for advice about how to get into it – which does happen in the “real” world from time to time. I write as honestly as I can about the topic – and leave it up to the readers to determine if it’s valid for them.

    • PJ – I don’t have a problem with people making money selling stuff on the internet – most of the time. Personally I would love to be able to legitimately make money for a product or service that I can provide to others here.

      I do have a problem when people have a slick marketing approach, appear to be “experts” and are selling their personal philosophy that might work great for them, but not so well for others.

      There are plenty of good programs out there for the right individual, it is the ones that claim to be the “one way” that really bother me.

      I work hard at being honest and open about my posts, especially when I give an opinion about something, but unfortunately some readers are naive or ignorant about what they need to know to protect themselves from those who are unscrupulous in their efforts to put more money into their pockets.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Love it … Love it … LOVE IT!:)

    ‘Universal advice’ really bugs me, too!

    I wrote a post for my ‘Monday Mile’ running/health series on Gear Diary a couple of months ago called ‘What works for me … works for me’. And that is what I firmly believe – for me, when I run my eating habits change for the better and my weight and health feel the benefits. But others struggle with that – because they are different people.

    I can run far but not fast, recover quickly and handle hills and high elevation without a problem … but again, that is *me*. Last August I got to go to Park City Utah for a Hyundai event for the blog, and within two hours of landing did a 7 mile trail run up the side of the mountain at >8500ft elevation – and felt great. Others – even in good shape – were struggling just walking around. They were different.

    But the thing that bothers me more is the ‘always right’ types who will drop in a few links to so-called science showing their position is absolutely true … but really be just pushing some fad agenda.

    It makes me think of one of my favorite Bloom County cartoons – where Opus wants to lose weight and Milo keeps saying ‘how about eating less and exercise’ and Opus calls it ‘too weird’, and chooses the ‘Dr Frank’s Frog Legs, Figs and Flatulence Diet’ instead …

    Sounds silly, but that is what I see when I read people saying that Atkins/Cleanses/Paleo/Vegan/whatever is the universal solution to all diet and health issues …

    • Mike – can you give me a link to your blog, the one that you have attached to your identity is a dead blog. We are all different and have different goals and the one-way is the true-way plans and program out there make me want to run the other way as fast as I can.

      I enjoy trying and doing new ways of training, but at the same time I do not want to do something that is going to injure me or take away my love or running or working out. Some of the programs I have seen do just that. Which I believe is wrong.

      That is my personal opinion.

      I just believe that what works for one, may not work for someone else and that we all need to be careful and research a plan or program carefully to see who designed, why they did and whether based in reality or has a base that works for more than just a few people.


      • Thanks Mike, I thought you wrote regularly and wanted to be able to read your posts too, I enjoy your comments here. I have learned a lot of great stuff online as well, but there are some out there that are a little more naive or ignorant (not a bad thing) about things I know a little bit about and would ignore something they might take more seriously. I just think that we have a responsibility to remind others that not everything they read or see out here is always in their best interest – even when it seems like it might be.

        I have been able to try many new training ideas, learn new to me training techniques and philosophies that do work and even a recipe or two that I have enjoyed. However, the training techniques or philosophies have come from those whose credentials I trust and have been around for a while.

        Something that really torqued my trigger the other day, was I was reading one the blogs in my feed reader and the blogger had taken a coaches ideas almost verbatim and done some photos of him doing the exercises and I didn’t see any mention of credit or anything. I am planning to DM the individual and ask what’s up. If no appropriate response, will delete from feed and other places. Not acceptable behavior for someone that I thought was better than that. I hope it was just an oversight on his part.

  3. Preach it Runnah! Bottom line – what are the person’s credentials? In the fitness world my sister and I see so many people offering advice based on the qualification of having lost weight. Weight loss is a compelling story and I am happy for those people, but their solutions are not THE solutions. As you say, each person is different so the advice needs to be tailored. Run Run Run with your great advice above! Rant away

    • Kymberly – That is one of the things that I believe very strongly, we all have a story that is our and based on our experiences, but when bloggers, writers and other “so called” start using their personal experiences as the only way to succeed I have a problem with that. I believe that academic and more than a little real life experience is necessary, before someone starts “telling” others how they should be doing something, whether it is running, fitness, nutrition, etc.

      If they do not have those pre-requisites then the advice that is being given is very selective, narrow and might not fit the needs of the people who are being targeted.

      This is a nebulous subject and one that we all need to be aware of and to look closely at what we write as bloggers or the information that we provide in our videos to ensure that we are staying within our areas of expertise, where we do have credentials and how we present that information, instead of the stuff I am seeing more and more on the Internet today.

  4. Great blog Harold. I love to share my experiences through my blog and hopefully inspire or encourage people to get active or to seek improvement in the process. I’ve been running for three years and most recently had a pose session, as you read.

    Some elements have been brilliant and I feel like I have a magic bullet for running. Some elements are hugely debated on the net and had me questioning what I had learnt. That’s why I’m a believer of steps at a time and go with what works for you. I think it all needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Blogs and the net are great, but nothing beats a 5, 10, 15 year trained and active aths coach who has a ‘track record’ so to speak.

    Perhaps we are all time poor

    Cheers, Lachie AKA thisfishcanrun

  5. When I see anything with a celebrity endorsement I ignore it. There’s so much cr@p out there its really difficult to get to the truth sometimes. I believe it when I see it/try it and it works.

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