About Me

Yours truly about to dole out splits and advice at a track meet
I have been running in some capacity or another for nearly half my life.  However, I didn't define myself as a runner until about 2005.  I made a commitment to better myself through training, and  became a "student of the sport," as my high school track and cross country coaches both encouraged their runners to do.  I started training (which is not the same as simply running) and reading anything I could get my hands on. 

Early on, that was Hal Higdon's writings, articles from the Lydiard Foundation, and other assorted tidbits.  Later, I broadened by horizons: I worked my way though the "running canon"—Lydiard, Daniels, Bowerman, and a bit of Coe/Martin.  I read biographies of famous runners: Buddy Edelen, Kenny Moore, Dick Beardsley, Haile Gebrselassie, Abebe Bikila.  I dabbled in fiction (John L. Parker Jr., Brian Glanville, Alan Sillitoe) and I dredged the depths of the internet, finding gems of wisdom from Jack Daniels, Chick Hislop, and others, as well as a veritable treasure-trove from the mysterious John Kellogg (of Letsrun.com fame) and Renato Canova.  More recently, I've immersed myself in scientific research on physiology and biomechanics, trying to answer questions like "why do runners get injured?" and "how does training improve fitness?"

My own running journey has had its ups and downs.  Though by no means a blue-chip talent (it took all my might as a freshman in high school to break 20 minutes for 5km, and I wasn't a sub-5 miler until I was almost 17), I steadily progressed throughout high school.  I had the privilege of running varsity for one of the best high school teams in the Midwest in some of the most competitive years of Minnesota distance running.  College was a mixed bag: there were high points—hundred-plus mile weeks with the guys, beating All-Americans, placing highly in prestigious races—and low points too: enduring surgery sophomore year,  a stress fracture that scuttled my senior cross country season, and missing most of outdoor track my senior year with a string of infections.  It was these struggles that sparked my interest in injury prevention and treatment.  I wondered, "how did I go through high school without missing a single day of running because of injury, yet struggled my junior and senior years with long strings of injury?"  Starting this blog was a way to release some pent-up energy and frustration with the irony of knowing so much about training, racing, and injuries, yet not being able to do much about my own problems. I have since returned to training and racing and set lifetime PRs at 1 mile, 3000m, and 5000m.  Even so, I'm still putting my full energy into trying to help other people run faster or simply get healthy.

Don't get the impression, however, that I'm only a runner.  I graduated from Carleton College with a degree in chemistry, and I have a keen interest in all things scientific.  I've done research on thin-film and interface chemistry, and I wrote my senior thesis on photoelectrochemical cells—neat devices that use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.  I'm mechanically-inclined, and I'm as handy with a drawing pad and a ruler as I am with a circular saw and a measuring tape.  Finally, I've had a way with writing for a long time.  In addition to the posts on this blog, I've written for RunnersConnect, Men's Health, and Running Times, and I published my own book in spring of 2013.  I coach a fantastic group of runners at Edina High School and am available for private coaching or consultation on an individual basis.  If this is something you're interested in, send me an email at john@runningwritings.com.

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