Six Months of Predawn Runner – Looking Back and Ahead

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Coincidentally, I’ll be heading to Portland in December.

Photo credit: Sunrise on the Willamette by Flickr user Stuart Seeger, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.

This Saturday, November 13, 2010, will mark six months since the launch of the Predawn Runner blog.  Don’t worry if you forgot to mark it on your calendar, I’m not offended.  However, I did think it was time to step back and reflect on what we (as the predawn running community) have done here, and ask some questions on what you would like to see as a future direction for this site.

First, since I’m big on the metrics, here are the figures (as of November 8), according to WordPress.com Stats and Google Analytics:

  • 59 posts (this one is number 60), plus 4 guest posts at other sites
  • 657 comments and reactions (not including those on Facebook or Dailymile)
  • 6,199 visitors
  • 10,317 visits
  • 17,824 page views (1.73 pages / visit)
  • Average time on the site per visit – 2:37
  • 141 Facebook “Likes” and 127 Feed Subscribers (not counting Friendfeed)

The most popular content to date on the site is as follows (not counting the home page):

As you can see, several of these are driven by search engine results (shoe review, the training plan, plus the next one on the list, which is the post on Yasso 800’s).  The Predawn Profiles (12 to date) have drawn 2,153 page views.  I’m not saying that these numbers are good, bad, or indifferent, but mostly providing a context and baseline for moving forward.

This blog was designed to provide helpful advice on fitting running into your already-busy life, and making the most of the time that you put into your running through providing thoughts on useful training approaches, mental exercises, and equipment. I didn’t intend it to be much of a personal running blog, but do post race reports and a few thoughts on preparation and progress mostly to help build credibility that yes, you can find time to make it work if you have the motivation.

There are still plenty of ideas on content to share, but I’m interested in your input on what you’d like to see.  So, with that in mind, I invite you to contribute to the future of this blog through the comments.  A couple of questions I’d like to put out there:

  • What is the most interesting / valuable content, and what would you like to see more of?
  • What is the least interesting content, and what would you like to see less of?
  • How about the design (look, feel, readability, colors, images, etc.) of the site? I’ll be honest – I’m thinking of making some changes to it.
  • Are there any specific topics you’d like to see covered, or new types of features?
  • Would you be interested in a Predawn Runner podcast?  Not sure I’ll go there, but I’d consider it if the interest were high enough.

I really want your candid opinions here – I’m more interested in the (constructive) suggestions than “attaboys” (but I’ll take those as well).  As we go forward, I’ll offer up the same comments that I make whenever I give a presentation to teams that I work with in my professional career, based on advice my wise father-in-law gave me:

  • You can have anything you want.  You just can’t have everything you want.
  • You may not get everything you want, but you’ll get everything you need.
  • We have the infinite capacity to improve everything.

Thanks for your support these first six months, and I look forward to expanding our relationships in the future.

Best regards,

Gregory A. Strosaker (Predawn Runner)

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  • http://how2runfast.com/ Mike LaChapelle

    Greg, I’m not a big fan of Yasso 800’s. I don’t think that they are a very accurate predictor of marathon times and they aren’t a very challenging interval workout. I wrote a post about them here:Yasso 800”s Are a Waste of Time

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Mike, I’m not sure if you read my blog post on the topic but our thoughts are somewhat similar. I use less recovery time when I run 800’s (2 minutes instead of the ~3:00 Bart would recommend), push them faster than just the marathon-prediction goal, and, as I summarized in another post on lessons learned from Akron, am going to reduce their use going forward in favor of more 1600 intervals and tempo runs. I think the challenge in an interval workout is mostly related to how hard you push them, but will say that after running too many 800’s, the 1600’s seem particularly challenging (thus, by reciprocal logic, the 800’s are an “easier” workout).

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  • http://how2runfast.com/ Mike LaChapelle

    I did read your post on Yasso 800’s, Greg. I agree with your thinking. It’s unfortunate that many people take the Yasso 800 workout progression at face value and think that this constitutes a good interval workout. They are really missing out on opportunity to significantly improve their performance.

    It was interesting. The day I wrote that blog entry, Runners World started following my blog. I think Big Brother is watching me!

  • Pat Park

    Greg, thanks for your blog. It is always an encouraging read. As a relatively new runner I have enjoyed the profiles, seeing the motivations for others to fit running into their lives and keep going. The more technical content is helpful as well in that you have a knack for presenting it from a personal perspective which helps me grasp it a little more readily than some other sources which provide more raw data. As “every run has a purpose,” I would enjoy your perspective on different workouts.

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Thanks for your comment Pat, and I appreciate your suggestion on discussing different workouts, as that’s something I’d definitely enjoy doing in the future. Right now, I’m reading Daniels Running Formula and Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning to get new ideas for training for next year, so I look forward to sharing some of the learnings not just from the reading but from implementing and executing elements of their training programs. As you well know, running is not a one-size-fits-all thing, so I always try to be careful to emphasize that different runners respond to certain workouts in different ways – but it’s always worth trying new approaches.

  • Matt F.

    Hi Greg,
    One of the things I enjoy most on your blog is the Predawn Profiles. It is interesting to learn about other runners, hearing more than tidbits on DM. The running shoe reviews are good also, but as you say it’s a personal thing. That said, I tend to read reviews from multple bloggers and then see how it fits me and my running style.
    Colors – they seem OK, but a change would be nice. I don’t have any opinion on what would be a good mix to change too though!
    Keep up the good work, I do enjoy reading your writing.
    Matt

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Thanks for the comment Matt. On the colors, my thinking is that it’s a little dark – that was intentional at first to align with the “predawn” nature of the blog, but I worry that it hurts the readability a bit. I’m thinking pastels. OK, not really.

  • http://www.fogjog.org rob

    You wrote, “I didn’t intend it to be much of a personal running blog, but do post race reports and a few thoughts on preparation and progress…” Actually, I appreciate the personalization of the blog. Between your more personal posts and your workouts on Dailymile, I very nearly feel like I have an idea of who you are and how you think. And that’s important.

    I like running, and my biggest motivation is “fun.” But I really appreciate your methodical, well planned, metric-heavy approach. And it has helped me to realize that a big part of the “fun” of running is improvement, PRs, etc. So I definitely appreciate your personal perspective, Greg, and it is big reason I read the blog.

    I also appreciate the Predawn Profiles. It’s motivating to read about others who are also getting out of bed in the dark to go running. Most days, I don’t see any other runners on the road (other than my wonderful wife / running partner). It’s nice to know there are others of us out there… somewhere.

    If you decide to do a podcast I would probably listen. But I much prefer reading posts. They are easier to share with friends, and much more convenient in general than podcasts.

  • http://twitter.com/GE_Anderson Greg Anderson

    Sorry, but this is more of an “attaboy”. I like your blog just the way it is, Greg. That’s why it’s one of about 15-20 running blogs that I subscribe to through Google reader.

    I don’t often come directly to the site unless I feel compelled to comment (so colors aren’t a big deal to me). I like your mix of product reviews, race reports and musings about running. Your blog is uniquely you, so I’ll continue to read it. If you want to add more about the thinking behind changes you make to your training plans, I would also welcome the addition.

    Also, I commend you on giving photo credits — something I almost never do on my blog, even though I know I should. :)

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Thanks for your thoughts Rob, I greatly appreciate you taking the time not only to visit and read but to let me know what you are looking for here. I do follow many other blogs, obviously, and have to say that many run-bloggers pull off the personal style of blog well. I never thought of using the blog to that purpose, but do see where posting the results of a training run or race and the thoughts behind it can help others design their own approaches. I am planning a post very soon along the lines of your second paragraph, on how some runners do get their greatest joy from pushing themselves. And it’s great that you have a solid running partner in your wife, nice that you can share that experience.

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Thanks Greg, I appreciate being in the select company of blogs you follow, and I definitely plan more content on training plans, especially as I evolve my approach after reading a couple of books I’m currently working on. And I’ll graciously accept your “attaboy”.

  • http://twitter.com/vlordrunner Vera

    Greg, your blog is one of the most informative that I follow. What I value most are your personal experiences and thoughts, not just in the race recaps, but also your training advice. As far as suggestions go, it’s tough for me to come up with something because, as Greg A stated, you are uniquely you. It is my belief that your followers follow you because of who you are, the topics you choose to share with us and the articulate presentation of each post. I want to read more about what YOU feel are valuable contributions to the running community. With that said, thank you for helping me become a better runner!

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Thanks for your kind words Vera, it really means a lot coming from someone with as informative and well written a blog as your own. I appreciate you finding me here and enjoy commenting on your posts as well.

  • Chris

    Greg,

    I have been running predawn for a year now. I live in northwestern MA and vowed to never run on a treadmill again. As all your readers know, going for long runs in the darkness can get lonely sometimes and I am always looking for ways to stay motivated. Your site is one of those ways. I really like your suck-it-up mentality. Please keep it up. It would be nice to have a running post window where people could share notable things that happened on their run in the darkness that day. Examples might be, “came very close to punting a skunk down the road” or “came within inches of colliding with another predawner also running the yellow line in the opposite direction without lights on very dark road”. You could hold a daily bad weather running contest where people compete on the conditions they ran in that morning. You could have a sunrise photo section and / or a strange noise recording Q/A (“has anyone every heard this animal? It scared the hell out of me”). You could pick one of your readers every month and do a little feature on them. Thanks for creating this site. I have twins (2.5 yrs) and they get up early so on long days I need to leave very early and it is sometimes hard to stay motivated. This site helps a lot.

    Chris

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Chris, thanks for reading and for your terrific suggestions – I’m going to explore the idea of adding some forums here for some of the topics you suggested, as I think that’s the most effective way to accomplish it (not sure about the pictures and sounds though, I’ll have to look into that a bit more). Glad you find the site helpful and I can appreciate the challenge of early-rising children.