A Running Conversation

I’ve been conversing with two well-known Boston runners/coaches, Jon Waldron and John Barbour, about starting a podcast built around our experiences with running – our own and those we know.  Getting it off the ground is a challenge for three people not especially well-versed in technology.  We know enough to get by, but producing a high-quality podcast is something else.  We’ll need some help!

We’ve had a couple Zoom calls already and posed two questions to ourselves: One, why would we do this? And two, would anyone listen?  We’ve sort of answered them.  The “why” is we are unabashed running enthusiasts, with over 150 years (!!) of running experience among us.  John and Jon were accomplished distance runners in their youth and then continued to excel whereas I got serious about it in my late 20s.  They have very successfully coached (John mostly adults and Jon high school) for many years.  I’ve coached myself and others who might bother to listen about what has worked for me.  The tougher question is: Who would listen?  Maybe we are kidding ourselves, but we think there are many others out there, like us, who have an insatiable appetite to read, talk, and listen about all aspects of running and training.  

Assuming we have adequately addressed those two big questions, then there are at least four things to grapple with if we proceed:  target audience, format/content, length/frequency, and promotion.

The target audience is easy — masters runners.  We know this world!  We certainly don’t know everything, but have had our share of injuries, rehab, and experimentation with training regimens.  Conversations with peers suggest we’re all looking for answers and doubt anyone has figured it all out.  Two realities set in with aging: one, our uniqueness – one size no longer fits all – maybe it never did; and two, the more we learn, the less we know.  That’s something of a paradox; but it’s seemingly true.

As to format, the title suggests something less formal: a few questions to probe and then letting ourselves go in a guided direction.  Initially we had conceived having the podcast be conversations with accomplished masters runners.  And that may well ensue.  I expect most topics will be in form of questions, i.e., who will bother to listen to a podcast that doesn’t address some issue that keeps coming up in the life of a masters runner.  Perhaps a few topics to explore:

  1. What motivates us to keep running as our times slow?
  2. How does aging affect recovery from injury (with so………many types of injuries to consider, we will not run out of material!)?
  3. What forms of prehab might be effectively incorporated into training?
  4. What is most exciting about being in a road race when you are no longer in the front of the pack?
  5. Who are the interesting characters (and there are many!) we have met through running and what made (or makes!) them special?

As to length and frequency, we think weekly is too much and monthly maybe too little, if we are to build an audience.  That suggests bi-weekly, say on the 1st and 15th of every month.  For length, we’re thinking an hour is too long and 20 minutes too short.  It’s probably fine to vary some; maybe between 25 and 40 minutes edited, which probably means at least an hour of pre-edited conversation.

Promotion is frankly a bit of a black box.  This is where we really need help!  First, the product must be top notch: quality sound; catchy theme music; thorough editing.  One of John’s former students is doing a podcast and has given us the name of the person who produces his.  Maybe that will get us started.  Do we advertise in New England Runner?  Certainly getting the word out through social media is paramount.  What platforms?  Who will manage them? etc.

We think this can work, and optimistically expect we will do it.  But it won’t happen without focused concerted time and energy.  So, time will tell.  If it was easy, there would be a slew of these podcasts out there.  We’ll keep you posted!        

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