One of my favorite things in life is sitting down and reading a magazine (it’s the little things). My love for magazines has evolved through the years: from YM and Seventeen to Cosmo, from Cosmo to Parents. Now, my two favorite magazines are Runner’s World and Women’s Running.
As much as I love the aforementioned running ‘zines, there are some things missing from their pages. Here are five things I’d like to see more of in running magazines.
Runners of all shapes and sizes
In the latest issue of Women’s Running, there was a spread on running during different stages of life. It featured a select group of women, ranging in age from 16 to 61, and included information about how to nurture and support a runner’s body through the aging process. I loved the idea of this feature but noticed a lack of relatable figures. When you’re a runner, it’s easy to feel intimidated by the lean and lanky women who surround you on race day. Women like me-short with saggy bellies and large thighs-don’t often get featured on magazine covers or in spreads … unless they’re part of a “before and after” weight loss story. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and I’d really like the magazines to start showing that.
Encouragement for slow runners or run/walkers
It seems every article I read in running magazines is geared toward average/fast runners. I just read a magazine with a half-marathon pacing guide, a chart on how to time your training runs with finishing goal times of 1:45, 2:00 and 2:30. That’s where the chart ended-there was nothing beyond a finishing time of two hours and 30 minutes. Looking at that chart made me feel self-conscious because I finished my first half-marathon in over three hours. I get that a lot of people run fast and that a lot of people aspire to run fast … but what about those of us who aren’t quite there yet? I would love to see more articles and stories from slower runners, look at more training charts for those aiming for a three-hour finish to a half-marathon, and read more about benefits of the run/walk method. It’s great to motivate folks to work on speed, but let’s show the back-of-the-packers some love, too, Runner’s World. We’re here, and we aren’t going anywhere (except toward the finish line-just like those fast runners).
Tips for beginners
Some may argue that running magazines aren’t for beginners. I argue that running magazines should be for anyone who loves to run, regardless of their experience level. When I first took up running, I started grabbing Runner’s World and Women’s Running off the shelf and devouring them, hungry for any tips and tricks I could find to make learning to run easier. The magazines have a lot to offer to experienced runners, but as far as newbies go, there’s a lot left to be desired. I have been asked more than once, “How did you start running?” It’s a loaded question without a straight answer, but of all the questions I’m asked by my nonrunning friends, it’s the one that comes up the most. I’d love to see running magazines tackle articles on what to expect your first month of running; what to expect for your first race; the typical aches, pains and twinges that come with taking up running; and a list of questions to ask during your first shoe fitting.
Affordable clothing and gear
I’ve had a problem with the affordability of items pictured in magazines for a long time. Since I got really serious about running, the majority of the clothing and things I purchase for myself are running-related. Running gear is featured in almost every issue of the running magazines I read, and I always find myself eyeballing the cute compression leggings or jackets the women are wearing-then feel deflated when I learn that the jacket is a $160 Lululemon. Pricey GPS watches, sports bras, compression socks and other items are often featured, but I’d really love to see the editors of these magazines start researching more affordable options for runners on a budget. I shop for running clothes at places like Target, Old Navy and Kohl’s-I can’t afford a $160 Lululemon jacket, and I know a lot of other people can’t, either. There are some items runners shouldn’t skimp on (running shoes, for one), but how about featuring some cute styles and great gear at prices that won’t cause us to break a sweat?
I enjoy the content I find in running magazines, but there’s always room for improvement. Running is such a wonderful activity, and I hate to see people feel excluded or discouraged because they feel they don’t “fit the mold.” I’m not saying change all the content in the magazine-just add these things in a little more frequently to reach a wider audience.
Natalie Green is a Chicago girl living in Chattanooga with her husband and their 5-year-old daughter. When she’s not working full time outside of the home, she enjoys reading, writing, singing, zombies and running. From zombies. And also beer. You can stalk her blog, Mommy Boots, or follow her on Twitter @mommyboots; or you can email her directly at [email protected]. She also has an (Im)perfect Parenting Facebook page. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.