Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Am I a Runner If I Don't Get Runner's World?

I’m going to let my Runner’s World subscription lapse. I’m not cancelling it in some sort of angry huff. Nothing’s getting punched. No one’s getting set on fire (this time). This is a big step for me because I normally do many things in an impulsive huff which garners numerous Stern Looks and the occasional Right To Remain Silents and the odd Put Down The Gas Can Or We Will Shoots.

I just don’t think I get much value out of Runner’s World anymore. I’ve had the subscription for at least four years – probably longer – and I dutifully read every issue. It didn’t take long before I realized, as all RW readers eventually do, that most of the features are souped up retreads like a TV sitcom. (Hey, have you ever seen a family sitcom in which the father of the family is a bumbling idiot and his put-upon wife has to suffer all his foibles wearily but gladly? Sure you have. It’s every sitcom.) I guess I’ll go without the biannual Secrets to My Best 5k where Expert A basically confirms what Expert B suggested six months earlier (and the years before that with Expert C, D, E, not F, but G. F was a real bozo.). I like the food and nutrition sections but I don’t do the family grocery shopping and, when I’m in a restaurant, I can’t remember what they said about this piece of fish versus this other piece of fish anyway. Mmmm, mercury! Maybe? Who knows.

But what will I do without the latest show review? I guess continue to ignore them as I always did. The same shoes, just the newer version, receive the Editor’s Picks every time anyhow.

Some of the magazine covers are cool. I mean, the magazine covers with Kara Goucher and the other female running glitterati are cool but then they go and spoil it with all the male posers with painted on abs. Jump back into your Abercrombie & Fitch catalog fellas. No one needs that. I’m in the book store often enough. I can put down the magazines in the high upper left hand corner of the shelf and wander over to see who’s on the RW cover (as long as I don’t expire the five minute wait loitering limit they imposed - for me.)

I don’t have anything against Runner’s World. In fact, the feature articles are often entertaining. I love reading about the history of the sport though, if I’m being honest, there isn’t nearly enough runner on runner knife stabbings.* Who doesn’t like to read about the former Boston winners and Olympic champions? Articles on runners who have overcome significant injury, disease, war, and thresher accidents make some issues into the Hallmark Channel of running magazines. But those stories only occupy 3-4 pages. Is it worth it to subscribe to an entire magazine for 3-4 pages a month? I can cherry pick those off the shelf whenever I’m facing a long car ride or, since it’s only a couple pages, a short car ride to the liquor store.

I feel like I’m turning in my Official Runner Badge by letting my subscription go unrenewed. Aren’t we all supposed to subscribe? If I don’t have a subscription , do I become some sort of rogue, unlicensed bandit. Do I have to turn in my moisture wicking clothes and wear *gulp* cotton?!? Or worse, Ian’s cargo shorts?

If I don’t have Runner’s World, do I not read, er, run?

Runner’s World is a quality magazine although I think they may have reached a bit with the name. World? Nah, there are lots of running events in the world that they don't cover at all. Maybe Runner's City or Runner's Municipality or Runner's Tri-County Area but "World" might be a bit of a stretch. Although I do think it IS especially handy for the new or returning runner. For me, I’m just not getting a lot of value out of it anymore. It’s like when I cancelled my subscription to Bazoombas when I realized I was more of an ass man. Someone would find Bazoombas helpful, just not me. I didn’t try to impugn the entire Bazoomba community. I just stepped away quietly.

The subscription will passively expire in July. I will passively fail to send in a check for another subscription. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy the nutrition advice. Who knows, maybe after six times reading it, I WILL remember what kind of fish to eat. Then, without fanfare, RW will suddenly stop coming like so many Bazoombas before it.

Unless they get aggressive and send me more unwanted issues and – God forbid - a BILL, then it’s time to get out the ole gas can.

Happy reading.

*Would it kill them to include the phrase “and he let him bleed out on the sidewalk” in just one race recap? Honestly!
_______________________________

Good luck to Boston bounders Sean, Spike, Aron, and anyone else I may have missed. Looks like perfect weather. No excuses. Go get 'em!

But don't eat any airport tacos. Trust me.

21 comments:

One Crazy Penguin said...

You better watch it. Runners World is notorious for sending bills unless you specifically cancel.

I let all of my magazine subscriptions die except for Scientific American. They kept saying the same things month after month. Not worth it for the money.

Oh, and my brother is single. Should I tell him that you're...I mean, "your friend" is interested?

Vava said...

Good move. I get them free as pass alongs from a colleague who (for some strange reason related to charity and guilt) gets TWO issues. I read the 3% worth reading and go on my merry way...

Jamoosh said...

If you cancel your subscription I will have to begin referring to you as "The Thrifty Runner." I am not sure that is a moniker you can handle, although the yearly savings can support a burgeoning multi-colored shoelace habit.

I typically subscribe for a few years and then let my subscirption lapse for a couple of years in hopes that there will be new contgent when I return.

Word Verification is "potipert" because I know you care deeply about these things.

Viper said...

Who's cheap now? Even I subscribe to RW.

Ian said...

Once again, I'm way ahead of you. I let my subscription expire some time ago. The articles stopped being interesting and unlike bazoombas, you have to buy RW for the articles.

Also... they were NOT CARGO SHORTS!!!!!

GeorgiaSnail said...

DOOD! I let my subscription lapse a while back. Now, I use the five minutes a month it took to read the paperweight from cover to cover to stretch.....

Elizabeth said...

Couldn't agree with you more regarding the content, though I am not ready to make the big jump to discontinue my subscription. It's a great magazine for beginners, but doesn't have much value for people who have been running for a while. The articles about specific people are the most interesting. There have been entire issues where the only piece that I enjoyed reading was the "I'm a runner" segment on the last page.

Sun Runner said...

I've never had a subscription to RW and I ran Boston last year. So who's not a "real runner" now?

I think RW is the runner's Cosmopolitan: the same articles on the same topics recycled ad infinitum. Comso has sex tips; RW has training tips. Cosmo has fun flirty fashions; RW has shoe reviews. And so on.

I think a merger of the subject matter of RW and Cosmo would make for a single magazine more entertaining than either of them are on their own.

You confirmed everything I already suspected about RW, which is why I don't feel a need to get a subscription of my own.

Irene said...

Such a rebel!

My claim to fame is my 2 cents they published for a shoe review last year, for a pair of shoes I didn't like. The bonus to participating in the shoe review is free shoes every quarter.

Yeah, good for beginners, but a lot of recycled material. Speaking of recycled, the majority of my past issues have made it into the recycle bin. I still have a year left of my subscription but may let it laps as well.

Jess said...

Have you tried Running Times? It's much better--much deeper articles.

I stopped getting RW, but now I get it again because it was free with my Running Times subscription. It's good for reading on the elliptical because it's a bit fluffy. I think it's great for motivating beginners though.

Marlene said...

I have a confession to make: I've never subscribed to Runners World and can count the number of times I've purchased a copy on one hand.

sneakersister said...

I don't subscribe to RW, though I've become friends with much of the staff. It's all the same regurgitated info issue after issue. I switched to Running Times for a year but have given up on that as well.

I'll still consider you a Real Runner, Nitmos!

Beth said...

WHAT?!? I don't know if you are still in the club or not. Hmmm... I guess if you get Running Times instead we will let you back in. :)

Ironman By Thirty said...

I'm sorry. We can't talk anymore. My mother told me I wasn't supposed to hang with people like you.

Let me know if you re-up the subscription. :)

TCHusker - Nate said...

Put me in the "Running Times" group, though it's published by the same company and is also guilty of repeating basically the same articles on training in different ways. "Runner's World" does too much of the run less run faster stuff for my taste.

Richard said...

I let mine lapse when I bought the crappy book they publish "The Complete Book of Running" I tried to get a refund and they said no. Then they sent me a 2010 calendar without my permission and then sent me a bill for 19.99. So RW can suck it.

Jess said...

I enjoy reading Runner's World especially the interviews with the random runners on the last page. I'm pretty sure that's my favorite feature. But I agree that there's only so much to be said about how to train for your first 5K.

Robin said...

I finally gave up my RW subscription after I found it free at the library. Sometimes it's a month late, but hey, it's not like they have groundbreaking, must-know-it-now research!

BrianFlash said...

I'm amazed you held out for four years. That's at least 16 shoe review features.

One fatal mistake Runner's World has made is to put their content (other than the cover photo) on the internet. So the one article that features a current runner or some running history is available - although I have to admit that since dropping the subscription I haven't looked at their on-line content either.

I don't miss it.

Adam said...

Yeah, i'm right there with you. I'll buy it about once a year (when kara is on the cover) but i let it expire a few years back. There are only so many healthy recipes that I can tolerate with ingredients that I don't recognize.

Drea said...

But my butt is in Runner's World this month! heh heh