InformationIn a continuing collaboration with Scott over at Straight to the Bar, we will be writing about great sources of information for the month of November.

Today, I would like to talk about the best sources of running advice. The trick to getting good running advice is to spend time where runners congregate. Here are a few of the best places to find somebody that knows more about running than you do and won’t mind sharing:


Races are probably the best place to learn more about the sport. Chances are pretty good that there is going to be somebody better than you at the race that you can learn from. It has been my experience that most runners are very easy going and more than willing to talk shop with anybody that can work up the nerve to start talking with them.

Even if you do not find anybody to talk to, you still can learn a lot just by watching those around you. I have picked up numerous tips just from seeing what those around me are doing. Most of the time I mimic the runners that are better than me, but it is worth watching everybody as you never know when somebody that would not normally place as high as you do is going to do something that you never thought of.

Races are also a great place to network and meet others like yourself. I have established plenty of friendly rivalries at races, as well as found new training partners and even teammates.

Aside from road races that you are running, it can be worth going to a race just to watch. Track meets are excellent places to go because there are multiple races in a short period of time, and you can often see some of the best talent in the area as they perform.


If a race has an expo, then you probably aught to be there. Since most races with expos require you to pick up your bib number at it, chances are that you are required to be there. Expos are a great place to network and to hobnob with other runners or with any elite athletes that you see, but they are also a place where experts tend to congregate. Just a few weeks ago, I got to meet John “The Penguin” Bingham at the Marine Corps Marathon expo!

After looking for any coaches, athletes or researchers that you can find at the expo, you will want to look for any workshops that might be going on. Many expos will have 20 to 60 minute classes for anybody that is in attendance.

Also be sure to chat with the vendors. They are usually on top of things when it comes to the latest gear and technology, and most of them will be runners themselves with their own story to tell.

Specialty Shops

Your local running store is a good place to learn new things for all of the reasons above. The shops are often owned by an accomplished athlete; for example, John Rogers owns the Maine Running Company here in Portland, Maine.

The folks at your local running shop will know what is going on in the area, and will usually have the latest literature for any local events. Many stores will also host guest speakers and serve as a base for running clubs and coaching programs.

Local Clubs and Teams

Finding a local club or a local team can be difficult depending upon where you live. If you can find one in the vicinity, then I recommend meeting up with them. Most clubs do not mind new folks dropping in for a workout or two, even if they don’t join. Once you’ve gotten to know a few of the people in the club, you may want to join and train with them regularly. Many clubs and teams will also boast a coach or two that can help you out.

Your Local Streets

Head out for run. You never know who you might run into. I have seen Joan Benoit Samuelson running around the area on many occasions, and I met my wife while I was out running on a Wednesday night once. Feel free to strike up a conversation if you catch up to somebody; you never know if they have something to share that you don’t know yet.

Is that it?

You will notice that I have not listed anything online in this list. I think that the internet and magazines are great places to learn about your sport, but face to face interaction is important and shouldn’t be ignored.

Also, bear in mind that while you are seeking out people whose brains that you can pick, somebody else might be seeking out yours. Don’t be stingy; if somebody asks a question then feel free to strike up a conversation and share what you know. No matter what the difference in your running abilities, there can almost always be a two way sharing of knowledge that can leave both parties satisfied.

If somebody is not social or is rude when you try to talk to them, then just move on. A good 90% of the time you will not have any problems chatting with somebody, but even runners can be pills on occasion. Most people are friendly and approachable, so when you find one that is not just move on and don’t let it bother you.