Numbers Can’t Always Measure Success

By Mario Fraioli |

Jason Fried is one of my heroes in business—he runs a 55-person software company based in Chicago called Basecamp—who, along with his co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson, just published It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, their third book. I haven’t read it yet but I did just listen to Fried talk about it on Chase Jarvis Live and I’ll be picking it up soon. As I wrote back in Issue 106, their two previous books, Rework and Remote, have had a huge influence on me and how I work, and I have a feeling this one will as well.

“You don’t need to measure everything to be proud of it,” Fried tells Jarvis. “Work is so much more than hitting that number. It’s about, ‘What was that experience like?’ ‘Did I enjoy working on this project?’ ‘Was it fun?’ ‘Did I learn something new?’ It’s that kind of stuff I think that really matters.”

Fried also happens to be a runner and includes a great anecdote along this same theme about trying to break a 6-minute mile, running 6:09, and losing sight of all the positive things he learned and took away from the experience because he was so fixated on hitting a specific number. Give it a listen(more…)

A Midwinter’s Marathon Tease

By Mario Fraioli |

It’s too early in the year to be thinking all that hard about April marathons unless you’re racing one of them, but Boston recently released its international fields and London surprised no one by announcing that Eliud Kipchoge and Mo Farah will have at it for the second year in a row. Both fields are shaping up to look fairly similar to years past: Boston’s history attracts almost all the top American talent while London’s deep pockets once again bring in the sport’s two biggest (male) stars.

Here’s a short video of Kipchoge talking about taking on Farah again in London. Let there be no doubt who the defending champion thinks is the man to beat on April 28.

An Essential Tool for Opening Your Mind

By Mario Fraioli |

Hakim Tafari:

Thich Nhat Hanh says, that in everything there should be a meditation. Walking, eating , sleeping, talking, everything should be a meditation, so why not fuse all of the things that we love; traveling, running and discovering new things, and using that mindfulness and forming that all together. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

I caught wind of this interview with runner, Buddhist, and Thai chi practitioner Hakim Tafari with Aire Libre because I’m on their mailing list (co-founder Mauricio Diaz was my guest on Episode 26 of the podcast) and found it to be a good reminder of how I can approach my own running practice with better awareness and a more open mind. (There’s also a great little 5-minute guided meditation I’ve embedded above that’s worth checking out and giving a try.)

Just Keep Working

By Mario Fraioli |

Jerry Saltz, writing for Vulture:

Sister Corita Kent said, “The only rule is work. If you work, it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.” I have tried every way in the world to stop work-block or fear of working, of failure. There is only one method that works: work. And keep working.

I’d never heard of Saltz, the acclaimed art critic, until listening to him on the Longform podcast a couple months ago (which I shared a link to back in Issue 155) and now, of course, I can’t get enough of the guy’s work. Check out these two pieces he wrote for Vulture—“My Life As a Failed Artist” and “How To Be An Artist”—if you’re feeling stuck, stale, frustrated, or dejected by your own creative pursuit(s). Then bookmark them to re-read when you’re inevitably back in that place again someday.

Good Enough is Good Enough

By Mario Fraioli |

Brad Stulberg, writing for Outside:

Research shows that sustainable progress, in everything from diet to fitness to creativity, isn’t about being consistently great; it’s about being great at being consistent. It’s about being good enough over and over again.

This one hit home. Despite the fact that I tell my athletes all the time they should approach their training like baseball—i.e., you don’t need to knock every workout out of the park, so to speak, you just need to make good contact and consistently get on base—I often need to remind myself of the same principle when it comes to various pursuits in my own life. Case in point: my newsletter and podcast, where the deep-rooted desire to make every issue and episode great, rather than “good enough” week in and week out, more often than not causes me hours of lost sleep, decreased enjoyment in the process itself, and unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Confirmed: Running Is A Weird Sport

By Mario Fraioli |

Peter Sagal on the 1A show:

I don’t know why we’re not seeing more movies about runners or amateur runners or even the extraordinary people who are running professionally and doing really, really well. One of the weird things about our sport is that unlike every other sport I can think of, we runners tend not to venerate the people who are really good at it.

At some point, I’ll get Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait and author of The Incomplete Book of Running to join me on the podcast, but until then, listen to this awesome bit from the 1A and let it whet your appetite for a bit.

Postmarathonism and Returning to Routine

By Mario Fraioli |

Andy Waterman, writing on Medium:

As in running as in life, structure isn’t something that binds us and oppresses us, but rather it’s the framework within which we’re able to thrive, test our limits and make sense of the world. Whether you’re a writer or a runner, the imposition of structure is often what ultimately sets you free. If you can nail the existentialist quest for structure within postmarathonism, half the battle is won.

I loved this essay on what Waterman calls “postmarathonism” and the yearning for a return to the structure and routine running brings to his life. It’s essential re-reading now that CIM is in my rearview. After a few days of relatively routine (and running)-free living, structure is something I’m already starting to crave again—but not as much as the chocolate chip cookie I just started munching on.

Are PEDs a Problem in Ultrarunning?

By Mario Fraioli |

Are performance-enhancing drugs a problem in ultrarunning? It depends on who you ask but 13 percent of respondents in an anonymous online survey—three-quarters of which were male and almost half over 40—smoke, or ingest, weed.

“I’m far from convinced that it’s really helpful—at best, I suspect it’s highly individual and dependent on temperament,” Alex Hutchinson writes for Outside. “But these results bolster the anecdotal case that a non-negligible number of ultrarunners are toking.” (more…)

USA Track & Field Can’t Get Out Of Its Own Way

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Thanos Pal | Unsplash

Erin Strout, writing for Runner’s World:

I’ve encountered a lot of knowledgeable people with the best intentions who are staff or volunteers at USATF. Unfortunately, their work is often overshadowed by a lot of nonsense at the top, and this is just the most recent example of an organization that can’t seem get out of its own way for the greater good of the sport.

My thoughts on the whole 2020 Olympic Trials ordeal haven’t changed from what I wrote last week (part of which ended up as letsrun.com‘s Quote of the Day on Wednesday) but veteran journalist Erin Strout shared some good ones of her own in this opinion piece for Runner’s World that further corroborates how sloppy of a situation this has become and just how much USA Track & Field’s leadership is paralyzing the growth of the sport in this country.

Putting Failure Into Perspective

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Max Vallot

Professional mountain biker Syd Schulz, writing for the CTS blog:

Meditation teaches you to fail and to put those failures into perspective. The even bigger failure, meditation teaches you, is to dwell on those failures and let them affect the present moment.

I’m back on the mindfulness train after falling off of it post-Boston in April. My routine is far from fancy: ten minutes of guided practice in the morning before I dive into whatever I’m going to do for the day. In Issue 113, I wrote that my word for this year is “awareness.” Ironically enough, I lost focus on keeping that stated objective front of mind for the past few months. On some level, you could say that I failed. But this this article from professional mountain biker Syd Schulz provided some good perspective on failure and was the kick in the butt I needed to get back on the pillow and practice being present.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.