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Category Archives: Training

The Curse of Talent

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, The Penguin Archives, Training | No Comments

Most days I love my job. I’m not always happy when I’m repacking a carry-on bag that I just unpacked, but for the most part traveling to races around the country, meeting runners and walkers of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities is very satisfying. Even more so, lately, I’ve enjoyed getting to spend time talking to, and learning from, the sport’s very best. Recently, in a conversation with Deena Kastor, arguably the greatest runner of this generation, I asked her about her early running days. She said she knew at 11 years old that she had talent. And that…

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Flashback Friday: Reason to Run

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | No Comments

Forget stress. One of the best things about running is that it’s absolutely unnecessary. I don’t have to run. Very few of us do, really. It’s not like we’re chasing down our food. We don’t have to escape from predators. Heck, most of us don’t have to run to catch a bus. But we run. The question then becomes why? My own survey of thousands of runners has convinced me that the number one reason most people start to run is to lose weight. When the diameter of your waist is more than one-and-a-half times the length of your inseam…

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Planning to Fail

By | John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | One Comment

This is the old saying. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Well, the author of that quote didn’t know much about people like me. I did plan. And I did plan to fail. Whether it was a fitness program, or weight loss, or quitting smoking, I had to fail. No matter how much planning or hoping or dreaming went on in advance, the end was always the same: failure. If I had succeeded, at any point, my life would have changed. I would have changed. The “ME” that I had spent years cultivating would be a different me. The…

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Let the Games Begin

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | 3 Comments

This is it. Day one. The first day of the rest of your life. Today is your first chance to succeed. And your first chance to fail. This is the first day when you can make the choice to be who you’ve always been or who you’ve always wanted to be. I can’t tell you how many January 1st have come and gone with resolutions that were doomed. I vowed to quit smoking at least 10 times. I was going to start a diet, lose weight, start exercising, learn to speak Spanish, meditate every day, become a better person and…

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The Recess Bell

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | One Comment

Before I had written my first word for Runner’s World magazine the only other writing I had done was my dissertation “The Innovative Uses of the Trombone in Selected Compositions of Vinko Globokar.” If the title sounds pedantic, trust me, the text is even worse. If you are a chronic insomniac, get in touch with me. I’ll send you a copy. You’ll start reading and sleep like a baby. I had been, however, writing a column for a year or so called “The Recess Bell” with a colleague for a monthly “give away” tabloid in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. My co-writer, Lee…

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Come Together

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | No Comments

You might be surprised what Nietzsche and your running buddies have in common. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche really got a bad rap. Either that or he needed a better publicist. There was that whole “God is dead” business that upset so many people and then there’s the “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” quote that’s attributed to him. I actually read one of my favorite Nietzsche quotes in an Outward Bound handbook. In writing about mountain climbing, our boy Friedrich says, “Exhaustion is the shortest way to equality…” I’ve never climbed a mountain so I can’t attest…

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Flashback Friday: Doing Your Best

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | No Comments

THE PENGUIN CHRONICLES :: JUNE 1995 :: DOING YOUR BEST Doing one’s best–sounds like an easy enough concept. “Just do your best, that will be fine,” we are told by teachers and parents. But we quickly discover that doing one’s personal best is not enough. If you were like me, you found out at an early age that simply doing YOUR best wasn’t fine. At least it wasn’t fine if there was someone else who’s best was better than yours. If someone else could say their alphabet or color inside the lines or sing a melody or hit a ball…

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Frost on the Pumpkin

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | No Comments

This morning, like most mornings when I’m home, I made my way downstairs to get a cup of coffee. I know that the computer was a great invention, and there have probably been other significant inventions in my lifetime, but for my money the BEST invention is the automatic coffee maker. Waking up to the smell of coffee already brewed is magical. But I digress. As I looked out onto the deck there was frost on the railing. Real frost. Honest to goodness frost. FROST. When you live in Chicago, or any location that has four actual seasons, that first…

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Run simply, or simply run

By | Bingham, Half Marathon, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Marathon, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | No Comments

I’ve known Thom Gilligan, the driving force behind Marathon Tours and Travel [Marathon Tours] since I first went with him to Antarctica in 2001. Since then, I’ve traveled with him as a part of his staff 6 times. Thom is an old-school, hide-bound, Greater Boston Track Club singlet, nylon shorts runner. There’s no doubt that the drive that has made his company so successful was there – and is still there – in his running. We were chatting at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Expo this past weekend when he said that, if you didn’t know better, you would…

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Flashback Friday: Survival of the Slowest

By | Bingham, Half Marathon, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Marathon, Motivation, Penguin, Running, The Penguin Archives, Training, Walking | No Comments

Survival of the slowest We. The few, the proud, the plodding. Steven Pinker, in “The Language Instinct“, suggests that if language didn’t exist, people would be so driven to communicate that they would create a language. So strong is our instinct toward communication that there are almost no recorded instances of groups of people who have not developed a means of talking to one another. Surely our ancestors had a running instinct as well. It’s hard to imagine a community of humans that would not have included runners. Some, though, then as now, were just a little slower than others….

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