April 2018 Subscriber Survey Results

Last Thursday, we sent out the first in what we’re planning as a monthly check-in with our newsletter subscribers, to finally begin taking the pulse of how we’re doing, and the kinds of content you’d like to see both in the newsletter and on the website.

I was overwhelmed by the response — as of this writing, more than 1,600 readers have responded (1,658 to be exact) and more than 880 of you provided comments and suggestions in the field we used to ask what you’d like to see that we haven’t thought of.

To start off, here are the 4 questions we asked and your responses:

Readers want to see more about races, and more of them, it sounds like. We’ll definitely step on the gas more with this, as much as we can.

Thanks to our writers Carissa Liebowitz and Hollie Sick, both of whom are highly experienced runners — Carissa will run the Boston Marathon next week and Hollie has run more than 40 half marathons to date — we’ve got what I think are a great collection of unique, useful tips on running and training. But we need to keep building on them, and dig deeper, because you guys find that especially worthwhile. Got it!

As mentioned above, more features and information on races — and going more in-depth on races — is clearly an area that readers are hungry for, with training advice coming in a (relatively) close second.

Honestly, this one was a little bit of a head-scratcher, as I receive many, many emails from you guys on how much you love the personal touch about the newsletter, and the personal essays that start it off each week. But I also heard from many of you that perhaps the question wasn’t phrased correctly — that you would have liked more options here. So we definitely need to work on our survey creation skills in Survey Monkey!

What this tells me, all kidding aside, is that races are paramount. You want more, and you want to know more about them.

In-depth comments

Even more interesting were the comments that you guys provided. I went over them with my wife, and we both agreed there’s a huge treasure trove of things we should try with the website based on your feedback. Hopefully we’ll get to implement them as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the comments with you (anonymous, of course):

“As an elderly WALKER, I’m often left out. The baby boomer population–especially females–were never encouraged to move, let alone run. Now we are trying to move safely despite balance and fitness issues. I have just completed my first 5K; I was proud that I did it. Your articles clearly are focused on a younger population and/or longterm athletes. Perhaps you could occasionally address the elder population that is trying to be physically active for the first time.”

This reader wants races with more time to plan:

“I like the Featured races, however, a lot of times you are featuring races that are a month out. For most people this isn’t enough time to plan for time off work, travel, or lodging (camp sites in my case). If I see anything that looks interesting, I put it on a list that hopefully I’ll remember to look at when planning for next year. The further out the better with featured races would be appreciated.”

This reader likes the personal approach:

“You make the newsletter personal and relatable, thank you. I especially love the motivational/cheerleading words since I started running on my own.”

This reader had good tips for more training-related content:

“I’d really love to see more on strength training with running, suggested workout or strength training plans, and training programs that include strength training days. Thanks!”

Great suggestion on other app/website suggestions we could make:

“I’d like to know what people listen to or think about on longer runs. How do people stay motivated when the weather is bad? How do people combat depression when they need to run? What apps or Facebook groups are available for people to find safe running partners? How do you stay safe when running through sketchy places?”

A lot of you want more articles/content tailored for runners in their 50s, 60s and 70s:

“I guess being a running late bloomer I’d like to read more about senior runners. I’m soon to be 64 and very active and sometimes my body pays the price. I haven’t read much about senior nutritional maintenance, stretch routines, clothing including shoes, workout patterns, etc. I enjoy 1/2 marathons and 10K’s.”

This reader gets at who we’re targeting:

“I am new to the newsletter, since January, but I enjoy every aspect of it. It seems to come from the hearts of “normal”, non-elite, runners and is for regular runners… or regular people who run :-). Keep up the great work.”

And here’s a reader who wants help interpreting the avalanche of health data they deal with:

“More about training and older +50 running and how many day and how many miles are safe to run. Data about average times and distance per runs. Something about analyzing the data we all collect on our runs and how to interpret the results.”

And another on the issues women runners deal with:

“Please keep it going.. possibly you can more healthy tips such as diet, how to have better sleep, build immune system, and more. Also, add real but embarrassing issues that runners go through, such as what to do when you need the restroom during the race and no restroom are available. what things you need to prepare for those embarrassing moments and be able to finish. What do women do if she gets menses on the race day? What ways to help with menses cramps, headache, etc to help one finish the race. Also how about women who just had a baby and has to pump her breast to relieve the fullness . What does women do during the race? Are there special devices? Or what other ways. These are just some suggestions that can be added in your articles. Hope these help. Thanks!”

There are many, many more great comments, and I’ll update this post with more. Thanks so, so much for responding to the survey — you are helping to shape what this website and our email newsletter become.

3 comments… add one
  • Danelle April 24, 2018, 2:21 pm

    Hi Terrell,
    I think maybe because there were only three options for that last question that people just picked one. I left it blank because I like all three. I enjoy the personal essays. They are inspiring to me. Maybe an N/A option could have helped here. But keep up the great work. 🙂

  • Barry Music April 12, 2018, 10:21 am

    Hey Terrell,

    Don’t be dis-heartened by the numbers on the survey. I feel that most people truly do enjoy the essays, I know I do. I think that maybe they are looking for more input on races.

    These two things are what I can’t get from places like Runner’s World. There I can get plenty of advice on goals that I’ll never reach, but this site makes running personal.

    Thanks again,


    • Terrell Johnson April 12, 2018, 10:48 pm

      Thanks, Barry!

      Really interesting to hear your thoughts above. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately on what we offer that’s unique, that places like Runner’s World don’t.

      (Let’s leave aside the fact that they have a big editorial staff and we’re 2 people + 2 freelance writers + 1 intern!)

      But the point you make is a great one — we need to focus on what we do best and not try to simply copy them. Really appreciate the input/feedback.

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