• He's been called the Pied Piper of the Second Running Boom. Once an overweight couch potato with a glut of bad habits, including smoking and drinking, at the age of 43 Bingham looked mid-life in the face—and started running.

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Old Dog, New Tricks

books headphoneI’ve never thought of myself as an old-school runner. I’m certainly not as hide-bound as the nylon shorts guys who either run bare chested or wear their washed out club singlet. I haven’t always embraced the newest technology. I didn’t like knowing how far I’d run, or how fast [or slow] so wearing a GPS took some convincing. I never wanted to know my heart-rate because I didn’t have any idea what the numbers meant. And, since listening to my heart for signs of trouble was a full-time task I wasn’t keen to listening to music while I ran.

All of that has changed. Now, twenty years into my running life I find that the act of running – and now walking a fair amount – has become such a natural part of who I am that I’m willing to relax and enjoy the experience in new ways.

I like wearing a GPS watch. The nice folks are Garmin were kind enough to give me an XT310. It’s got a big enough screen for me to see and enough bells and whistles to keep me informed and entertained. It’s also been great for running in strange cities. The ability to find my way back to the hotel has saved me more than once.

Like so many people, my iPhone has become a constant companion. It’s been a little like my first microwave. I didn’t think I’d use it until I started to use it. Now, on my phone, I have access to email and social media and music and a flashlight and alarm clock. If you’ve got one, you know what I mean.

I am a voracious reader. Unfortunately I’ve never figured out a way to read while running. Until now. Last week I was introduced the Audible.com. And I’m hooked.

treadmillWith my travel schedule – and living in Chicago – it’s not unusual for me to be doing half of my weekly workouts on a treadmill. You can only watch so many reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” or listen to your favorite Paul Simon songs before you’re ready for something else. That something else, for me, has been listening to books on Audible.com

Without sounding too 60’s transcendental, there has been an interesting mind/body connection while listening to books. I’m engaged mindfully by listening and engaged physically by walking or running. It’s not that the two are completely separate, but I do find that as I get more deeply involved in the book I am less focused – in a positive way – to the time I’m exercising.

So, I guess it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Who knew??

Waddle on, friends.

John

An Accidental Athlete is available in print and ebooks versions now. BUY THE BOOK

Review An Accidental Athlete on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

What others are saying: Looking for some motivation to start running and improve your fitness? You’re sure to find some inspiration from John Bingham’s new memoir, “An Accidental Athlete.” As an overweight, uninspired pack-and-a-half-a-day smoker, Bingham realized that he had to make some changes in his life and began running at the age of 43. With wit and humor, Bingham recounts his journey from couch potato to self-proclaimed “adult on-set athlete.”- ESPN Gear Guide

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3 Responses

  1. You are my inspiration to run Mr Penguin… AND I am a voice actor and record audiobooks. I fact I have several on Audible. You should have YOURS recorded!! ;o) Thanks for all that you do.
    ~Moe Rock

  2. Audible is great! I drive a lot for work and sometimes I don’t want to get out of the car because I need to hear the end of the chapter. Glad you’ve joined it’s legion of fans. :-)

  3. I’ll have to give audible.com a try.

    For the longest time I’ve sworn off listening to anything while running, but I think I might be coming around. I can’t remember where I saw it, but I remember reading that someone was able to “read” 3 to 4 books during that marathon training. As someone who constantly laments the fact that I don’t read enough anymore, this piqued my interest…

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