It was a hot afternoon in September 1995, at cross-country practice, when Matt Orlando went for his first run. He was wearing the wrong gear, and it showed. A freshman beat Orlando in the 2-mile run, a chunk of which Orlando walked.
“From that moment on,” Orlando said, “I was hooked.”
The New Jersey-based Orlando is an IT guy by day and is better known online as TheRunnerDad, a blog he launched in September 2012 to write about his running exploits.
Orlando shared his thoughts on his blog, running with his oldest son and advice that applies to new and veteran runners, alike:
Q: What’s the experience been like, running TheRunnerDad blog?
Orlando: “It’s been a rollercoaster of an adventure. There have been some incredibly high moments, like interviewing (former Olympian and USA half-marathon champion) Kara Goucher last January via phone, and some really low moments, where I thought about shutting things down and closing up shop. All in all, however, it’s been incredibly rewarding.”
Q: Do you have a favorite or essential piece of running gear, equipment or tech?
Orlando: “Some of my most enjoyable runs are those on a hot summer day, just running shorts and nothing else. However, when I am in training mode I could not do without my running watch. Some might disagree with me, but to me a GPS running watch is essential to proper training. It helps me pace correctly, it allows to me time my fuel stops properly, and gives me motivation to push harder even when I feel like giving up.”
Q: What have you learned about yourself through running?
Orlando: “The best I can say is that running is who I am, and if you have been a runner for any length of time, you know exactly what I mean.”
Q: Being TheRunnerDad, do your children ever run with you?
Orlando: “My wife and I just had our second child in November, so he hasn’t been out with us yet. My older son, however, loves coming with me on runs in the jogging stroller. His favorite place to run with me is at the boardwalk so that he can watch all the people and cars going by, but I have taken him on both short runs on the boardwalk and up to 10 miles run on some local trails. Running with the jogging stroller not only gives me a chance to spend more time with him, but helps make me a stronger runner.”
Q: What’s your advice for a new runner? Any for me during this 365-day challenge?
Orlando: “The best advice I have for a new runner is simply to remember that everything is hard until it isn’t. A mile seems far until you run two. A half marathon seems impossible…until you cross the finish line of a full. Take each day as it comes, walk when necessary, and remember that it is more about the journey than the destination.
Today: 1.00 miles, 9:29 (Weather: Cool, 28 degrees)
YTD: 18.37 miles, 2:25:46