frequently asked questions
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What is EARNED RUNS™?
A: EARNED RUNS™ is a company that enables runners and walkers, alone or in small groups, to train and compete in personally designed races by providing free professional racing bibs and supportive information. EARNED RUNS™ encourages participants to make charitable donations with funds saved on race registration fees. EARNED RUNS™ strives to be socially engaging but environmentally responsible by promoting small friendly competitions that are minimally disruptive to community life, generate little waste, and utilize bibs and merchandise designed for global and repeated use. This approach can lessen costs to the individual while increasing participation in and enjoyment of competition!
When I request FREE EARNED RUNS™ bibs, what information must I provide and what happens to it?
A: The only information required is name, email address, and mailing address. Age, gender, running history, or other information is NOT sought. There is NO NEED to provide payment information because the bibs are mailed to the requesting person free of charge. THERE ARE NO SHIPPING AND HANDLING FEES. The information on name and addresses is held exclusively by EARNED RUNS LLC. It will not be given or sold to outside parties. The intent of this company is to encourage personal competition, not to collect personal data. Information on where in the USA/world requests generally originate might be published on the website or social media at some time for the interest of followers. The email address is for communication regarding the sending and receipt of bibs. There are no plans to email additional promotional material; it would require a separate permission from the requesting person.
Why does EARNED RUNS™ think competing is so great? I like plain walking or running for pleasure!
A: Competition elevates running or walking to a higher level; it becomes your SPORT rather than merely a healthy activity. It adds purpose and even excitement to everyday exercise routines. Deciding to compete increases your commitment to running or walking; you must train to perform better and avoid injury. The run or walk you took only when you felt like it becomes a scheduled effort in your training plan, on which all subsequent efforts depend. If you are to successfully cover a longer distance or finish a distance in a shorter time, this INVESTMENT in yourself is necessary. Training and competing can help you become not only faster, but physically and mentally stronger. Identifying, training for, and finishing several to multiple goal races, events, or challenges throughout the year allows runners to experience personal accomplishment frequently, which builds confidence.
How does involving youth in personal competition help to build character?
When using EarnedRuns bibs to design and run a race and report results, participants comply with a traditional "honor system" that requires honesty and integrity. Involving children and adolescents in EarnedRuns™ racing activities, especially family or neighborhood events in which trusted adults model these qualities, offers supervised opportunities for them to develop character-enhancing skills and lifelong healthy habits.
I can decide to personally compete, train, and race without a bib. Why do I need EARNED RUNS™?
A: You may not! Some runners or walkers need encouragement and structured support to take their "game" to the level of competition. Perhaps there is someone you would like to run with, a reluctant buddy or spouse, but have not been able to get them to start. EARNED RUNS™ could help you convince them, and assist with their entry into the "community" of competitors.
Is EARNED RUNS meant to replace organized races?
A: Absolutely NOT! It can stand alone as a competition system or complement organized racing. Many certified race training programs that prepare runners for long distances (full and half marathons) suggest running a shorter distance race (5K or 10K) several weeks prior to its official race date. Finding such a race nearby at that exact date can be nearly impossible or can add too much cost. With EARNED RUNS™ bibs you can easily schedule such races and perhaps improve your PERFORMANCE in organized races.
I am a seasoned runner. I participate in organized races whenever I want. Why would I need EARNED RUNS?
A: All long-time runners, especially those who love to compete and strive continuously to post PR's (personal records) in races and training runs, seek new motivations. Running personal competitions with ER bibs can be another source of INSPIRATION that fuels your efforts. If you run team events like Ragnar you can use EARNED RUNS™ bibs to hold training races for your team and incentivize them to train harder.
Is EARNED RUNS what is called "virtual" racing?
A: Virtual runs are themed, organized events, that require each participant to pay a registration fee for a specific event that can be run at any location or time, but on a certain day or within a span of days. Specific event merchandise may be included or available for purchase. Organizers usually support a charity with registration fees. Virtual racing offers more flexibility than "real-time" organized racing but registration is not free and bib use is most often for a specific event. It's another wonderful activity you can enjoy as a competitor!
I want to run in the very cool BIG ORGANIZED races that have years of tradition and ceremony behind them as well as those that are fun extravaganzas. But what if I missed the registration deadline, can't travel then, can't afford the fee, or can’t qualify. Can EARNED RUNS help?
A: USING EARNED RUNS bibs you can train appropriately and schedule your official race time and distance to be the SAME as the BIG ORGANIZED race you so dearly wish to run, but on a different course, a different location. You will be legally running “in spirit’ with the official participants. Perhaps this event will MOTIVATE you to MAKE THE EFFORT to run that big race in the future. GO FOR IT!!!
I have registered for races and enthusiastically followed training plans, but could not complete the full program because of injuries. I did not compete, lost the registration fee, and became totally discouraged. Can EARNED RUNS™ possibly help with that?
A: Having obtained free EARNED RUNS™ bibs you won't lose a registration fee if you are injured or can't run for other reasons. You can reschedule your race, taking time off as needed for rest and treatment. After that experience you might be highly motivated to pay attention to strategies that avoid over-training injuries, like including regular rest days and strength-building exercises. Almost all training advice today promotes practices like stretching, foam rolling, and low-impact activities that lessen the chance of injury. See the RESOURCES page for these kind of training aids.
I am new to running/walking. Are there simple goals to inspire me that don't involve pace or distance?
A: Initially you may wish to set a goal to be moving on your feet for an increasing amount of time over your weeks of training rather than covering a specific distance or moving at a specific pace. Some plans call for alternating walking and running for a set number of minutes. See the RESOURCES page.
Is EarnedRuns just proposing we follow OLD SCHOOL guidelines of working hard at running?
A: The principle of needing to work hard to accomplish important running goals is timeless. The offer to provide free personal bibs and information support to assist runners in designing, training for, and competing in personalized races is novel; it follows NEW SCHOOL thinking but adds the dimension of custom racing. There's no example of a previous similar offer of which we're aware (please share this information If you have it).
OLD SCHOOL = focuses on quantity of miles run + organized racing
NEW SCHOOL = focuses on overall training + mileage quality + organized racing
EARNED RUNS = focuses on overall training + mileage quality + racing often, in organized + free, custom events
Why does EarnedRuns highlight races that provide separate registration for walkers, as well as awards?
A: Many run/walks “welcome” walkers. Walker race registration fees are happily accepted and walkers can be timed with a chip. There is usually a time limit that indicates to walkers the maximum mile pace that would allow them to cross the finish line and be recognized by the sponsoring organization. The focus, however, is on runners. Awards are given to only those who finish the race with the fastest time, which in most instances, effectively excludes walkers from winning. Walkers are given a “tag along" status. This is not a problem for many walkers, and finding a walk “race” is not a problem for them. Those who wish to be eligible for awards must work harder to interpret race websites to find races that separate them from runners in some fashion (separate start times, courses, awards). EarnedRuns thinks walkers who participate in truly competitive races will more fully enjoy their sport and be rewarded for their training, and so highlight true walk races on the WALKER RESOURCES page.
Gear and Stuff
I want to buy good shoes that fit my body size and running habits. Can EARNED RUNS™ help?
A: Guides published online and in magazines at the beginning of fall, spring, and summer seasons, help with shoe model choice, and can educate you about different brands and shoe types. Look at the RESOURCES page for links to information about shoes, training, safety, etc. Specialty running stores are often ideal places to get personal assistance with choice and fit, and have return policies that allow you find the pair that works best. Ask about end-of-season sales, when current shoe models are discounted in advance of roll-outs of the newest models by shoe manufacturers, which can save you money. If you know the model and size you need in that manufacturer's line-up, online stores are convenient places to purchase them.
Getting a medal is the most important aspect of racing for me. Does EARNED RUNS offer merchandise?
A: Many would agree that medals make the coolest race mementos! Others think they are non-essential and should only go to top finishers. EARNED RUNS will offer a basic finisher medal at low cost and a more deluxe medals for those who wish to purchase them for all or top finishers. Check the SHOP page; we plan to have these items soon. Because EARNED RUNS™ wishes to be environmentally-friendly the products will mostly be designed for global (all races, events) rather than for specific use, and be re-usable.
GREEN, generous, and social
I want to organize a running event locally. Can I request more than 4 bibs?
A: EARNED RUNS™ is meant to encourage self-motivated individual or small friendly competitions, comparable to “pick-up” games that are informally arranged between friends and family members. These events are intended to be "GREEN", that is, non-intrusive to local community life (no traffic disruptions or noisy gatherings), to have minimal effect on the environment (no waste or litter, no destruction of natural areas), and be safe for participants (no injury). We limit the bib numbers for this reason.
There are an increasing number of small local races that wish to grow participant numbers; consider partnering with an existing race if a larger race best fits your purpose.
Each person making a request can give one or as many as three bibs away, to other runners. Or suggest that other runners request a set as well. An individual runner who wishes to use all four bibs personally might designate each for a different purpose (a streak, for spring/summer/fall/winter season’s races, for training and competing in a single ‘big’ race, for stages of the RUN/WALK Across America challenge).
I am more committed to train and compete when I DONATE to or RAISE MONEY for a charity or cause. How does EARNED RUNS™ help?
A: You saved money running or walking a self-designed EARNED RUNS™ event, so you potentially have greater financial resources to make donations. Use the links on the GENEROSITY page to find a cause, or contact a favorite organization prior to or after (it's never too late to give) competing.
Most advice I have read about starting to run/walk says to find a buddy or join a group of people who train together. What If ... I am not that social? ...not confident in my running? ...or my schedule doesn’t allow it?
A: Lone runners/walkers are not necessarily lonely!! Training solo can provide quiet contemplative time in a world that is increasingly busy and intruded by technology. It may be your only opportunity for "down" time. Remember that when you train and race in a your sport you are part of the community of all runner/walker competitors. When you register for EARNED RUNS™ bibs you are joining our COMMUNITY too!
I like to share what I am doing with friends. It looks like I’ll be alone with the EARNED RUNS™ system.
A: You don't need to be alone! Friends and family can be invited to join you in training and competing (see HOME). You can give them with one of your 4 bibs or suggest they also request 4 bibs. You can follow us on Facebook; post about your experiences and accomplishments.
Runs in which people wear costumes, get blasted with "color", or run in mud look like so much fun! Can I enjoy this with EARNED RUNS™ bibs too?
A: The trademarked Color Run™ is described as the "happiest 5K on the planet". It and other such runs are crowd-dependent events and the experiences cannot be duplicated on a small scale. Costumed runs often are centered on holidays. You should make joining one a top goal! Before that happens, you can plan an EARNED RUNS™ Reunion, Celebration, or Mash-up (see HOME) race with family and friends. Spectator involvement and participant "craziness" can be added by declaring a theme in advance, decorating T-shirts, and encouraging costumes. If more than one person registers for bibs, everyone in the party who wishes to can participate. The advantage of using EARNED RUNS™ bibs is that this event can become an easy ANNUAL TRADITION, in which the anticipation and fun builds year after year!!!
I want to be "GREEN" as a competitive runner. How can I do this other than making sure I don't leave trash on my runs and when I race, and don't despoil the environment along the way?
A: The general rules for being kind to the earth apply to running as they do to other activities, of course. Conserving energy in travel methods (carpool, bicycle instead of driving), purchase of re-usable bottles rather than disposables, and cleaning up after yourself are some examples of being a good Earth citizen. Runners can shop at thrift stores to purchase race day shirts or jackets that will be left at the start line or along the course. They can urge race directors to skip giving 'goody' bags that are filled with flyers and throw-away advertisements. Running shoes can be recycled or given to charity. EarnedRuns bibs can be used for more than one personal competition event; running a personal race near your home will most times not result in as much energy/resource consumption as one to which travel is required.
“Discipline is remembering what you want most, not what you want now.”
Billy Blanks, martial arts practitioner and creator of the Tae Bo fitness system
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