A collection of food bowls and platters with sliced meats, shredded cheese, and chopped herbs and vegetables
A collection of food bowls and platters with sliced meats, shredded cheese, and chopped herbs and vegetables
Photo by Rudy Issa on Unsplash

“Mise-en-place” is one of the fundamental steps of the cooking process. It’s a basic tenet of professional cooking and is, thanks to the explosion of food media over the last two decades or so, a term many home cooks know as well.

A conjugation of the French mettre en place, which means “to put in place” or “to prepare,” mise-en-place means to prepare your station and your ingredients before beginning to cook a recipe. If you think of cooking as preparing food, doing your mise-en-place first means that you’re preparing to prepare food.

(I’ve even heard chefs refer to “preparing…

A photograph of a small dog wearing glasses looking at a laptop like it’s a person.
A photograph of a small dog wearing glasses looking at a laptop like it’s a person.
Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

My colleagues are incredible technologists who know their products inside and out. Technology companies are all filled with people like this, and that’s why there are so many great products and services in the tech space. It’s also why much of the help documentation supporting those products and services is just so … bad.

I see this situation all the time: Companies, having worked hard to cultivate a warm relationship with their customers, throw it all away once those customers start having questions or experiencing issues. …

Photo by BAILEY MAHON on Unsplash

Imagine this scenario: You’re close to two hours into a long run, approaching your turnaround point. It’s hot. Beyond hot, really. Scorching: dry, pounding heat, the sort that turns clay into dust. For every single minute of your run, there’s been a mountain standing prominently and ominously just off to your right.

They call it Mount Diablo.

You’re not hungover, exactly, but you’re not not hungover. After all, you work in a restaurant and last night, a Saturday, you didn’t get home until one in the morning, your mind still racing, and as always, you had a beer or three…

Revisiting my habits in the pursuit of autonomy

A photograph of a woman running alongside water, wearing sunglasses and a watch, with a phone strapped to her arm.
A photograph of a woman running alongside water, wearing sunglasses and a watch, with a phone strapped to her arm.
Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

Strava is a useful tool, allowing athletes to record their activities and connect to others. Its dual role as both activity tracker and social network has helped it become enormously popular.

I’ve used it for years. Through 2020, Strava was one of three apps I use to track my activities. (The others are Garmin, which actually records it, and MapMyRun, which I use mostly as a legacy app because it has my lifetime data going back over a decade.) I haven’t been running lately, but until recently, I was still using it to record yoga sessions and other workouts.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There must be a word for this feeling. I haven’t been able to find it yet — not in English nor in German nor in any other language — so I guess I’ll have to spend a couple hundred words describing it instead. The feeling I’m trying to describe is the one you get when you remember a time in your life that was challenging — if not outright hellish — but instead of the memory giving you pangs of residual despair, it makes you oddly happy.

Is that a universal feeling? I have no idea. It’s certainly new to…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Who is a runner? My answer to that used to be simple: It’s a person who runs. But not everyone agrees with that definition.

I frequently talk to people who run four or five days a week and say they are not a runner. When I interrogate this a little, it becomes clear they’re comparing themselves to people like me — people who’ve run multiple marathons, who love track work, who run hills because they know the pain is good for them. The implication is that they need to do these other things to really be a runner.

I recently…

Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

Early on in quarantine, I took a yoga class. That may not sound like a big deal, but I’m in my mid-30s and am a lifelong athlete, yet this was my first real yoga class.

Last summer, I technically took two classes as part of a strange “fitness festival” held in a disused hangar next to the Santa Monica Airport. I won tickets to the festival, but the only events I signed up were one session of “dance cardio” — which didn’t involve nearly as much dancing as I’d hoped — and two rounds of “wakeup yoga.” …

Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

Heart rate training can be valuable. Knowing your target heart rates for different types of runs can help you make sure you’re not working too hard on easy runs — or too easy on hard runs.

Since most of your running should be easy, it’s important to know that you’re not going too hard on those easy days. And if you decide to crank the pace once or twice a week, knowing your target heart rates can help you find the right level of hard.

That said, I rarely tell any runners to run based on their heart rate. I…

Photo by Daniel Guerra on Unsplash

Television has never been a big part of my life, at least not since my high school days obsessively watching The O.C. But that changed recently.

Somehow, running has made me watch more TV than ever these days. And somehow, watching TV gets me even more excited to run.

Or one commercial does. It’s not a new commercial, but as I’ve started to watch more TV, I’ve started seeing it more and more. And I don’t mind, because it encourages me to run almost every day.

First, some context into why I’m suddenly watching TV: After a series of injuries…

Photo from Pixabay on Pexels.

Oh, the joys of being a runner with a sensitive stomach.

Gastrointestinal issues run in my family. I, however, am the only one of us foolish enough to pick a sport where GI problems are so common there’s a universally-accepted euphemism for them. I’m talking, of course, about the dreaded runner’s trots.

I’ve developed a number of strategies for dealing with the trots, which I’ve collected here for you.

This advice comes from years of trial and error. And by that, I mean that for years, at least one run a week ended with me shuffling, pinching everything closed, praying…

Alexander J. Hancock

Writer, runner and reluctant technologist.

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