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Running a Marathon and the Panda Update

Running a Marathon and the Panda Update

What does the fact that I’m running a marathon tomorrow and the latest Panda have to do with each other?  Pretty much nothing.  The only connection is that I’m going to talk about them both today.

Its Friday today, so this is just kinda a quick free for all post.

First, I have talked at length about the recent Google EMD update here. However, as a couple of readers noted, it turns out that Google also rolled out an update to the Panda formula at about the same time.  Matt Cutts wasn’t as timely with this announcement, but has confirmed that this Panda update did indeed take place around the same time as the EMD update.  You can read more about these changes here and here.

So, if your site was a non-EMD but still appears to have been penalized, it was possibly due to the new Panda update.

What this means?  This doesn’t really change anything that I’ve already said about my new strategy for building niche sites here.  Essentially the focus is on building higher quality sites that I can spend more time on.  By spending more time on each site, I will truly have the chance to acquire the quality links that I’ll need.  Link building will not involve as much automation tools (if any), but will rather focus on other high value link building processes.  I’ve already written about quality link building tactics here and here and here.

That’s all I’ll say about niche sites for now, more to come in the future.  Now, onto my marathon…stop reading now if you don’t care!

Running a Marathon

Tomorrow I am running the Leavenworth Marathon.  This will be my 3rd marathon and hopefully will go well!  I actually thought I would only run 1 marathon ever in my life just to say I did it, but apparently I was lying to myself.

I’ve always been competitive when it comes to sports, and I just can’t stand not getting the marathon times that I know I can!  So, my number one goal tomorrow is to beat myself.  This really shouldn’t be too hard.

My first marathon was 2 years ago and I came in at around 3 hrs. 58 minutes.  This was slower than I expected, but I was happy to break 4 hours.

Then last year I ran the Seattle Rock n’ Roll marathon in a time of 4 hrs. and 8 minutes.  Ouch!  I really thought I was going to be in the 3:30’s for that one.  But it turns out I was not prepared well, didn’t fuel well, and it was a tough course (hilly).  It was also a hot day.  See?  I have lots of excuses!  The reality is that I just probably thought I was faster than I really was and came out to fast, and was ill prepared.

So, will the 3rd time be the charm?  We’ll see.

My goal is to complete the marathon in 3 hours 35 minutes.  (I hate to reveal that, because I might not hit my goal!).  Here’s why I think I can get that time:

I’ve trained harder this year than ever before.  I’ve had multiple long runs over 20 miles.  I’ve run more intervals to work on my speed as well.  My overall weekly mileage is more than my previous 2 marathons.

They also say the best way to predict a marathon time is to run a half-marathon (or other long race) to extrapolate your potential time.  Well, I ran a half-marathon about 1 month ago and got a time of 1:40:54.  When you punch this half marathon time into the McMillan race calculator; it predicts that I could finish a marathon in 3:32:21.

So, I think 3:35:00 is doable.  What do you think?

In addition, the first 10 miles of the course are downhill!  The weather should also be very cool.  It should be around 35 to 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) at the start of the race, with a high of around 68 for the day (I should be done long before it hits the high for the day).

Even though the first 10 miles are downhill, I’m going to try and run these slow.  My goal is to run my last 6 miles faster than my first 6.  Never done that before, we’ll see how it goes 🙂 .

What’s on My iPod?

I don’t think I could stand running for over 3 hours without some music to listen to.  Music helps me take my mind off of the monotony of putting one foot in front of the other.  Certain songs can also be highly motivational that give me an extra boost to run a little faster than I thought possible.

Here are a couple of songs that I’ve been enjoying lately on my iPod.  I’ll be listening to these and many more tomorrow morning during the marathon!

  • Cee Lo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City”.  You can listen on YouTube here:  (opens a new window) For the record I don’t approve of the activities taking place in the video, but I love the song!
  • Daft Punk “Tron Legacy” (Moby Remix). Check it out on Youtube here: .  (opens new window) For some reason, I love running to this.  Someone needs to make a really cool music about people doing really amazing things with this song playing in the background…

Anyway, I have lots of other songs as well, that’s just a sample.

That’s it for this Friday!  Have a great weekend!  If you care to share your thoughts below about the Panda update or the marathon, I’d love to hear them.

**Updated!**  I finished the marathon in a time of 3:37:10!  I’m very happy with this time.  Yes, its 2 minutes slower than my goal, but its still 21 minutes faster than my previous best time.  I can live with that.  Also, I placed 3rd in my age group overall!


22 Comments for this Post

  1. Arbel Arif

    Arbel Arif

    G, oh G… I wish I will not depending on you.
    This is how I see it –
    Panda & Penguin in the beginning of the year targeted Viagra sites & hugh spammy sites.
    This time G targeted affiliate sites, AdSense sites and middle class sites.
    it looks like G only care about their stock holders.
    They want to bring more income from adwords, the organic search engine looks like its owned by YouTube, Amazon & eBay.
    1+1=2 – G don’t like us, G likes big brands – forums, questions sites, interactive sites etc.
    In my opinion link building can only hurt you, G want links from authority sites like news sites, brand sites.
    I think 50 pages sites will not do the work, if you will not get hit now, you will get hit later.
    My advice is to build brands or sites with no depended in G
    This is only my 50 cents advice 🙂

  2. Des


    Can you explain your method for getting more diversified links since it will no longer be automated, is it going to be social media, do you plan on using directory submissions, article submissions, wikis, web 2.0 forums etc………………….., why not automated, from my understanding automation doesn’t leave a footprint, but if you constantly spam the same sites over and over, that is what raises the flag

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I linked to 3 articles in the post about link building.

  3. Youssef


    Hmmm…hard to tell here Spencer. It will depend on how hard you trained for it. Not to mention, we are talking shaving 10 mins here – it is doable nonetheless.

    I always run with someone slightly faster then me to get better results. Pro tip, pick a faster, lean and mean girl to push you 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Just updated the post with my results…finished in a time of 3:37:10!

      • Youssef



  4. Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    Best of luck Spencer!

  5. Niche Wolf

    Niche Wolf

    This is obviously one of the hardest times for most people . The emd and Panda Update assassinated a lot of sites.

    However , my sites that are updated frequently all escaped . I also noticed that ticker sites were also spared.

    All the best in your race.



  6. semir


    hey spencer
    i think u r so weak right now because of the marathon. but i have a question for you! How do you analyze first page competition right now? after emd and panda update! when u go to previous high competition keywords they are filled with big authority sites, when u go to previous low competition still big sites there, how can i beat amazon and others being on the first page while i have a very new authority site? even for low search, and used to be low competion?

  7. Kris @ Detailed Success

    Kris @ Detailed Success

    I think it’s time to step away from google. As of right now Google is doing everything to cut us out. (No idea why, because they are earning a lot of money from us. But apparently not).

    Each month there’s something new that kills niche sites.

    There are a lot of different and unique ways to monetize online and I’m looking into them.

    Why date someone who hates you? I know breakups are hard, but this one is a must. We can still be friends with Google and see each other from time to time and maybe try again in the future, but for now – it’s over.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Why not take a diversified approach? Get free traffic from Google, but also work on other traffic methods as well. A more balanced approach is better than just giving up on the best free source of traffic on the planet.

  8. Sunil l Building Passive Income

    Sunil l Building Passive Income

    let’s forget Google exists for the week and focus on what’s more important. all the best Spencer

    • semir


      hey sunil
      i know u from ur blog…i am ur fan…downloaded ur ebook. Every body says diversify away from google. and How can it be done? can u make a living from random traffic …..from twitter, facebook, pinterest, forums etc… just an example…
      you now lisa irby right? she has a good site on creating websites. and she is earning a good amount from it right now. i dont know howmuch exactly, but i believe it is more than 1000$ per month, she is one the famous bloggers who say diversify away from google. But , What happens if her site gets deindexed? what if her site just stops receiving any amounts of traffic from google?! Will she still be able to make a living out of it? she may have lots of backlinks from other sites, but i dont think the non search engine traffic she gets can make her more than 1000$. What is your idea on this? i am from africa…and if i can even make 200 per month, it is great for me. it is a living. i have no problem of putting up an authority site that is so useful! but How do i get traffic without search engines, and make money?

      • semir


        and spencer, i would love to hear ur ideas on this too….just tell me what u think might work. i will try it. please.

  9. Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

    Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

    Hey Spencer!

    Congrats on the marathon, and thanks for touching base about the recent Google Panda updates. I’m continuing to move in a direction where my business decisions do rely so heavily on Google’s next move.

    Trying to diversify income revenue streams, mitigate risks, and explore multiple business opportunities.

    Thanks again for all the great information!

    All the best!

  10. Adrian Abrate

    Adrian Abrate

    Good work on the marathon. I came in at 4 hours 45 minutes for my first two years ago. That 35th km was painful.

    I always find that Kasabian, Queens of the Stoneage and The Donnas get me going on a long run. Enjoy the endorphins!

  11. Shane


    Congrats Spencer.

    I actually got off my backside after reading this article and walked 5km (on the treadmill). I know its no where near a marathon, but it was a win for me.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      That’s great! It always starts somewhere…

  12. Steve @ IngeniousInternetIncome

    Steve @ IngeniousInternetIncome

    Congrats on the great time. I keep thinking about moving in that direction and getting back in shape running. I ran cross-country in high-school and I’m a far ways away from being able to do that now.

  13. 14 Surefire Ways to Find Great Blog Content Ideas | Niche Pursuits

    14 Surefire Ways to Find Great Blog Content Ideas | Niche Pursuits

    […] or off-topic can be a good way to mix things up on your site.  For example, I recently posted about my 3rd Marathon that I ran a few weeks ago.  This really has nothing to do with niche business ideas, but hey, its […]

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