Reading On Running
Over the winter months of 2012-2013 I spent more time reading on the subject matter of running than I did actual running. And though the winter wasn’t filled with any snow for Philadelphia the temperatures were quite frigid so my mileage was low. I have to admit, many of these books motivated and inspired me. 4 of them were stories from authors about their running experiences while the other 2 were more about form and applying a certain skill to your running schedule.If any of these interest you, just click on the title link and a separate tab for Amazon will open. You can order these in paperback or Kindle edition. Here’s my review on these books.
Dean Karnazes is well known in the running world and his story is unbelievable. From the first few pages he puts you in the scene of him running at the crack of dawn while he orders a large pizza and cheesecake to be delivered road side. Not the advice you’d give to any runner but once you realize he’s been running for 50 miles and has another 30 to go it make sense.
Dean’s personal story is quite inspiring and he soon finds himself competing in most of the famous Ultra marathons. His story about the Western States Ultra is riveting I do’;t see myself ever doing a full marathon let alone an ultra yet I’m captivated by these stories of those who have.
Dean has a few other books out but according to most reviews I have seen this is the one to own.
Scott is another well known runner and for good reasons. He has conquered 7 straight wins in the Western States Endurance Run, 2 Badwater wins, 2 Spartathlon victories and many other great accomplishments. His story focuses on how changing his way of eating to a plant based way made him a better runner and disproves anyone who says that a runner needs their “meat” for protein. His book is filled with these vegan, plant based recipes in between chapters. I highly recommend this book.
I have great admiration for Rich Roll. He was a born athlete who found himself 40 and overweight; sweating after climbing a set of stairs. His athleticism was thrown aside for a life of booze and drugs and self destruction. he turned it all around between the ages of 40 and 42 and became an Ultra runner. Another vegan runner who was recognized as one of the ’25 Fittest Guys in the World’ by Men’s Fitness Magazine. His biggest accomplishment was a series of Iron Man challenges he did in Hawaii.
With all due respect to Mr. Roll, I did not find this book as enlightening or fun to read as the others. The first half of the book is mostly about his life before running and all about his road to recovery. The second half picks up and gets into his running and training.
This is probably the most famous of running books out there. It also brought to surface the question of running shoes. While I won;t get into the debate of running apparel here I will say that this book is a great read. It has a slow start. Almost 1/3 of the book goes by before the “good parts” but once it picks up it’s an easy read. Our before mentioned author, Scott Jurek makes an appearance in this book,too. Another highly recommended book.
BOOKS ON TRAINING:
I recently read 2 books on training. One is designed for marathon training and the other for general road racing – any length race. Both were extremely helpful in me making some adjustment to the way I was running.
This book is recently new and is a bit unconventional when it comes to marathon training. The focus is more on quality NOT quantity. Gone are the days of 20 mile long runs on the weekend. The program does have you running 5-6 days a week but not just running blindly. Mix in 3 easy runs where your pace is significantly scaled back. Add a tempo run at race pace and another day’s long run. The emphasis is on speed drills. What I took away from this book was the idea of resting not after a long run but after a speed day.Your speed days are the hardest so it’s key to give your legs a day of rest after that.The key element in this book is for marathon training but I found it helped me with a 5k and a ten-miler.
Another helpful book when it comes to road racing. Salazar is well know in the world of running and has helped many runners achieve 1st place medals and PRs. There are a lot of similarities between this book and Hansons with the exception of a few minor details. Salazar puts emphasis of doing speed drill on a flat surface while Hansons suggests hills for intervals. His book does contain some great training plans for any type of runner and any type of race.
I’m open to any suggestions that any of you have for books on running: Be it training or a personal story.
As always, thanks for reading!