5 Books on Running


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The posts have not come as frequently this week because I've been tied up with VBS with the kids, meetings at work, and training.  But I have also been busy reading some great (and some not so great) books on running. So here are some of the highlights and thoughts from what I've been reading:

1. Runner's Edge.  Of the books I'm talking about today, this has by far been the most beneficial to my training.  Matt Fitzgerald (one of the authors) is a Training Peaks coach and regular contributer to both Runner's World and Triathlete.  This books highlights many of the technologies that can be harnessed to help track, evaluate, and improve your training.  With detailed charts, sage wisdom, experience from runners, and an easy to read style, this book is worth the money.  I had checked it out from the local library, but after reading the first half of the book there was so much I wanted to highlight that I had to purchase the book. This is a great reference book that you will come back to again and again if you are trying to improve as a runner.
2. Once a Runner. On to something different: a running novel. While novels are typically not my favorite type of reading material, I was appreciative of RunAddicts for sending me a free copy of this book for winning one of the contest. Having just received it earlier this week, I have just started it, but have quickly gotten wrapped up in the story (something which is necessary for me to finish a novel). I think most runners will enjoy this book, and judging by the fact that it has been a New York Times bestseller, several non-runners have enjoyed it as well!
3. Born to Run. If you follow enough barefoot runners on Twitter you are bound to have heard of this book. Really I think everyone has heard of this book as it investigates the Tarahumara tribe and the movement towards minimalistic running shoes.  Right now I am about half way through this book, enjoy the storyline before the book shifts to understanding the barefoot movement. So far it has been interesting, although I am not a fan of the profanity. I get it that you cuss when you hit your thumb with a hammer, but profanity for profanities sake isn't cool. Get a bigger vocabulary (I that in most cases of the profanity the author is simply reporting what was said by another party, I fact that for me, actually makes it worse, because he could have chosen to omit these quotes. Overall, it has been a good read and I have enjoyed learning the background of races like the Western States 100 (which is coming up soon) and some interesting people who make up the ultra running community.
4. Brain Training for Runners. I use to be a therapist (currently in the process of renewing my license after moving out of state for 4 years) and I love the study of the brain. I just wrapped up a class with UMass on psycho-pharmacology that focused on the effect of drugs on the brain. This also happens to be another book by Matt Fitzgerald.  Again, we have an easy read for a complex subject.  I have only just started this book, but I have found the insights to be very helpful and I look forward to digging deeper into this book.
5. Run with Champions. I found this book on Paperback Swap and thought I would really enjoy it. Unfortunately, I was a disappointed.  The subtitle to the book is : Training Programs and Secrets of America's 50 Greatest Runners. The book lists the Top 30 Men and Top 20 Women in US distance running history.  I thought the book would have spent more than 9 pages (at the end) looking directly at the training for these athletes. While each runners profile also ended with a half page training tip, I was expecting a little more with some of the tips. For example, Abel Kiviat's tip that he only trained 1 or 2 days during the week and then raced on Saturday and Sunday wasn't that helpful to me. Even the tips that were more structured (ie. actually looked like a workout) were sometimes devoid of context, so you won't know where to add this into your plan for maximum benefit.  I guess I probably shouldn't be a critical of the book since I will be posting it on Paperback Swap for someone else to enjoy, but I really think this is a book to check out from your local library, not own.

Have you read of of these books? What are you thoughts?
Are there any other great books of running that I need to add to the summer reading list?


RunningDummy said...

I have read all of these and would STRONGLY recommend Again to Carthage (the sequel to Once a Runner)!

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