Friday, July 13, 2012

Marathon Essentials: Good Books

I love reading. About running. I also voraciously read all three of the “50 Shades of Grey” books – but that’s another story. Something about reading about other runner’s trials, trails and tribulations makes me feel better about my sometimes silly, sometimes cuckoo running foibles. (isn’t “foilbles” a great word? -- a minor weakness or failing of character; slight flaw or defect). I have read a lot about other runners. I have read a lot of training plans. These are a few of my recent of my faves:

Mile Markers Running books written by women talk a lot about friends and friendships among female runners and their running groups. I think that is very nice, though I have lately been doing most of my running alone. It’s not that I don’t like running with people, but it has more to do with my schedule and running when I can, rather than working my life around a running date. Regardless, I do like Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong. She brings a lot of anecdotes about her life, her kids, her running and friends to a very supportive book that is easy to read. It often feels like I am listening to a friend talk rather than reading a book, and it's easy to feel envious of all the close relationships she has through her running. Kristin was married to Lance Armstrong at one time, and is mother to three of his kids. I think she is the real champ from that relationship.

Run Like a Mother/Train Like a Mother If you read Runner's World or any of the numerous women's fitness magazines, then you have read an article written by either Dimity McDowll or Sarah Bowen Shea. I think I will read anything that either of them have written, because they KNOW what women runners think and feel. They are you and me. What I like about these books is that they bring all their knowledge and expertise to running and training, but they also bring input from regular gals. Without these books, I wouldn't necessarily know that I wasn't alone in my fantasizing when I am running that I am winning a race or any other number of goofy thoughts in my head; nor would it occur to me to run commando in my capris (really. ladies run commando). Or whether or not to have sex the night before a race....oh sheesh. While they do spend a lot of time talking about juggling kids or breastfeeding (and I am past those points), it is humorous and entertaining to read about it all!

Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide The granddaddy of marathoning advice, Mr. Hal is the old man guru of training. I am in the midst of his “Novice 1” marathon training program, and I am finding it to be a practical, sensible approach to my first marathon. I have had people tell me that they think the novice plan is too conservative, but I am not going to try to modify anything. This man has been running a lot longer than me, and I will defer to most of his advice. Everything in the book comes from a sound base of experience and practical use, so from that point-of-view, I find it valuable. What I am learning from this book (along with sage advice from other runners and coaches along the way) I am sure will lead me to my own font of wisdom on running. I don't think it's wise to argue too much from Hal.

Anything by Dean Karnazes Any book by Dean Karnazes is like him – amazing and inspirational. How can you NOT want to go for a 100 mile run after reading him write about what FUN he has while running? Ok, maybe NOT 100 miles, but still. From 50 marathons in 50 days, to running across the U.S., to the Badwater or Western States 100 – he’s a machine. But I like the story of his “first” run the best – after a night of drinking on his 30th birthday. Priceless!

 Sole Sisters A collection of short narratives about women who have inspired, overcome, persevered, or set the stage for the rest of us through their running. A nice read when you just want a snippet or two.

Running the Edge These are pretty cool dudes - Tim and Adam. They are taking running to another level of consciousness by incorporating the "whole person" into the mix. The interesting thing about this book is that when I first started reading it, we were going through motivational training at work that talked about many of the same principals they discuss in improving running and life. From Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to the power of positive thinking and visualization. I am not through the whole book, as I am re-reading sections to absorb it all. Plus, Adam is married to one of my running heroes - Kara Goucher! Go London 2012!

Run On.

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