Last year I kept noticing people on the tube reading a book with a big word RUN on the cover. After the 4th or 5th sighting I twisted my neck to see the full title and ordered it from Amazon that very night: Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall.
I can see why it’s been a very popular book – it’s a great read even if you are not remotely interested in running. It’s about a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, who live quietly in canyons and are the best distance runners in the world. McDougall tries to learn the tribe’s secrets to find out what makes an incredible runner. The book is full of incredibly colourful characters and funny stories, AND if you do happen to be into running – it will make you want to run more and more and longer and longer and further and further.
The second book I ever read about running was Haruki Murakami’s What I talk about when I talk about running (3). I read it within a matter of a couple of days and totally felt that I had found my long-lost identical twin (nevermind that he happens to be a 60-year old Japanese man) – he had captured so many of my thoughts. Here are some of my favorite quotes that I could have written if I were a good writer:
“When I was at school I never much cared for gym class, and always hated Sports Day. This was because these were forced on me from above. I never could stand being forced to do something I didn’t want to do at a time I didn’t want to do it. Whenever I was able to do something I liked to do, though, when I wanted to do it, and the way I wanted to do it, I’d give it everything I had.”
“… having the kind of body that easily puts on weight was perhaps a blessing in disguise. In other words, if I don’t want to gain weight I have to work out hard every day, watch what I eat, and cut down on indulgences. Life can be tough, but as long as you don’t stint on the effort, your metabolism will greatly improve with these habits, and you’ll end up much healthier, not to mention stronger.”
“… a person doesn’t become a runner because someone recommends it. People basically become runners because they’re meant to.”
Whether you love running or not though, the book is a very entertaining read – a novelists’ journey in writing novels, running marathons and dividing his life between Cambridge (Massachusetts), Hawaii and Japan.
Two of the most recent books on running that I’ve read are The Lazy Runner (2) by Laura Fountain and Be Pretty on Rest Days (4) by Muireann Carey-Campbell. The Lazy Runner used to live in my neighbourhood and I found out that there are toilets in the middle of Wimbledon Common – a VERY useful piece of information to have! Her book is a mix of her personal stories, lessons learned and tips on everything from running clothing to going to the toilet during a marathon when no toilets are to be seen. I feel I’m now well and truly ready for my first 26.2 in April 🙂
Be Pretty on Rest Days is another great book for someone who’s thinking about running but doesn’t know where to start. Muireann covers all the basics of how the heck does one begin becoming a runner and her book is full of great practical tips on getting you on the road and clocking up the miles. If you think that running sort of looks like it could be good but are not sure whether you could actually do it – both of these books are a must read – they are written by women who once thought exactly that.
I’ve never read a ‘proper’ training book or a nutrition book or anything else more technical. I love reading about ordinary people achieving awesome things (and some pretty extraordinary people achieving awesome things – aka the Tarahumara :).
Have you read any books about running? Let me know what your favorites are, I could read about running the entire time I’m not actually running!*
*That actually means during my weekly commute to and from work as when I’m at home I have them children to entertain and meals to cook and sore muscles to foam roll.