February 19, 2016

My 5 Favorite Running Books

Happy Friday! This week's Friday Five topic is favorites, and I'm sharing some of my favorite running books.  Thanks to the ladies of DC, Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for the linkup. Here is a little confession...as much I love running gear and clothing, I also love to read and add to my collection of running books.  The list below is varied from the story of Katherine Switzer to a trio of books offering great information about specific marathon major races.
Yes, I love running and reading!

1.  Marathon Woman by Katherine Switzer  
Every woman runner should read this book by the woman who pioneered women's running for all of us.  By running the Boston Marathon in 1967 with an official race bib, she started a movement that changed running forever.  She fell into running as she prepared to play field hockey at Lynchburg College where her teammates wore pantie girdles while competing.  Following her journey from the famous bib #261 at Boston in 1967 to today, the changes and wonderful opportunities that became available to women runners was made possible by her perseverance both on and off the roads.

My book, signed by Katherine last April

2.  Older Faster Stronger by Margaret Webb  
Great for aging runners, this book helps you maintain a level of fitness that goes against the grain of what should happen as you age. While many runners have seen the statistics that you peak by age 40 and then your race times start to increase, the author proves that this can be changed with the right training, attitude, coaching and nutrition.  The factors that affect performance are numerous and you will find things to improve your performance by following a few key ideas provided in this book.

3.  How Bad Do You Want It by Matt Fitzgerald  
High level athletes have people to coach their brains/minds about positive outcomes for their athletic performance.  Many Olympians have not only a nutrition and physical training coach, but also a psychologist to enhance their state of mind on race day.  Mental performance is considered as important as physical performance when you race.  Matt gives many examples of athletes and their extraordinary performances in adverse situations that make you think about your race experiences and what you can do to improve upon them in the future.  When the going gets tough, you need some mental reinforcements to help carry you to the finish line.  This book provides good tools for dealing with race day struggles as you work towards a new PR.

4.  My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman 
 Follow along on the journey of CNN correspondent Tom Foreman as he agrees to train and run a marathon with his eldest daughter Ronnie.  They work hard to prepare for the Georgia Marathon and during this time, Tom resumes his marathon running days from his 20's as a now 51 year old runner.  While his daughter trains in Georgia and he in the DC suburbs, the story shares all the trials and tribulations involved with working, going to school and balancing family life.  Tom ultimately becomes hooked on running again and runs an ultra marathon to close out the book.  This is a quick and fun read, but don't get me wrong, like every runner he shares the highs and lows, insecurities and worries that all runners deal with from time to time.

5.  This last book is actually three that incorporate half of the marathon majors, Boston, London and NYC.   26.2 Miles to Boston by Michael Connelly, A Race Like no Other by Liz Robbins and The London Marathon by John Bryant 
After qualifying for both the Boston and NYC Marathons, I purchased the two books that provide a preview of the race courses with some great history thrown in.  The Boston book includes a mile by mile course report that includes details about the infamous hills and what to expect from the crowds and some fun stories of prior race days.  The NYC book has an interesting twist as the author follows several runners in the journey to 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of the city.  There is plenty of course information, but the story of these runners is quite special, with one running with his brother after surviving cancer treatments.  Finally the London book is one that is waiting for me to read prior to my race in April.  I've skimmed the book and will give more details once finished, but it should keep me entertained as I train and prepare for April 24th!

Please add your favorites in the comment section below as we are always looking to add to the running book library.
(Pam)

28 comments:

  1. It's funny--I don't reading running books for pleasure. I study my books (like my marathon running books), but I don't read them for pleasure! I know I would like them if I did. Hmmmmm maybe I should get on that, lol.

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  2. My favorite is "Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Heminsly. It is funny and a good read for those who are embarking on a long distance running journey! Or anyone really!

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    1. I've heard of this one but neither of us have read it. We'll have to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation.

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  3. I'm reading the Tom Foreman book right now. It's really good! But up until now, I think I like Scott Jurek's book Eat and Run the best. He's an amazing athlete and really down to earth despite being superhuman!!

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  4. Love this list. Big fan of Tom Foreman - got to meet him at a book reading he did here in town (he's local). SUCH a nice guy - I will forever be a fan of his.

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    1. We found this book after seeing it on your blog. I'm excited to steal it, erm I mean borrow it, after mom is done :)

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  5. I've read a few of those and will be adding the others to my reading list. Great list!

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  6. This is going to be a little unconventional, but I liked Suzy Favor Hamilton's memoir Fast Girl. It was so bad it was good. :)

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    1. This is Christine and I enjoyed that book too...parts I found totally repulsive but it was really fascinating.

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  7. Wow, I haven't read any of these yet! My Year of Running Dangerously is next on my list. My favorite running book so far is Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley.

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    1. You're the second person to mention that book so we'll have to add it to our list.

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  8. These all sound like great books! I'll have to check them out. Matt Fitzgerald has written a few really good ones. I think his book 80/20 is my favorite. It's so informative.

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    1. Oh we haven't read that one. We'll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. The only one I've read is the Tom Foreman one. And that's because I met him and bought his book at the signing ;) but I loved it! I have a couple on my Kindle but I just never have the time to read. Need to fix that!

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    1. I'm always battling to find time to read (this is C). I'm excited to read the Tom Foreman book after Mom is done.

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  10. I have been meaning to read some books about running! I think I'll start with the Marathon Woman. The pictures of Katherine running the marathon are some of my favorite photos.

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    1. They are some of my favorite photos too. We met her at the Boston Marathon and she has a really neat personality!

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  11. I've been wanting to read How Bad Do You Want It. I'm gonna have to put some of these on hold at my library (I wish we had more running books but there's always intralibrary loan).

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    1. Our libraries don't always have the most current books on specific topics, i.e., running. Hopefully you can find a few of them!

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  12. Ohhh, nice list! I haven't read any of these! I will have to put them on my reading list, for whenever I get around to reading a book again :p

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    1. After the GRE you deserve some fun reading!

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  13. I've read Marathon Woman and am planning to write about it on my blog. Margaret Webb's book is great and it's one of the books on my reading list for 2016 (I'm halfway through most of them): http://runyoung50.co.uk/reading-list-2016/ Katie @RunYoung50

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    1. Awesome, thanks for sharing your list Katie!

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  14. Thanks for the recommendations! I think I need to read Older Faster Stronger first.

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    1. Mom swears by that book! I think you would enjoy it too. :)

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  15. The book I recommend all the time to runners and non-runners is Resolve by JJ Hensley. It's a murder mystery that takes place during the Pittsburgh Marathon. Each chapter is a mile of the race. It's so so good.

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