For this page of my blog I am going to try and provide reviews of any useful books or magazines I come across which I think other runners will enjoy.
101 Simple ways to be a better runner
Written by : Jason Fitzgerald
Words that sum it up : Educational, informative, running thesaurus
For : Runners who want a simple go to guy to look up hints and tips on how to improve both their training and racing
Best bit : A great little resources, with sensible tips and a low price
Written by : Pete Pfitzinger & Scott Douglas
Words that sum it up : Educational, inspiring, informative, in-depth and a must buy for all marathon runners.
For : Serious runners and any one who wants to become an accomplished runner over 26.2 miles. This book covers everything from nutrition, to injuries/recovery, features several different training plans and includes training and racing pacing plans.
Best bit : The entire book, it changed how I train and how I race,it improved my understanding of the world of running and Ive achieved numerous PBs since I bought this book. It’s not an understatement in any way to say, without this book I would have never have gone sub 4 over the marathon and I would of never have gone sub 1:30 for the half marathon.
Written by : Jack Montagle
Words that sum it up : Quick, easy, basic
For : Runners who want a a bit for of insight into some of the common injury they may face and how to avoid them.
Best bit : Whilst not the longest book in the world, it only has five chapters, the injuries that are covered. Are covered in good detail, with explanations on why they happy and how to avoid them.
Words that sum it up : Motivational , inspiring , humor and over coming adversity
What’s it all about : The story of an overweight thirty something librarian who has had his share of illness both physically and mentally who one day gets talked into entering a triathlon and from that day onwards his life is changed for the better.
For : Someone thinking about giving a triathlon or an ironman a go, those who love a good story and anyone seeking a bit of inspiration.
Favorite moment : Chapter 10, which gives a detailed and compelling account of Andy and his small band of fellow first time ironman runners, as they take on their first ironman the Woody.
Written by : Ira Rainey
Words that sum it up : Adventure, challenge, the unknown, pushing yourself to the limit crazy, inspiring and trespassing
What’s it all about : One mans step up from over weight occasional exerciser to ultra runner inspiring others along the way.
For : Those thinking about moving into ultra running and those that enjoy a good running story. If you enjoyed reading Andy Holgate’s tails of misadventure your enjoy reading about Ira Rainey’s.
Best bit : The in-depth stage by stage race review of the Green Man and how our hero got on. And then he ran a half marathon the very next day!!
Written by : Laura Fountain
Words that sum it up : Educational, informative, funny, interesting, nutrition, kit, the run/life balance and racing
What’s it all about : Follow the lazy runner, as she moves up through the world of running, with tails of disaster and success as enters her first 10k, becomes a club runner and eventually moves on to the golden distance of running, the marathon.
For : Beginners with a slight leaning towards female runners.
Favorite moment : Her enthusiasm, enjoyment and desire to do well and improve that makes her and others like her, real runners.
This is a free running magazine that you can usually pick up at your local sweatshop and sometimes at ParkRun races. It is worth picking these up, they do them for other regions in the UK in case you were wondering. The guide usually details up coming races from all over the place, competitions, nutrition, race reviews and a different running club each time.
So if you see one, pick it up , its free , you will have to look at a load of ads but its worth a read.
Paul : May Story So Far : By Paul Radcliffe
A facilitating insight into the world of Paula Radcliffe from her early junior running days to the heart break of the Athens marathon. You will gain valuable insights into the world of not just pro running, but also the world of competitive junior runners and some pretty ruthless parents who really should of known better.
We have all watched Paula and her many battles on the the road and her TV commentary. But through this book we see another side to her, the side that had to overcome a number set backs and that was dedicated to not only her sport but also ensuring that she had a good run/life balance.
One of the all time great runners of history and an integrating read, well worth picking up. IT was a pleasure to watch her compete and its a real pleasure to get to read her back story.
This is the only running magazine, which I’ve bought and thought what great value for you money. Yes it has all the usual ads that get forced upon you, but it has great articles in it for beginners to seasoned racers and also one thing I really do like about this magazine is that each addition has a health section in it, which is brilliant and looks at things such as skin cancer, which as runners, we are an at risk group, that’s great to see and we all need to be aware of this and remember to apply lotion on sunny days.
I also really like the ‘Diary of an Anonymous Female Runner’ , the race guides the provide , in which they look at different distances each month and how they have a focus on a different running club each month. For £2.99 this is a great buy and an enjoy to read.
Written by : Adharanand Finn
Words that sum it up : Adventure, travel, educational, inspirational, humor and myth busting
What’s it all about : The true life story of Adharanand Finn, who takes his family to iten Kenyan to and try learn the secrets of Kenyan running and why are they so fast over long distances; attempting to answer questions such as is all down to bare foot running? What he finds is a world completely different to our own, a place where you can head out for a Sunday morning run along side world champions and record holders
For : Marathon runners, anyone wanting to improve as a runner and running geeks
Favorite moment : The story about trip to the Kenyan national cross country championship, which involves a random police officer inviting himself along for the journey from Iten to Nairobi
If your serious about running read this book, your love it and learn some valuable incites and your gain some inspiration.
Written by : Runner’s World (2010 Edition)
Words that sum it up : Educational, detailed, guide / reference book and runners bible
What’s it all about : Training, nutrition, health & injury, cross training, weight loss, women’s running and racing
For : Anyone new to running, running geeks, those that want to improve as a runner
Best bit : Bart Yasso’s marathon training plan which I used for the Preston Guild Marathon in 2012, helping me take my PB time down from 4h08min to 3h48min.
A very handy book to have, as one issue I have found about being both a runner and the head cook in my household, is time or the lack of it. Regardless of whether you eat then go running or run then eat, either way time is a major factor especially if you have to fit in cooking a meal around it. And this book features several quick and easy recipes which will save you a heck of a lot of time.
It also includes guides on how to make your own energy bars and recovery smoothies some of which are really nice!
The book also features a handy colour coded system to indicate if the meal or snack is ideal for pre-run/post run (recovery), suitable for vegans/vegetarians, quick and easy to make, low calorie and gluten free. Which makes it that much easier to user and understand.
It’s a useful buy.
Runners World Magazine
If you run, you know of Runners World, its magazine its website its online resources. Its very professional set up and they give out a lot of great advice and often have articles from stars such as Paula Radcliffe.
There magazine is a good magazine which dishes out a lot of great advice to runners both new and seasoned and they also cover a lot of things such as cross training and meals for runners.
The only issue I have with this magazine is the price £4.50 is a lot to pay for a magazine in my opinion, even one as well put together as this one. So that’s why for me Running Fitness currently has top spot in the world of running magazines. You get the same stuff at almost half the price.
Written by : Adharanand Finn
Words that sum it up : Educational, Insightful, Inspiring, Running Monks, Ekiden
What’s it all about : Finn’s latest running adventure takes him out to Japan. The nation that’s brought us some of the biggest brands in running, and a nation were running is king and long distance runners can earn a salary competing in the Ekiden. These are long distance relay events, that have been known to pull in 30-40% of the Japaneses TV viewers. And its these races, the massive popularity of running in Japan and its failure to turn that into success on the international stage is what Finn is here to investigate. He finds a system deeply routed in tradition with a this is how its always been done mentality, but he also finds a few radicals trying to change the system and haul it into the 21st century . A great story.
For : Keen runners who enjoying reading about other ways of running, with a view to learning and improving their own running. Despite some of issues highlighted in this book, there is plenty you can learn from it and the Japaneses themselves. The book, also gives an interesting insight into Japaneses culture, which those that love to travel will enjoy.
Best bits : I really enjoyed the way Finn linked this book, with Running With The kenyans, there are plenty of tips and words of advice for runners and some of the characters Finn meets are really fascinating. Looking forward to seeing where he ends up next!
Written by : Mathew Crehan
Words that sum it up : Different, inspiring, fascinating
What’s it all about : This is the graphic novel interpretation of the life of Steve Prefontaine, which is a fascinating way of looking at the life of one of running’s cult hero’s and in many ways a very fitting way to tell his story.
For : Those that are truly interested in running, running legends and Steve Prefontaine fans. In some ways David Rudisha’s insistence that he leads all races from early as possible, despite his lack of kick, remind me of pre, he should also read this book.
Best bit : You may never see another running book like this, so do pick it up if you get a chance. In some ways you are left thinking pre was a bit of a nut, in other way you just wish the story had gone on. A really good read.
The Art of Running Faster
Written by Julian Goater and Don Melvin
Words that sum it up : Training smarter, the five S’s : Speed, suppleness, strength, stamina and skill. Psychology
What’s it all about : I have long praised the book “Advanced Marathon” for changing the way i train for, plan and run marathons. It is a book, that for me, changed everything and made me the runner i am today. This book, i feel, having read it, will take me up another step. It will improve the training I do, outside of marathon preparation. It will give me, what i have lacked outside of my traditional focused 18 weeks of the week, it will give me structure, guidance and i suspect results. I think this book will, without doubt change my training habits and actually it already has.
Following the books advice i am stretching twice a day, in addition to any stretches i do before and after a workout. I am also planning on developing a year long plan, split up into six distinct phases as per the books advice. As the authors say, it’s not just about the milage, it’s about everything. Its early days but i just have a good feeling about this book and what i will gain by following it as closely as i followed “Advanced Marathoning”.
Now i realise, i am going on a bit about how great this book was for me, rather that listing what its about…..basically it is a guide on, how to adapt your training, to improve your pace as a runner and there is a lot in it, that i am not doing. So you can’t fail but learn something new and ultimately improve your training after reading this book.
For : Runners like me, who want to running faster paces, runners who want to improve their training methods and runners who are seeking that next PB.
Best bits : Without a doubt, the five S’s a simple system, easy to follow. Also the bits were they use Lance Armstrong as a good example…….tut tut tut come on publisher, let’s get that guy out of this book.
Two hours : The quest to run the impossible marathon : By Ed Caesar
Words that sum it up : History, inspiration, fasinating
What’s it all about : This book examings elite marathon performance over time and asks the quetion, we all want to know the answer to. Can someone run a sub-2 hour marathon.
For : Runners with a genuine interest in the marathon, its history and its future.
Favorite moment : The inside details of how East African runners see the outside world and how they live their lives, the school motto “Strive for Zenith”, Mutai’s little phrases to motivate himself and as well as the touching note from his wife he had pinned up on his wall “My Darling, i promise to always be there for you in favourable and unfavourable situations, anywhere, anytime. Know that you hold a specail place in my heart”. And i also liked finding out that Madison Square garden has a pivital place in marathon history, which made staying near it. When I went to New York after Boston, even more special to this running geek. Oh and you get to find how how exactly the 26.2 mile distance came about……interesting reading.
What i talk about, When i talk about running
Written by : Haruki Murakami
Words that sum it up : Memoir, Interesting, relate-able
What’s it all about : Less a book about running, more thoughts and feeling of someone who is a keen runner. I read this right after i read the The Way of the Runner, and it was interesting to read that Haruki has trained in the same manor all his life, and has always struggled from mile 19 of each marathons he has completed. These things aside, it is an interesting run and i can see why people recommend it so much. You are not going to learn a lot about running from this book, but you might learn a little bit about you, why you run and what it means to you. So its quite insightful and thought provoking.
For : Fans of Haruki Murakami and runners that enjoy reading about the experiences of other runners.
Best bits : All the little insights in Haruki’s running and how he sees himself. The story about his run from Athens to Marathon, is a good read too.
Ultramarathon Man : Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes
Words that sum it up : All inspiring, unbelievable, extraordinary, adventure and down right amazing
What’s it all about : One mans quest to become the greatest ultra runner he can be. Taking on Death Valley, the South Pole and completing a 200 mile relay as a one team. Go team Dean!
For : Those that love an inspirational story, running enthusiasts , runners with a niggling thought of taking on an ultra and ultra runners.
Best bit : The time he gets a pizza delivered out to himself whilst out on a run.