Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Motivational Literature

New Years is a time of rekindling motivational spirits by setting resolutions and goals for next year. Many people aspire to lose weight, finish a new race distance, and other similar goals. Some will succeed and some will succumb to outside pressures (i.e. a whole pack of Oreos) and not reach their goals. For some it’s hard to stay focused, for others it seems as if they never falter or struggle with the early wake ups and long runs. Unfortunately, I am one of those that struggle to stay motivated at times. I would like to share one of my solutions with you. It’s not a magic pill, or elixir, it comes in the form a book. If you are like me and you love running and reading, then you’ll love reading about running! Last year I read a lot running books. I thought I would share some of these with you all and give a quick run-down on each one. If you would like to borrow any of them just get in contact with me. If you have something I haven’t read, well I would like to read it, maybe we can do a swap.

Once a Runner – John L. Parker Jr
By far my absolute favorite running book, I originally read this book in high school and read it at least two times a year ever since. This is the story of a fictional collegiate runner, Quenton Cassidy, who is searching for the elusive sub 4 minute mile. Very well written, Parker is an excellent author; however, I will warn you, only read this book during tough training times as it will make you want to go out and slaughter some hard workouts.

Again to Carthage – John L. Parker Jr
The sequel to Once a Runner, it is definitely not as motivational or good but still worth the read. In this book, Quenton begins training for a sub 2:10 marathon. The parts about running are great but he covers too much stuff outside of running with the other characters from the books. Still a good read.

Running the Rift – Sophie Benaron
Not necessarily a true running book but an incredibly inspiring story nonetheless. Benaron is a beautifully gifted writer as she blends a fictional character into a non-fictional story. This book is about a boy growing up in Rwanda during the Rwandan genocide. It tells the story of his childhood and how he became an Olympic hopeful in the 800 meters while dealing with all the horrors of the genocide. This book is definitely a tearjerker, as it’s horrible to think of what humans are capable of doing to each other. Whatever problems you might be dealing with will look small and insignificant (to a point of course) compared to the struggles of the main character and fosters appreciation for your current living conditions.

Running with the Kenyans – Adharanand Finn
Finn was a decent runner in high school but never really trained hard, after winning a local road race in his 30s, he decided to move his family to Kenya for six months to learn from the best and figure out why Kenyans dominate distance running. It was a very interesting read and motivational at times.

Run or Die – Kilian Jornet
Anyone into trail running has heard of Kilian and all his accomplishments, who is perhaps one of the best trail runners of our time. This book was a great read as it gives one an inside view as to how he lives, trains, races, and most importantly his mental attitude towards running and being in the mountains.

14 Minutes – Alberto Salazar
Salazar was once a huge American marathon star, running his debut marathon at New York in 2:08. This book follows his life from an early age to his unexpected death to life again. He suffered a heart attack on the Nike campus, where his heart quit beating for 14 minutes. A very motivational book, as you learn how aggressive and competitive he is and how hard he trained. Also offers a look into his faith, values, and coaching of Galen Rupp and Mo Farah.

The Lure of Long Distances – Robin Harvie
The book is a pretty decent read throughout and can be motivational at times; however, it’s a let-down and I will not tell you why. Read it if you want.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Murakami
Murakami is an excellent writer and I had no clue that he was such a runner. This is actually a memoir or running diary of sorts. An interesting and intellectual read that really goes into question of why we run and what he thinks about while running.

Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
This book is an excellent and extremely motivational piece of literature. I guarantee you that you’ll be thinking about signing up for an ultra in the near future after this one. The book is based on one man’s journey to discover why his foot hurt. What he discovered was one crazy world of running.

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