A Few of my Favorite Things: Running Books Edition

Two of my all-time favorite pastimes are running and reading, so naturally, if I’m reading a book about running, I get super-duper happy. Since you’re here, reading a blog about running, I’m assuming that we have this in common, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite running-related books. Grab one of these if you’re looking for a great fall read!

Books for Inspiration

14 Minutes by Alberto Salazar

Talk about inspiring: Alberto Salazar was dead — literally — for 14 minutes. And lived to tell about it. The book’s not all about those 14 minutes, though. Salazar writes about his career as a young runner, which in itself is inspiring. Reading about his dedication, even as a teenager, to becoming the greatest runner of all time made me want to stop reading and get out and run (which I couldn’t do, because I read this book on an airplane). As a young teenager, Salazar trained with some of the greatest runners in the nation (Bill Rodgers, for example), but also still ran on his high school team. This riveting book follows his development from prodigy to coach to dead guy and back to coach again… and makes you want to follow in his footsteps (aside from the “dead guy” part, of course).

The Long Run 
by Matt Long

If Alberto didn’t get you inspired, I promise that Matt will. Once chubby and fairly inactive, this New York City fireman transformed himself into a marathon-running, Ironman-completing machine.

Until the day he rode his bike to work and got hit by a bus. Which practically ripped his body in half.

This book tells the story of Long’s road to recovery. What I love about it is that he never sugar-coats his story or tries to feed the reader an “I always knew I’d get better” line. No, Long tells about the darkest times, the frustration, the hopelessness. But he also tells how he got through it and, eventually, became a marathoner and an Ironman again.

Matt Long was torn in half by a bus. What was your excuse again?

From Fairbanks to Boston: 50 Great US Marathons

Jordan impulse-bought this book for me once at a running store, and I love it! Each of its featured 50 marathons is described in detail by someone who has run it. It’s like a pared-down marathonguide.com. I keep it on my nightstand for when I just want to read something short before I go to bed, and then I have running dreams. And want to run all 50 marathons.

Born to Run 
by Christopher McDougall

Okay, if you haven’t at least heard of this book, you’ve probably been living under a rock. But it is one of my all-time favorites, so I couldn’t not  include it. After reading about this amazing running tribe in Mexico, all I wanted to do was run. And eat pinole, which I had never heard of before this book.

Books for Aspiration

So now you’re all inspired, and you want to do something great(ish) with your running. Here are some of my favorite training books:

Kara Goucher’s Running for Women

Kara Goucher is my hero, and you should read her book. The end.

Just kidding. But this book definitely intensified my girl crush on Kara. It’s chock-full of down-to-earth, intelligent advice on running, nutrition, strength training, etc., all connected with Kara’s personal stories and experiences. This is a great book for both beginners and more advanced runners. When you finish, you’ll probably have a girl crush on Kara, too.

Advanced Marathoning
 by Pete Pfitzinger

Considered the “marathon bible” by many, this book is a must-have for serious (or fairly serious) marathoners. It has Pfitzinger’s famous training plans, of course, but the wisdom on workouts, injury prevention, nutrition, etc., is well worth buying the book, even if you never use one of the plans. I’ve used one of these plans for four marathons, and even now, when I’m using a different plan, I refer back to this book at least once a week.

You (Only Faster) 
by Greg McMillan

I bought this book (and had Greg McMillan sign it…giddy runnerd moment) at the Boston expo, and I think it’s fantastic. The book walks you through designing your own training plan, based on either one of Greg McMillan’s or any other plan that you like. This customized plan is what I’m currently following for my fall marathon. The process of customizing a training plan was invaluable for me. It really made me think about my strengths and weaknesses as a runner, as well as the purposes behind all the workouts I tend to just blindly follow. The book is easy to follow and understand, and easy to flip around for reference when I need a refresher on tomorrow’s workout.

The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald

I wrote a full review on this book here. I still think it’s terrific and highly recommend it.


Source-citing so I don’t break any laws: I just pulled these images from Google. Most of them came from Amazon, in case you couldn’t tell by the “Click to look inside” images.

Those are a few of my favorite running books. What are a few of yours? 

September Target Practice

Happy September 1! And Happy Labor Day! Anybody doing anything fun for the long weekend? I am not. After several weekends of being gone at least one full day, I was way too excited to have a weekend to stay home and get caught up on house and yard stuff. I’m an old lady. Not complaining…I am who I am.

I’m bound and determined to get this blog on some sort of schedule, so I’m writing my Target Practice post on Sunday night again — unlike last week, when my “usual” Sunday post didn’t get written until Tuesday.

Target Practice
(As always, this is Fit. Fun. Femme.’s idea, not mine).

Let’s check in on those goals, shall we? I’m giving myself grades again, because that was fun.

Life: The goal was to blog three times. I did it, if you count the Target Practice post. My favorite post of the week was this one. Grade: B. (A’s are for going above and beyond. It would have been a C, but I like that Life Lessons post enough to add some extra credit).

Health:  Figure out sleep.

Ha. Funny goal, Cassie. Of course, reading this book didn’t help the sleeping situation:

Darn you, Ken Follett and your riveting novels.

I finished the book yesterday and slept a lot last night, so that was nice. (More proof that I’m an old lady: I was super stoked that I “slept in” until 6:00 this morning before my internal alarm popped awake). Grade: D. Because I didn’t do worse, but no better, either.

Fitness: This was the same goal I’ve had for weeks and weeks: Stick with the training plan, strength train twice, stretch/foam roll once, yoga once. Here’s how it went down:

Monday: AM – 11.5 miles easy. (That’s the longest I’ve run before work in a long time. I learned that I can get ready for work fast…I got off the treadmill at 6:20 and was pulling out of the driveway at 6:40.) PM – 60-minute strength class with my favorite butt-kicking instructor, Carly.
Tuesday: AM – 8.5 miles easy.
Wednesday: AM – 10 miles of Yasso 800s. PM – 45 minutes strength training at home. Preceded by 15 minutes of lying on the floor beside my dumbbells, trying to get motivated to pick them up.
Thursday: AM – 8 miles easy
Friday: AM – 7 miles easy
Saturday: AM – 22 miles
Sunday: Rest day; 15 minutes stretching and foam rolling… done right before I blogged, so that I wouldn’t have to admit to not doing yoga or stretching this week.

Totals: 67 miles, 2 hours strength, no yoga, just a smidge of stretching. Grade: C

Instead of setting goals for the week, I’ve set some for the month of September. Here they are:

Life: 1. Stay on top of grading and planning. Nothing is worse than getting behind and feeling like you’ll never catch up. 2. Make dates with friends. I tend to let my relationships slide during the school year, and I don’t want to let that happen this year.

Blog: I’m adding this one as its own category. Goals: 1. Take more photos (although I really hate selfies. I don’t have a problem with other people’s, but I feel like a chump taking my own). 2. Get on a regular blogging schedule, posting at least three times a week.

Health: Sleep enough. Eat well. Take vitamins and drink Airborne. Sanitize my hands, desk, doorknob, etc. In other words, DON”T GET SICK!

Fitness: Train hard. September is peak month on my training schedule. If I’m going to do well in October, I need to kill it in September!

Tada! September goals.

What are your goals/plans for the month?

Did you do/are you doing anything fun for the long weekend?