Friday, January 9, 2015

Recommended Reading

Since today is a rest day it's as good a time as any to share some of my reading list from the past year.

The 2 books that meant the most to me and that I feel helped me to become a better runner were, without a doubt The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow, PhD and 1:59: The Sub-Two-Hour Marathon Is Within Reach—Here’s How It Will Go Down, and What It Can Teach All Runners about Training and Racing by Dr Phil Maffetone

In The Champion's Mind I learned what I needed to do to master the mental mental side of running. While I still have a way to go, Jim Afremow showed me how to go about defeating my most powerful enemy and turn it into my greatest ally; that is of course my own mind.

When I first picked up the book, I was at a point were the biggest struggle I had with my running was the mental battle that I seemed to be constantly loosing. As any runner knows, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, running "is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical" and I was in serious need of some mental training.

After reading the book and employing the proper tactics to "feed the good wolf" I was not only able to push through the tough moments we all face on the road but I also began to enjoy running even more. By starving the bad wolf my mind was now free to focus on the important things and not the suck.

Where The Champion's Mind upped my mental game, 1:59 did the same for the running part of running. Dr Maffetone is well known for his heart rate training "plan" (Maffetone Method) and since I had been regressing in my training I was open to trying something different.

There is a lot more to HR training than simply running at a prescribed heart rate and being done with it. Dr Maffetone preaches Training = Workout + Recovery but I'll even do 1 further and say it's Training = Diet + Workout + Recovery because he shows that it's only through proper fueling that you realize the full benefits of the method.

If I was only allowed 2 "desert island" books, these would be them hands down. I have learned so much about myself as a result of reading both of them and have become a better runner because of them.

The last 2 books that I truely enjoyed were more for entertainment but also provided a good glimpse into what it takes to be a runner. It doesn't hurt that I picked up a thing or 3 from them as well.

Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World by Bill Rodgers is a wonderful real about how a running icon, who was at the forefront of the 70's running boom, became the elite runner that he was. It was interesting to learn that "Boston Billy" owed a lot of his success to not only his hard work and dedication but to being in the right places at the right time. Imagine where running might be today if Rodgers didn't have such a focused college roommate as Amby Burfoot or didn't leave a weekend of partying on Cape Cod to watch the Boston Marathon.

The last book on my list is Overthinking the Marathon by Ray Charbonneau. Even though it sounds like a training guide, it isn't and while the author isn't an elite runner, he is still a quite acomplished marathoner and provides an entertaining look into the life more of us can relate to as runners. The book really does offer great insight into how an older, experienced runner prepares for a race while showing that after all the miles logged that you never know what you don't know.

So there you have it. If you decide to read these, let me know what you think. Also, if you have any books you think I'd like, feel free to share.

Now it's time to get some sleep. Tommorow's run is a 16 miler that's a bit out of my comfort zone but we all need those sometimes.

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