Put your feet up to hit the ground running in 2019
Reinvigorate your running regimen and get ready for the new year with one of these inspiring reads, says Liz Connor
IF you’re struggling to lace up your trainers, an easy (and winterfriendly) way to get your fitness mojo back on track is by delving into a great read about running success. Here are our top picks.
1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (€11.25 Vintage)
As if training for the New York City Marathon wasn’t enough, celebrated Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami decided to put pen to paper and write about the experience as well. In this beautiful memoir, the title of which is a play on Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, he documents his four-month training journey, while reflecting on the mental and emotional struggles that come with long-distance jogging. If you’re as obsessive about running as Murakami is, or just really want to chase that marathon dream, you’ll be able to relate to it all.
2. Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir Of Thinking My Way To Victory by Deena Kastor (€25.19, Crown Archetype)
Deena Kastor was a gifted runner from a young age, but her fear of failure meant her career almost ended after college, when she ran herself to the edge of mental fatigue. Instead of throwing in the towel, she travelled to Colorado, where she trained with legendary coach Joe Vigil who had just started the first professional distance-running team. In this intimate memoir, she explains how training her inner voice to be kinder and more compassionate to herself ultimately improved her running and eventually led her to scooping up America’s first Olympic medal in the marathon for 20 years.
3. Born To Run by Christopher McDougall (€14, Profile Books)
Award-winning journalist McDougall has earned high praise for his bestselling tome on how Mexico’s mysterious Tarahumara tribe have developed the incredible endurance to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury, often barefoot and in treacherous conditions. Combining human biology and personal stories, alongside some history of the trainer industry, this fascinating investigation asks what it takes to be a good runner and explains how our bodies are naturally programmed to run. it’ll make you question everything you think you know about running so far.
4. Eat And Run: My Unlikely Journey To Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman (€10 Bloomsbury Paperbacks)
As one of the most celebrated ultramarathon competitors of all time, plant-based Jurek is living proof that you don’t need to fuel yourself on meat to achieve sporting greatness.
A mixture of practical advice, anecdotal wisdom, and genuinely thought-provoking science, this book is for anyone who’s rethinking their meat-based marathon meal prep.
5. Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley (€12.60, Cornerstone)
Affectionately referred to as ‘the Bridget Jones of running’, Alexandra Heminsley’s hilarious retrospective is a relatable running companion for anyone who’s more likely to spend Sundays hungover in bed than tackling a 10k. Funny, warm, and brutally honest, this is a totally down-toearth read that will resonate with any new starter who worries they’re a bit rubbish at running.
6. How To Lose A Marathon by Joel Cohen (€13.45, Abrams Image)
Any wannabe marathon runner knows that the worst thing about signing up for a big race is the expectation to be good at it — and indeed, able to complete it. In this book for non-athletes, The Simpsons writer Joel Cohen (who proudly ‘barely’ completed the New York City Marathon) gives stepby-step advice about how to go from couch potato to a couch potato that can run a marathon. This is an ultimate guide for anyone who isn’t looking to run a marathon in a particular time, but just make it through.
7. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll (€17, Three Rivers Press)
At age 39, Rich Roll was 50lb overweight and barely able to climb up the stairs without stopping to catch his breath. That’s why, on the night before turning 40, he decided he needed to make a major life change for the sake of his health.
Adopting a plant-based diet and daily training routine, Roll shed the excess weight and took on the Ultraman 2008, a gruelling three-day event involving 320 miles of swimming, biking, and running. With only six months to get into shape, he amazingly scored the second fastest swim and finished 11th overall. Roll reflects on how he managed to turn his life around overnight, and why it’s never too late to change your destiny.
PAGE TURNERS: There’s a string of uplifting books on the joy of running to chose from — just what’s needed to get you up and out during the depths of winter.