Western Daily Press - - Health & Lifestyle -

WHEN it’s cold and wet out­side, a run­ner’s mo­ti­va­tion can eas­ily wane. The lure of the couch along with back-to­back Christ­mas films and end­less amounts of cho­co­lates can be enough.

Fac­tor in the grey skies and mis­er­able weather, and those good in­ten­tions to get mov­ing can fast dis­ap­pear.

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.

From gru­elling tales of ul­tra­ma­rathon suc­cess, to hi­lar­i­ously re­lat­able mem­oirs, there’ll be some­thing here to get you go­ing – whether you’re train­ing for a big race, or just start­ing out on the track.

Here are our seven top picks...

1 WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUN­NING by Haruki Mu­rakami (£8.99, 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.

The joy of get­ting out on the road, the ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain of the hard­est miles, and the eu­pho­ria of see­ing the fin­ish line in sight – 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 (£17.99, 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 dis­tancerun­ning 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

(£9.99, Pro­file Books) AWARD-WIN­NING jour­nal­ist Christo­pher McDougall has earned high praise for his best-selling lli tome, that looks at 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.

More in­spi­ra­tional than it is in­struc­tional, it’ll make you ques­tion ev­ery­thing you think you know about run­ning so far.


Fried­man (£8.99, Blooms­bury Paperbacks) AS ONE of the most cel­e­brated ul­tra­ma­rathon com­peti­tors of all time, Scott Jurek is liv­ing proof that you don’t need to fuel your­self on meat to achieve sport­ing great­ness.

At­tribut­ing his ve­gan diet as the key to his suc­cess, he ex­plains how and why he tran­si­tioned from a Mid­west­ern child­hood of hunt­ing and fish­ing to a life of ve­g­an­ism – not merely for eth­i­cal rea­sons, but be­cause he be­lieved it helps him to run faster. A mix­ture of prac­ti­cal ad­vice, anec­do­tal wis­dom and gen­uinely thought-pro­vok­ing science, this book is for any­one w who’s re­think­ing their meat-based marathon meal prep.

5 RUN­NING LIKE A GIRL by Alexan­dra Hemins­ley (£8.99, 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.

She’s not a pro­fes­sional ath­lete, but a re­tired couch potato who went from wheez­ing her away up and down her street to smash­ing a ca­sual five marathons. Funny, warm and bru­tally hon­est, this is a to­tally down-to-earth 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 (£11.99, 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 step-by-step ad­vice about how to go from couch potato, to a couch potato that can run a marathon.

An an­ti­dote to the many wor­thy run­ning man­u­als out there, this is an ul­ti­mate guide for any­one who isn’t look­ing to run a marathon in a par­tic­u­lar time, but just make it through those 26.2 miles.


FIND­ING UL­TRA by Rich Roll (£13.99,

Three Rivers Press) AT AGE 39, Rich Roll was 50lbs 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 a daily train­ing rou­tine, Roll shed the ex­cess weight and took on the Ul­tra­man 2008, a se­ri­ously gru­elling three-day event that in­volves a 320-mile or­deal of swim­ming, bik­ing and run­ning.

With only six months to get into shape, he amaz­ingly scored the sec­ond fastest swim and fin­ished 11th over­all.

In this book, Roll re­flects on how he man­aged to turn his life around overnight, and why it’s never too late to change your destiny.

Curl up with a good book (about run­ning) this win­ter and then get mov­ing when the weather im­proves

There’s noth­ing to stop you get­ting out there for a run... but we won’t hold it against you if you can’t face the cold

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.