Monday, 4 November 2013

My Favourite Running Books

Anyone who knows me will know my passions extend to reading as well. I have devoured thousands of books in my time and I thought I would include a small section here with some of my top 5 favourites and why.

Born To Run by Christopher MacDougall
This has to be in my top 10 of books of all time. The story that is woven with science and history make it an essential read for any aspiring or existing athlete.

MacDougall tells the story of Caballo Blanco aka Micah True, a ultra running maverick who got so fed up with the western ways that he receded far into the Mexican Copper Canyon mountains in the same way his hero Geronimo did on many occasions. Why did he choose the Copper Canyons? Because he met the Tarahumara Indians in a 100 mile Ultra in the USA and came to realise they held and still hold the secret to happiness and health.

The Tarahumara Indians are a reclusive group of people who live in the heart one of the world's most impoverished areas and yet have survived and thrived when all round them mayhem abounds. The Mexican drug cartels operate and control lots of the area and the Tarahumara provide the 2nd story within the book.

The third story is the science and history of running. May people think this is a book about barefoot running and while there is references to it it's really a book about how to run efficiently and without injury, something many of us aspire to. Get this book either on Kindle, or paperback or even on Audiobook and see what many people are talking about.

Slow Burn by Stu Mittleman
This was the book that sold me on the MAF or Maffetone method. How could this guy Stu Mittleman be such an amazing athlete. How could he run for rediculous distances and yet not break down and actually get faster as the race went on. I now know a lot of this is due to the Tarahumara and Dr Phil Maffetone but although Stu knows Dr Maffetone and trained under him he never met the Tarahumara to my knowledge and yet he displays their philosophy and ways.

Tick Tock Ten by Gerry Duffy
The story of one of Ireland's most famous endurance athletes. Gerry writes about his experience completing a Deca Ironman. A Deca Ironman is 10 x Ironman Triathlons 10 days in a row. An Ironman Triathlon is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike and then a 26.2 mile marathon.
to do one of these is an achievement (I have done 4) to do 10 in a row is outrageous. I am currently reading his first book abut how he ran 30 marathons in 30 days around Ireland.

Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
A great book about the authors experience of running with Kenyan elite athletes. Finn took his family to Kenya to immerse himself in the culture, the mindset and ultimately the training methods of what makes Kenyan athletes so amazing. The answers are surprising and have great relevance to our Western methods of training.

The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei by John Stevens
I had read about theses legendary monks and seen a few videos on you tube so I had to get the book. It is bloody expensive and impossible to get at a decent price. This is a book that is tough to read at times as there are references to Buddism and philosophy but the important aspects for me were the crazy rituals these monks put themselves through to attain a living god status. Think of running an Ultra marathon every day for a 100 day period in a year. then repeat that but increasing the distance each year for 7 years. And that is just a tiny bit of what they have to endure.

As a bonus here is the book that all athletes should have

Dr Phil Maffetone Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing.
this explains the methods and reasoning behind the MAF method of aerobic training.

All of these books are available at Amazon and if you click on the name of the book it should link to the page. 

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