Thursday, May 1, 2008

Book reviews

I have three for today's slate.

First up The Ultimate Guide to Marathons by Dennis Craythorn & Rich Hanna.

Quite the comprehensive book, The Ultimate Guide to Marathons is an excellent marathon resource for runners. I read in one review "This second edition was published in 1998 with information current up through 2000. A runner using this book as a guide needs to know that in five years a lot can change for a given marathon." Add 3 more years to that and know that even more has changed. Courses, sponsors, prices etc change yearly. You can imagine what a decade has done to date this book.

However, it is a wonderful resources for at least finding races and seeing how well they were ranked by these two runner/authors when they were run. Loads of information about each race is included in the entries as well as graphs and charts in the back pages for stat geeks like me to eat up.

Next is Road Racing for Serious Runners by Pete Pfitzinger, Scott Douglas.

One of my favorite parts of this book is how it mentions that a "serious" runner has nothing to do with speed but rather with commitment. To the authors, a serious runner is one who is willing to put in the time to make themselves a better runner. coming from two guys who are both excellent runners, this is a refreshing view.

Filled to the brim with workouts, I can say that I have not had the chance to try any of them out. My flight to Korea frowned upon me doing fartleks in the aisle. However, they look like very well-thought out plans for all distances ranging from the 5k on up (if I recall correctly).

Ideally, you have the money or connections to pay someone else to read this book thoroughly and then devise a plan for you to attack a certain distance. IF not, it is easy to read and gives you plenty of insight into becoming a better road racer.

Last, but certainly not least is Bart Yasso's My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon.

I'd like to brag and say I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Bart, but I have a feeling that everyone who has laced up a pair of running shoes has been lucky enough to share this experience.

A true ambassador of the sport, Bart spins his life story of running almost up to the day with his many wonderful tales of encountering rhinos, almost dying on a hike on Kilimanjaro and winning his age group in a "bare buns" run.

Without a doubt, Bart is living a running life I am hoping to attain. While I search out for that one great occupation that combines running with those who know about the sport and love to participate in it, I take heart that at least one man found such a job. But he has already penned Ryan Hall as his successor so I am hoping Hall keeps on running in the interim and Bart instead sends me his recommendation.

A highly enjoyable book. Go grab one.


Alan said...

Thanks for the reviews. I may check out the Pfitzinger/Douglas book. I have their book on Marathoning Training and have really enjoyed it.

Anne said...

Wait. There are running books left somewhere? I thought they were all on my living room floor...