Running to Read

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I try to read as much as I can, both about running and not. My reading slipped at the end of last year, but has since picked up again with full force (thank you long airplane rides with no free internet access).  As such, I wanted to give you two reviews of books I enjoyed recently.

First up is The Principles of Running: Practical Lessons from My First 100,000 Miles by Amby Burfoot.

Mr. Burfoot is the winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and editor of Runner’s World. The book is broken into tiny, bite-sized chapters, which are easily digestible. I am not kidding. Each chapter is two pages long and contains a half page summary of each chapter’s main points in case you couldn’t be bothered with reading the other page and a half. But what Amby’s book lacks in length, it more than makes up for in commonsense. It has been said that his succinct and sure-footed text will help runners rediscover and deepen their own joy in the sport. It’s quite possible. All I know is that I, like Frank Shorter was quoted as saying about the book, was constantly saying, “That’s right” as I read the book.

It never hurts to get a refresher course in what you know already and learn some quick facts and knowledge from a guy who has such a pedigree. I highly suggest picking up the book and digesting it.

Second up is a book called Running Encyclopedia written by both Richard Benyo and Joe Henderson.

I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Henderson at the Des Moines Marathon in 2006. I was flattered to even spend time discussing running with someone who had forgotten more than I knew. I was floored the next day when I saw him out on the course and he shouted to the people who I was pacing in the 3:10 pace group: “Stick with him. He knows what he is doing!”

Mr. Benyo is also the editor of the great running “magazine” called Marathon & Beyond. I use quotes not to be derisive but rather because this bi-monthly tome is almost like a book in its depth and length. I almost feel like I could count the last two issues I have read towards my book total! But I digress.

The best way I can describe this book is with a quote I saw on a website. It said, “The Running Encyclopedia is to a running aficionado as a dictionary is to a crossword puzzle addict.” I could not agree with that quote more.

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