I’m not a big reader, but the books I have read over the last couple of years have been about running. I have listed these below but I’m not going to give a review as there are many more professional efforts to be found online than I could write!
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami
A strangely captivating read, more about the author’s perspective on running than running itself. With some interesting stories and accounts of races, I finished wanting to read more, with the impression Haruki Murakami would be a very interesting person to meet.
Born to Run: The Rise of Ultra-running and the Super-athlete Tribe – Christopher McDougall
Requires no explanation, other than I hadn’t heard any of the hype before I ordered this book. It wasn’t until I reached the later chapters on running shoes that I became really gripped, as that was soon after I started in vibrams – by sheer coincidence.
The Long Run – Matt Long (Audiobook)
One of my favourites to date, the heart wrenching story is told in parallel between Long’s life before his horrific accident, and his personal and often graphic recovery afterwards. I read an article in Runner’s World, and was in awe at Long’s determination some time before starting the book. The narrator’s accent (Matthew Del Negro) added nicely to the setting.
Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success – Matthew Syed
Recommended via Marathon Talk, this book changed the way I viewed professional sportsmen and women. Rather than natural talent, Syed argues that any skill is the result of ‘chunking’ maneuvers together into pre-programmed blocks. This is achieved with practice; 50,000 hours of meaningful practice, and includes several examples of successful sports people, including himself.
The Complete Book of Barefoot Running – Roy Wallack, Ken Bob Saxton
A fantastic book for anyone starting out barefoot running, with some great tips listed in detail. The book includes the history Ken Bob Saxton’s barefoot journey, and gave me the confidence that going barefoot was a worthwhile venture.
Once a Runner – John L Parker (Audiobook)
A cult classic, and originally printed in limited supply. I have yet to make any headway though.
The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It – Neal Bascomb (Audiobook)
Not the easiest read but well worth persevering with. The ending is a full gone conclusion, but this doesn’t detract from the suspense as the four main contenders edge closer and closer to the perfect mile.
Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America – Charles B. Kastner
I first heard of the race in a Runner’s World article. Much like life for the competitors though, this book became monotonous as day by day accounts informed of winners and runners failing to finish. Just as characters began to stand out, unfortunately I found it difficult to return to, and have yet to finish. My opinion may change if I can pick this one up again.
Just a Little Run Around the World – Rosie Swale Pope
From its sad origin, Rosie’s run around the world becomes a tale of strength. Battling nature and weather, the determination Rosie shows is rewarded by kindness and friendship. Soon after reading this, I spent a week in Tenby; hometown and start of the expedition, and I could imagine Rosie’s training runs on the hilly coastline.
The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn’t Stop – Bill Jones
John Tarrant’s relentless battle against the athletics bodies lasted for decades. He was a world-class runner, denied a UK and then worldwide licence for £17 expenses as a teenage boxer. His childhood was unhappy, but shaped his entire adult life with wanting to be accepted – as a runner. His long list of race victories were never acknowledged as the events were gatecrashed and run without a number. Tarrant’s too short life ended just as sadly as it started.
Last Edited 3rd July 2012