Whether you choose the beach, hammock or couch, summertime is all about kicking back with a good book and a cold drink. Here are seven of the best running reads, from new titles to timeless classics.
Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World
By Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin
“It’s true, the marathon will humble you,” says Bill Rodgers in the prologue of his recently released autobiography. “But sometimes it will do more than humble you. Sometimes it can change your destiny. Here’s the story of how it changed mine.” At the 1975 Boston Marathon, Bill Rodgers went from “nowhere man” to legend, from Bill Rodgers to “Boston Billy”− all within a span of two hours and nine minutes. This is a truly candid chronicle of Rodgers, a former smoker and hospital orderly, whose 26.2-mile journey propels him from unknown grad student to marathon king. Rodgers, in his genuine and modest style, tells a story about beating the odds, one race at a time, until becoming the most celebrated marathoner in history. If you haven’t yet run the Boston Marathon, read this book. Rodgers takes you through the hills, the heat and the crowds in such detail you’ll be asking the pool attendant for a space blanket.
Anatomy for Runners
By Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS
“Running is a skill,” says Dicharry, Director of the SPEED Clinic and the Motion Analysis Lab at the University of Virginia. Runners run, and oftentimes aimlessly, which leads to injury or poor performance. That’s why every runner needs to have a copy of this resource on running biomechanics and injury prevention. Dicharry offers expert advice and the tools to achieve optimal athletic performance without the risk of getting hurt. In layman’s terms and with humor, the author draws from his experience as a physical therapist, biomechanics specialist, athlete and coach to provide a toolbox of self-assessments, corrective exercises, and much more. If you run and have ever been injured, this book should be in your possession. If you’ve never been injured, this book will help keep you that way.
Duel in the Sun
By John Brant
One was a humble farm boy from Minnesota. The other was the most electrifying distance runner of his time. In 1982, they battled stride for stride for more than two hours in the most thrilling Boston Marathon ever run. Then the drama really began.” That’s how author John Brant sets the stage for an enthralling story that cuts between the race and the personal trials of three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar and gutsy underdog Dick Beardsley. Brant details the account of a race so competitive, that neither runner would give an inch to the other or had the ability to break away from the other. Without giving it all away, this race single-handedly changed the lives of both of these two men forever. You need to read the book to find out who wins and if either man would recover. It’s captivating and inspiring.
The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life
By Amby Burfoot
Amby Burfoot, one of running’s wisest voices and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon shares 15 life lessons from over 35 years of running. A long-time editor of Runner’s World magazine, Burfoot focuses on passion, courage, failure, and other aspects of life delivered straight from the heart in a simple yet inspirational style. This is not a book about training but rather an honest reflection of one runner’s lifelong journey that addresses the philosophical questions that as runners we all tend to think about on the empty roads or trails. In a chapter about new beginnings, Burfoot writes: “Starting lines are among the most important stations in life. We need to more than just avoid them. We need to actively seek them out. Otherwise, we grow stagnant … When you see the first hazy edges of a starting line begin to form in your life, don’t avoid it. Don’t look the other way. Try to bring the starting line into sharper focus. Consider its potential. Remember that if you don’t go to the starting line, you will never view the whole course with all its possibilities.” Without question, this book is more about living than it is about running. But it will inspire you to hit the roads just to contemplate your own meaning of life.
Daniels’ Running Formula−Second Edition
By Jack Daniels, PhD
What runner wouldn’t want to read the playbook of the man who Runner’s World calls the “World’s Best Running Coach?” In this second edition, Dr. Daniels wastes no time laying out his formula for success: inherent ability, motivation, opportunity, and direction, in that order. From there on out, get ready for an in-depth science lesson from Dr. Daniels, considered the world’s leading authority on the application of exercise physiology to training distance runners. Dr. Daniels, a two-time Olympian and medalist in the modern pentathlon, writes to educate rather than entertain. While the graphs, charts and scientific data may scare some away, those who take the time to absorb the Daniels’ Formula will better understand the key ingredients for success in distance running.
Once a Runner: A Novel
By John L. Parker, Jr.
In the words of LetsRun.com co-founder Weldon Johnson: “If you have not read this book, seriously stop what you are doing and buy it now. It is the only cult running book on the market, and is the running book you should read if you’re only going to read one in your life. This novel does a better job of capturing the essence of running than anything else out there.” Written in 1978, this book is a classic that’s passionate, well-written and credible. Parker’s message is a metaphor for life: “Miles of trials and the trials of miles.” It’s about staying the course to become better at something and about showing up when you’d rather give up.
Run Like a Mother
By Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
Funny, warm, and entertaining, McDowell and Bowen Shea will have overextended, overscheduled mothers everywhere laughing out loud as they lace up their shoes. For the authors, motherhood and running have never been seen as mutually exclusive. You’ll agree after plowing through the book’s jam-packed, 26 chapters of personal essays, sensible tips and helpful advice. This is a must read for every running mom or busy woman. Check out the author’s website, Another Mother Runner, where you can become a member of the AMR Tribe.