Thursday, December 27, 2012

10 Best Running Books of 2012

This is my list of the top 10 running related books that I read this year. The links will take you to my more extensive reviews.

1) Dandelion Growing Wild by Kim Jones This was the most unexpectedly wonderful book that I read this year and it has stuck with me more-so than other books. Reading about world class marathoner Kim Jones' life and triumphs over the many adversities placed in her pathway from her childhood to her retirement from competitive running. The details read like fiction at first, but she deals with life's challenges from a humane and understanding perspective. You better get the Kindle version. A new copy of the paperback version is now selling for over $400 on Amazon! A newly edited paperback version will should be back on at Amazon next week according to Kim.

2) The Purple Runner by Paul Christman Not a new book, but a reissue of a classic running book that was hard to find, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. This is one of the best fiction books you will find about running.

3) Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn I would certainly like to do what Finn did! He journeys to Kenya's Rift Valley  to live and train with the Kenyans to see if it would improve his running and to shine a light into the world of the Kenyan distance runners and their hopes and dreams.

4) Running for my Life by Lopez Lomong A wonderful story of survival with Lopez Lomong's journey from war torn Sudan, to a being a lost boy in a refuge camp in Kenya, to journeying to the United States where he becomes a high school runner and eventually a two-time Olympian for the USA. What a life!

5) 14 Minutes by Alberto Salazar The great American marathoner, Alberto Salazar, and his 14 minute brush with death to a heart attack. The book details the career of this great American runner and coach.

6) The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton This book is not really about running, but it makes you wonder if the same drug culture is/was as prevalent in running. This book was certainly one of the final nails in Lance Armstrong's coffin. If you want an honest look at how the cycling superstars kept their pedals in the game and their feet on the top of the winner's podium, then you should read this book.

7) Move Without Pain by Martha Peterson This is the only "exercise" book on my list although I have checked into many others. I use this as a go to book when I want to do Somatic movement exercises. It is a well thought out and presented book and the movements work!

8) Because I Can by Janet Oberholtzer Never give up! Janet is nearly killed in an horrific automobile accident and is told she may never walk again. Janet details the recovery process and the changes it made on her body and in her soul. Yes, Janet returns to running. This is an inspiring read!

9) I'm Here To Win: A World Champion's Advice for Peak Performance by Chris McCormack I didn't review this book, but Chris tells the story of how he became one of the greatest triathletes in the world and his eventual wins in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. Chris details the mental aspects of the game. He had to think like Mohammed Ali and plan out his triumphant race strategy in advance and get other triathletes in on his plan even when though they did not realize this.. Here is Chris McCormack on his 2010 Ironman Championship win.

10 A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey by Chrissie Wellington I did not review this book on probably one of the greatest female triathletes of all time. Chrissie wrote more of a "gee-whiz look what I just did" account of her triathlon successes. I liked the thinking, training, and facing bits in Chris's book better as she does not go into the nitty gritty of what it takes to be a sports superstar. However, you do get a glimpse into her "well-lived" life and her many interests and accomplishments outside of triathlon racing. Here is Chrissie winning her fourth and final Hawaii Ironman World Championship, including her Blazeman roll. She said she has retired from triathlon just last month.

Some of the other running related  books I have read this year:

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis. I read half of this and was convinced to try going gluten-free. It seems to be working quite well for me one month later. The book was heavy on the science and you can find most of the gluten-free  information you would want online. The bread of today is not the bread that people ate for ages!

Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dichary I think this is one of the best and most up to date books I have read on injuries and injury prevention. You can learn to be your own physical therapist!

Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running By Bill Katovsky and Peter Larson of the highly regarded Runblogger blog.

Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running by Danny Abshire and Brian Metzler Another book on how to run post "Born to Run" I was told that this post would be sent to Danny Abshire, but I never got a response. I got my questions and feet problems answered through Muscle Activation Technique (M.A.T.) and no longer wear orthotics and my feet and big toe are landing on the ground much better now!

Movement by Gray Cook It was much cheaper to buy the Kindle edition. It is not worth reading on a Kindle. I haven't read much of it, due to that fact. I would want to browse and leaf through this book to find what I want, not push Kindle buttons.

Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Shoulder and Hip Dysfunction by Evan Osar Here is another book that I should have bought a hard copy version of instead of the much cheaper Kindle version. It is not easy to find what you want on a Kindle.

Marathon Crasher: The Life and Times of Merry Lepper, the First American Woman to Run a Marathon by David Davis This is a short 48 page book on a little known American woman and her achievement that has widely been overlooked.

Happy running and reading to everyone in 2013! I will gladly take recommendations of other books to read, as I am always looking for a good book!

Here are two books I am looking forward to reading in 2013.

Kings of the Road: How Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar Made Running Go Boom by Cameron Stracher. I know that this book has been in the works for a couple of years and that the Falmouth Road Race plays an important part in it! Due out in April.

For fans of The Perfect Mile and Born to Run, a riveting, three-pronged narrative about the golden era of running in America—the 1970s—as seen through running greats, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar

In 1972 American distance runner Frank Shorter won Olympic gold in the marathon, a history-making accomplishment that launched a seminal decade in the sport.
Kings of the Road tells the story of running during that golden period from 1972 to 1981 when Shorter, then Bill Rodgers, and then Alberto Salazar captured the imagination of a disillusioned American public, as they passed their figurative baton from one to another. These three menwere American running during those years, and though all three toed the line together only a few times—at the legendary Falmouth Road Race—they gave their sport real conflict and drama for the first time. Each man built on what the other achieved, and their successes, in turn, fueled a nation of couch potatoes to put down the remote and lace up their sneakers.
As America now experiences a similar running boom, Kings of the Road delivers a stirring narrative of three men pushing themselves toward greatness and taking their country along for the ride.

Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World by Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin This one is also due out in April. Bill Rodgers will be signing lots of books at the Boston Marathon this year. I have his first biography from 1982  and it will be fun to read a new one!

The legendary long-distance runner details his historic victory in the 1975 Boston Marathon that launched the modern running boom
Within a span of two hours and nine minutes, Bill Rodgers went from obscurity to legend, from Bill Rodgers to "Boston Billy." In doing so, he instantly became the people’s champ and the poster boy for the soulful 1970s distance runner. Having won the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon four times each, he remains the only marathoner to have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice. Winning the Holy Grail of marathons in an unthinkable record time changed Bill’s life forever.
But his dramatic breakthrough in Boston also changed the lives of countless others, instilling in other American runners the belief that they could follow in his footsteps, and inspiring thousands of regular people to lace up their shoes and chase down their own dreams. In the year before Rodger’s victory at the 1975 Boston Marathon, 20,000 people had completed a marathon in the United States. By 2009, participants reached nearly half a million.
Thirty-seven years later Bill Rodgers still possesses the same warm, endearing, and whimsical spirit that turned him into one of America's most beloved athletes. In Marathon Man he details for the first time this historic race and the events that led him there.

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