Those who know me will know that while I’m still a relatively newbie runner, I’m a life-long reader. My mom loves the story of how I learned to read. Apparently my older brother (we’re one year and twenty days apart), another early reader, would read books to me. I had significant hearing loss as a child (due to chronic ear infections – I can hear fine now) but had good skills as a lip reader. The story goes that I learned to read by lip reading the words my brother said and then finding them on the page. I was 3 years old at the time. I’ve been an avid reader every since. My reading taste is somewhat eclectic, although trending toward nerdy. I love epic fantasy (think Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) but read many things from Jane Austen to chick lite.
How does this relate to running?
My most recent read (besides Racing Weight – a book about getting down to you peak body composition which is helpful but not life changing) was Born to Run. This book is incredible! I seriously think any and every distance runner should read it! The book is a story of the Tarahumara people of Mexico – a tribe of gifted long-distance runners as well as the story of Micah True (who recently died). It describes how hono sapiens are evolutionarily designed to be distance runners, explains how the modern running shoe is responsible for running injuries (we should be running barefoot or in minimalist shoes), and talks about ultra-marathoners (any race over 26.2 miles is considered an ultra and these crazy -said with admiration – people sometimes run 100 mile races).
How does this relate to me?
I took away several messages.
1. The 10+ lbs that I gained while training for my marathon are seriously harming my pace and probably hurting my long-term health. I need to get more serious about nutrition. Many of these ultra-marathoners are vegetarians and I’ve started a modified vegetarian diet. Without feeling hungry or deprived, I lost a pound in my 1st week on the diet.
2. I need to find time for cross-training and/or strength training. I haven’t figured out when but I know why. Maybe it’ll be crunches and lunges while putting kids to bed. Or family bike rides as the weather improves. I’m thinking about trying spinning with a friend. Or doing the P90X that my husband has set up in the basement.
3. I’m going to consider more minimalist running shoes. I’m not ready for Vibrams or – yuck – barefoot running. But maybe there is something to the book’s claims that more supportive shoes are causing injuries. I’ve started investigating options and I may try some out. I was thinking of Brooks Pure Cadence as a possibility since I already wear Brooks and those got good reviews.
4. I need to pay more attention to running form. Small steps with rapid turnover. I’m not ready to get a running metronome or anything but apparently form matters. I learned some tips from the book and I tried them yesterday. Need to practice it more!
5. I need to consistently find joy in running. As much as I love my Garmin, I need to enjoy running. Some of these ultra-runners started because they just loved running. It’s still not fluid and easy for me to be a runner but yesterday I paid attention to the joy in it. And that will probably help me increase my mileage and pace more than anything.

And that is why books are dangerous. The good ones make us re-think things.