I've spent 30 years around books--working as a professional
librarian-- and the last eight years running. The two activities
blur together in a very satisfying way, for me, in these webpages.
Here are some of my recommendations for your personal running library.
The titles will change from time to time, so check back!
No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running
by John "the Penguin" Bingham
Rodale Press; 2002
Inspirational and practical advice about the "whys" AND the "hows" of
running--from what you'll need to what you'll want, and from what you'll do
right to what you'll do wrong. Ever the musician, John divided the book into
four sections: Inspiration, Perspiration, Dedication, and Celebration.
Each section concludes with a more technical chapter on "Basic Truths" about
getting started, injuries, cross-training, and racing. You'll love the
"Lessons Learned" too--kernels of wisdom about their early running
experiences from members of the Penguin Brigade.
to Start: A Guide to Running for Your Life
by John "the Penguin" Bingham
Simon & Schuster, 1999
At the top of my list, of course. Give this to all
the people in your life who need inspiration and motivation
to get out the door, to change their lives, to discover themselves.
Read what other Penguins are
saying about The Courage to Start
It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
by Lance Armstrong
Putnam Pub Group, 2000
It's not about running either, but Lance Armstrong has much to say about
life, courage, and determination that's relevant for runners as well as
cyclists. We're watching him now in the Tour de France. You'll appreciate
his journey more after you've read about his struggle to survive testicular
cancer and then make a comeback on the championship bicycling circuit; and,
of his metamorphosis from a brash, macho young biker to a mature athlete and
man. (Paperback edition to be published in September 2001.)
Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at
the South Pole
by Dr. Jerri Nielsen and Maryanne Vollers
Miramax Books, 2001
While I was in Antarctica running a marathon, Jerri Nielsen
appeared in the city where I live to promote her book. Luckily a friend got me an autographed
copy. Dr. Nielsen’s response when told that I was running a marathon in
Antarctica was “Wow, that’s TOUGH!”
The comment pleased me. Then I read her story…and was almost embarrassed
to have elicited such a remark from such a woman who struggled and triumphed so
quietly and extraordinarily.
Dr. Nielsen writes of her own and her family’s emotional
history and of how tragedy and training led her to “winterover” at the U.S.
research station at the South Pole, as it’s lone physician for the 8 months of
winter darkness when it is literally impossible to transport supplies or people
to or from the Pole. Her self-diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer during
that long winter, and the daring flight to rescue her and save her life, made
Nielsen and this book news.
It’s a story of struggle and survival—not only in Antarctica
and not just to beat breast cancer, but in Jerri Nielsen’s soul. The glimpses of the Lost Continent—its
beauty, harshness, hazards, the minutiae and crises of daily life and work
there—are mesmerizing…as is the look into Dr. Nielsen’s emotional world, though
gaps and questions remain at the book’s end.
The real reason to read any biography is to illumine our own
story, to learn from the subject’s struggle, to perhaps emulate some bit of
what one learns about that person’s outward and inner heroism. Read Jerri Nielsen’s story. It will enlighten yours, as a runner
and as a human being.
Guide to the Meaning of Life: What 35 Years of RunningHas
Taught Me About Winning, Losing, Happiness, Humility, and
by Amby Burfoot.
Rodale Press, 2000
The winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and Executive Editor
of Runner's World magazine shifts gears, from training
to philosophy, in this lovely little book. Relaxed and
contemplative, Burfoot writes about the human side of runninghow
it connects and anchors us, shapes our thinking, sparks our
creativity, and teaches us to regenerate ourselves, to begin
anew. If you read only one running book this season,
make it this one.
of Effort: Reflections on the Art and Science of Running
by John Jerome
Breakaway Books, 1997
A funny, elegant, altogether fabulous book. Jerome
makes you want to read about proprioception, pleasure
and pain, warming up and cooling down at the molecular level,
energy budgets, concentric and eccentric contractions, and
the like. At the same time, his assessment of the color
of running clothes, bugs, whining, calluses, etc. will extract
a wry smile. You'll read this book in a couple
of hours, but I promise you'll remember more than a few of
Jerome's erudite, contrary observations for a long time to
by Lyle J. Micheli & Mark D. Jenkins
Human Kinetics Pub.
Excellent information on how to prevent and treat over 30
common running injuries of the foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip,
groin, pelvis, and back. Covers symptoms and causes, concerns
of female runners, and nutrition. I consult this book
the minute an ache appears. Couldn't run without it.
Personal Encounters with the 26.2-Mile Monster
by Gail Waesche Kislevitz
Breakaway Books, 1999
Do you think you want to run a marathon? Read this
book first! 37 people, ordinary and world famous, tell
their first-marathon stories. All chose to test themselves.
Most speak of the personal transformations that resulted.
You won't put this one down until you've read the last account
of these amazing journeys—journeys that cover far more
than 26.2 miles.
The Penguin Brigade Training Log
by John Bingham
Breakaway Books, 1998
The Penguin Brigade is a running group like no other. It
is dedicated to the notion that any running is good running,
and that just waddling along can make you healthier in body,
mind, and spirit. This book contains inspiration quotes, training
advice in the Penguin spirit, and photos of the members of
The Penguin Brigade.
My legs are too short. Maybe yours are too. Or maybe they're too long or too wide or too something. But they reach the ground, and in the end, that's all that matters. These aching, chafing, too, short legs have taken me everywhere I want to go.