Those who are regular readers of this blog know I'm more of a Zen runner inspired by nature, not numbers. But, of course, that's probably because the numbers no longer seem to go my way.
That said, a post called 40 Exhilarating Reads for Runners came to my attention this week, and having read many of the suggested entries, I wanted to point you to the site and highlight a few of those books I've read and still include in my permanent library. They make great gifts for those just discovering the joys of running and those who can never get enough literary inspiration.
Running and Being by George Sheehan. When I first got into competitive running, I'd make reading a chapter from this book or another by Sheehan part of my pre-race prep. That I regularly read George Sheehan's Runner's World column while he was still very much alive gives away my age. Yes, there are some dated parts but it's still one of the best books on the subject of why we run.
The Lore of Running by Tim Noakes. This is still one of the most-quoted texts on running, and for good reason. There's something about getting advice from someone who truly understands the human body and the runner's mind that resonates here. I once used it to improve my times in my mid 30s, and it worked just by approaching running more holistically.
Duel in the Sun by John Brant. This is one of those non-fiction narratives that will capture your attention -- and imagination. It'll also either make you reconsider or recommit to running Boston some day. And for me, who still maintains Boston is highly overrated, to say that is saying a lot.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. My friends Annie and Edwin sent me this book and I've since been circulating it all over San Diego. This is perfect for those of us who continue to run as we always have, but with diminishing returns. Murakami raises the literary bar with his diary-like chapters on marathons, ultras, chasing numbers, eating well and running out of steam for no apparent reason other than aging. And maybe as a BU grad, I kinda like that he dings Harvard coeds.
I also wanted to mention fellow blogger Donald B's new book, The Running Life, which he cowrote with his longtime column collaborator. Donald's a great guy and a great runner, so I have no doubt the book is great too.