Like any sport, running is the subject of many books. If you’re like me and can’t get enough information about running, there are plenty of books on the topic to keep you occupied when you’re not on the road.
You can find many training manuals about how to improve your running. Some of the most prominent include Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger, Daniels’ Running Formula by Dr. Jack Daniels, Running to Win by George Sheehan and The Lore of Running by Dr. Tim Noakes. And there are many biographies and autobiographies of famous runners, including Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan and Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports by Kathrine Switzer.
I also enjoy books that incorporate running to tell a larger story. Lately, I’ve been reading Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time by Caleb Daniloff. The author details how he used running to help him maintain his sobriety, specifically through his journey in 2009 running marathons in cities—Boston, Burlington (Vt.), Moscow, New York—where he once had run rampant in a very different way. It’s dark at times as Daniloff slips in flashbacks from his past as he trains for and runs four marathons in a span of seven months, but ultimately rewarding.
Another book that provides an interesting look at the redemptive power of running is Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Murakami, a Japanese novelist best known for surreal books like Kafka on the Beach and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, is also an avid runner who has run more than 25 marathons and ultramarathons. In this book, he wrote a series of essays detailing his long-distance running and what it means to him.
Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen has gotten its share of publicity since its 2009 release. But if you haven’t read the book yet, I highly recommend it. In telling the tale of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who are able to rip off fast runs of more than 100 miles through the mountains barefoot, McDougall shone light on the sport of ultrarunning and helped stoke the barefoot running craze. It’s a fascinating read.
Speaking of ultrarunners, Dean Karnazes’ 2005 book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, turned him into a quasi-celebrity as he wrote about his various exploits running insane distances in extreme temperatures at the South Pole and through Death Valley. Of course, what separates Karnazes from other notable ultrarunners is his ability to generate publicity as much as his ability to run hundreds of miles at a time, but his book is interesting nonetheless.
There are many more great books about running out there to discover. And if you’d rather be running instead of reading, you can always get the audiobook version of a running book to take with you.
Starts and stops
The 17th annual North Shore Wellness Fair 5K Road Race/Fun Walk is scheduled for Sunday, April 28 at 9 a.m. at Salem State University’s O’Keefe Center. The event aims to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise money for LifeBridge, the Northeast Animal Shelter and the Wellness Center at Salem State University. This year’s event features chip timing. Visit salemstate.edu/wellness for more information and register online at Northshoretiming.com.
On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming races Wednesday, April 3: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William's Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail email@example.com. Thursday, April 4: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Saturday, April 6: Lynn Woods School Wolf Trot 5K, Lynn Woods Reservation, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 11 a.m. A 5k cross country loop through Lynn Woods Reservation from Great Woods entrance. Contact: Margaret Mannion (Lynn Woods School PTO) at 1-781-718-5468 or email@example.com. Sunday, April 7: 2nd Annual Higgins Performing Arts 5K, Higgins Middle School, 1 King St. Ext., Peabody, 10 a.m. A fun race/walk with prizes for top three male and female runners, a raffle, and local music. Contact: Chris Stone at 1-978-482-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Cape Ann Half Marathon and Fools Dual Challenge, O'Maley Middle School, 32 Cherry St., Gloucester, 8 a.m. Half Marathon and 5K Race back-to-back; Beautiful ocean views along Cape Ann. Contact: YuKan Sports LLC at 1-978-879-9007 or email@example.com. Wednesday, April 10: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William's Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Thursday, April 11: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact email@example.com. Visit www.northshoreroadraceguide.com/race-calendar for more race listings.