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Inspirational Running Books

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Happy Christmas everyone!

Since we last spoke, I’ve had two quality sessions and a setback. Monday 23: 15×400 with Bella RR. 5:13-minute miling with five blokes running pretty much in harmony, great stuff. Then the Pollok parkrun on Christmas Day morning. PB for PP in 18:26 and a great little battle with clubmate Ted Gourley. Good to see various friends too.

Woke up Boxing Day with a stiff left achilles. Not again! Ice, elevation, calf raises and, yesterday, a trip to Eilidh, the physio recommended by clubmates Jason Steele and Chris Marsh (Jonny’s on holiday). Got myself some new exercises, and an instruction not to run on a clearly inflamed achilles tendon. Apparently, the swelling has to come down and only then can she break down the scar tissue.

Another appointment booked for next Thursday at 9 when the first question will be: “NOW can I run on it”? 12-mile trail run in Neal Gibson’s hills (around Kilbarchan) provisionally booked in for Friday 3 January.

So, another week off and I have still not been able to start training for The London (15 weeks to go this Sunday). In the last chance saloon for a decent time on 13 April I fear but I really have to let this achilles heal first. In the meantime, I am going to seek solace in the experiences of others.


I got some great inspirational running books for Christmas. Becoming a better runner is a complex process. An innate belief in your own abilities and a period of consistent training are givens but the key, I find, is inspiration. This can come not only from your immediate environment e.g. seeing runners you know achieve personal goals and working out how they have done it, but also from the pages of inspirational running books.

My two bibles have been The Art of Running Faster by Julian Goater and Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger (fantastic interview on Marathon Talk on Christmas Day).

Inspirational running books on David Sawyer's shelves.

Both are a great combination of instruction manual and anecdotes from fantastic runners in their own right. But there are also less obvious page-turners which have been equally important to my progress. Obscure tomes such as British Marathon Running Legends of the 1980s and Scott Jurek’s excellent Eat and Run. This latter, along with Ultramarathon Man and The New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition, led to an overhaul in the way I eat in the lead up to Kielder in October.

So, I absolutely can’t wait to start tucking in to my inspirational running books once I’ve finished the interminably boring Running with the Pack, which the stubborn streak ingrained in most committed runners won’t allow me to write off as a bad job. That same streak which banishes the feeling you get at some point on every run that it would be far easier to turn round and go home.

I usually post once a week on this blog but there’ll be a bonus edition in the next few days, looking back at 2013 and laying down the gauntlet for the year ahead (if I ever get rid of these injuries and can start running properly again). Watch this space:o).

Enjoy the festivities.