Part of the fun of a hobby/passion/lifestyle is digging into the nitty gritty details . . . the minutiae that ultimately leads to understanding and mastery. I am not a master, I am still learning. But I have sifted through a lot of running-related stuff over the years. Some of it good. Some of it, well, meh. I submit the best of the running sensei wisdom that has enlightened my path for your consideration.
The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer by Whitsett, Dolgener & Kole. This is the very first marathon training book I ever purchased and I still recommend it highly to all first-time marathoners. Whether runner or walker or sedentary couch tater, this guide will take you through the the physical, mental and spiritual basics and get you prepared to toe the line for your first 26.2.
The Competitive Runner’s Handbook by Bob Glover and Shelly-lynn Florence Glover. 600+ pages complete with 5K to marathon training schedules and speed training pace charts . . . this tome will make you a better runner AND cure insomnia.
Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. OK, if you thought the Glovers got down with nitty-gritty, you ain’t read nuthin’ yet. If you are really serious about your marathon time, comb through this baby. I obviously didn’t pay as much attention as I should have, but I do believe that using their schedules did ultimately help me achieve a BQ. That, and a perfectly cool day on a perfectly flat course in Chicago. And some really short shorts. Don’t underestimate the value of windchill and not carrying around a couple extra ounces for 26 miles.
Running & Being: The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan. Sheer poetry for the runner’s soul. I have not found anyone who has come as close to probing the “why”. Click here for one of my favorite George Sheehan essays.
Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. Cheetahs? Horses? Antelope? Not even close. Compelling story arguing the case for humans being the greatest runners on the planet. This one will leave you wanting to shed your Nike’s and chase down a deer.
The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb. Entertaining story of the sub-four minute wannabes: John Landy, Roger Bannister and Wes Santee.
Four-Minute Mile by Roger Bannister. Befitting an English gentleman, Bannister’s own telling of his story is rather modest and lacks the passion that was obviously necessary to break such a monumental barrier. I mean, most people thought someone running a sub-4 minute mile would DIE. I’d like to get a couple drinks in Sir Roger and then have him tell the story. But it is still a must read for all serious distance runners.
Duel in the Sun by John Brant. Story of one of the greatest marathon finishes ever. Boston 1982, Salazar v. Beardsley. Dick Beardsley is one of my Minnesota heroes; he still holds the course record for Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth. But he was slightly bested by Salazar on this day in 1982 . . . it was the best and greatest day for both runners. Good read.
Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear.
Staying the Course: A Runner’s Toughest Race by Dick Beardsley.
My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso.
St. Ralph – This may be the GREATEST running movie of all time. Chariots of Fire? Give me a breakzzzzzzz… Sorry, dozed off for a moment. If they had named it Chariots of St. Ralph it might have won an Oscar. If you have no desire to take your running less seriously and be inspired, don’t watch this movie.
RunRunLive – For those chasing the Boston unicorn and having to bust your ass to just to have a shot at a BQ, this is your go-to podcast. Chris Russell pumps out a consistently inspiring 45 minutes every couple of weeks with a format that mixes wisdom, whimsy and excellent interviews.
Marathon Training Academy – Good friends, Angie & Trevor, started a marathon training podcast in Sikeston, MO a few years back and have done an amazing job helping wannabe runners, newbie runners and experienced runners accomplish more than they thought they ever could. Great format, solid running advice. Listen to one podcast and you will have two new friends.