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The Best Book for any Runner

For those of you who live in the running and fitness world, you know there are a few things, that for those who are not a part of this world, would never understand. Throughout the course of my running career, I’ve purchased many books on how to train for the marathon, training for women runners, what I should and should not eat, etc. However, there is one book that I have owned for about 8 years and will still read from cover to cover and laugh out loud. I Run Therefore I’m Nuts by Bob Schwartz takes all of those crazy things that happen in a runner’s world and describes them in 47 very entertaining chapters.

Schwartz divides the book into 10 sections covering every aspect of a runner’s life: training, racing, the mindset of a distance runner, the runner’s multiple skills, nutrition & recovery, the marathon, injuries, aging gracefully, competition & effort, and motivation. Within each section he highlights how he handles things such as the taper (taper, shmaper – run long a few days before the race to give you that mental edge), postrun recovery (you’ve worked hard during those 26.2 miles – best to lie down and cease all movement immediately), to the art of stretching (lift arms over head, check to make sure you aren’t holding the coffee cup, and go). It doesn’t matter where I am in my training, whether I’m training for an upcoming race or injured and stuck on the couch, this book always makes me feel better about all of the batty things us runners experience. Here are a few of my favorite parts from the book:

On learning to drink and run at the same time:
”To be able to delicately grab a cup of fluid at racing speed and gracefully empty the contents into your mouth is pretty much an athletic event in and of itself…My neighbors undoubtedly questioned my family’s sanity as I strategically positioned my wife and young children in the driveway, all holding paper cups for me as I ran back and forth and back and forth.”

On runners’ spouses:
“Runners’ spouses also learn to tolerate a 40-minute car detour from our intended destination because we want to officially measure the new course we ran that day.”

On the runner’s ego:
“Some runners just can’t help themselves in adding on numerous nonexistent miles when someone asks how far they ran that day, or inflating by, say, a few decades the number of consecutive running days they have going.”

And the one I’m all too familiar with, the morning of the big event:
“I began the half-mile walk to the starting line, all the while engaging in the profound internal debate of whether my shoelaces were too tight, singlet versus T-shirt, and whether I’d really done enough long training runs.”

Yes Christmas has passed and the gift giving may be over for a while, but for those newbies to the sport of running or even the seasoned veterans, this book is well worth the $10. When you need a little reassurance that there are crazy people out there in the world just like you or maybe just a little laugh, this book is all you need. I assure you that you will still read it years down the road and laugh just as hard as you did the first time you read it.

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