Holiday reads for runners – packing books instead of running shoes
If your running shoes are staying at home, you can still keep inspired and motivated by adding a running book to your holiday reading list
Holiday tip: the next best thing to running is reading about running
Not all of us should run while on holiday. In fact, some of us could benefit more from a complete break from the weekly routine. If you have trained hard this spring or are nursing a niggle or injury, taking the pressure off your running feet for a few weeks this summer might be the best thing for you. Even if you would like to run, and have fresh legs, your best laid running plans can often get side-tracked by time, weather and family commitments when on holiday.
If your running shoes are staying at home intentionally, or stay buried in the bottom of the suitcase out of sight, you can still keep inspired and motivated by adding a running book to your holiday reading list. While there are endless books on running coaching and training advice, when on holiday it’s nice to read something a little more personal, inspiring and motivational.
Flanagan’s Run Set in the Great Depression of 1930s, this novel follows a 3,000-mile running race from Los Angeles to New York. Boasting a large cash prize, the race attracts runners from all over the world and their background stories as well as their growing competition and camaraderie over the three-month adventure is what keeps us turning the pages.
Marathon Woman In 1967, Kathrine Switzer ran the then all-male Boston Marathon despite being attacked by the race officials and nearly disqualified along the route. 2017 marks the 50th year of her Boston Marathon and her best-selling book Marathon Woman has been relaunched to mark the date. An easy yet inspiring read, her book tells her honest and sometimes funny story.
Running with the Kenyans Adharanand Finn packs up his family and moves to Kenya to run and find out more about what makes the Kenyans from the Rift Valley the incredible runners that they are. Hoping to find the secret of their success and apply it to his own running, this book tracks his adventures and encounters with the locals, athletes and coaches. Where running is seen as a potential career rather than a hobby, we step inside the lives of the aspiring Kenyan athletes and learn about their running motivations and ambitions.
Like the Wind A beautifully designed publication, Like the Wind is different from other running magazines. Rather than giving training tips and reviewing new running gear, it is a series of one-page running stories. It profiles runners from all walks of life, in their own words, and partners the stories with wonderful imagery. With each story only taking a few minutes to read, it would be the ideal accompaniment to your holiday outdoor morning cuppa.
Running Like a Girl If you have great running aspirations but never quite seem to get out the door, Alexandra Heminsley’s Running Like a Girl might help you get started. It has often been mentioned by my students as one of their favourite motivational running books. If the no-nonsense approach is what you need, look no further than Health+Family columnist Ruth Field’s Run Fat B!tch Run, which exposes all your running excuses and kicks you out the door.
Marathon Talk If the thought of picking up a book is too much effort for your holidays, consider a running podcast. My favourite is MarathonTalk. In addition to some marathon-specific topics, there are great interviews with the elite runners as well as inspirational coaches and recreational runners. Download a few episodes that might interest you and you can pretend to the rest of the world you are just listening to music. No one need ever know your running obsession.
World’s Ultimate Running Races There is one final running book I could flick through all day. With a love for travel as much as running, I often browse the Collins-published World’s Ultimate Running Races book and dream of adventures for the future. A whole world of running is out there. Just don’t blame me if you return from holiday having signed yourself up to a new running holiday somewhere off the beaten track.
Finding fresh legs
A few weeks off running can rejuvenate the mind and the legs, making you return home refreshed and ready to run again. You don’t have to forget completely about running. You can use the time out to plan your future running adventures or take a little time to read about other people’s experiences. The next best thing to running is reading about running and although you may feel like you are losing fitness, you will most likely return fresher, stronger and more motivated for the autumn ahead.
Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with ForgetTheGym.ie, training beginners, marathoners and everyone in between to enjoy running and stay injury free. Mary is also the creator of the Irish Times Get Running programmes – Beginners, 10k and Stay on Track. See irishtimes.com/getrunning