Three Rivers Press
It’s taper time for my running team as they prepare for the Richmond Marathon this weekend. One of the suggestions we give our team members for tempering “taper madness” is to read inspirational books about running. This one tops my list of suggested reading! I’m thankful to our head coach, Blair Just, for the original recommendation.
Deena Kastor is the bronze medalist in the marathon in the 2004 Olympics. She also held the world record for the marathon as a master’s athlete. These accomplishments followed an impressive high school and college career in shorter distances.
Her book is a memoir, following her journey into becoming an athlete, eventually choosing running, and her successful career in high school and college, and then her decision to train for the marathon. She talks about her struggles as an athlete and then developing mental strength to improve her performance. She discusses the value of a good coach and the role her primary coach played in helping her conquer the mental challenges of competitive running.
Her writing style is engaging and casual. I love that her book is personal. I also love that each chapter begins with a quote! (I’m a fan of quotes, if you didn’t know!) And I love that we get a glimpse into the life of an elite runner!
My favorite quote from Deena in the book is this:
“Running offers us the physical strength and mental clarity for human compassion.”
This statement really resonated with me. Deena is referencing her feelings about 9/11 here. I think that running provides the basis for physical fitness, but also the ability to burn off anxieties to allow me to see problems in my life more clearly. Deena just puts this into words much more effectively than me!
At the end of the book, Deena includes a guide for developing mental habits for improving your potential and positive attitude. I need to work through these still, but will soon!
I highly recommend this book. Reading it left me feeling inspired and really helped me with my training this year, reminding me that the marathon is mostly mental, and that positive self-talk is essential.
Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts!