Word on the street is, I’ve once again hurt myself. The twist is, this may not be self inflicted. Every year it seems I have some issue with my IT Band or Sciatica, and every year I’m told “work on your core”, but what happens when you do work on your core and you still have issues? Well, sports medicine seems to think there may be something wrong with my muscles or my nerves leading to “messages” not being sent or received correctly in my left leg. Of course. Heaven forbid it’s something simple! Ha. I’m scheduled for an EMG and nerve conductivity test at the end of the month (at least I think that’s what they’re called). Normally I’d be upset except 1) I tapped out my deducible and then some with my heart surgery this spring. 2) I really have had issues every year, so maybe there is something wrong underlying all of this and getting answers will put me on the right track. I mean post heart stuff I felt AMAZING, maybe this will be the same thing but with my back and legs?
What shall I do when I’m back on my feet again and cleared for training? Perhaps dive into one of these amazing books for proper training? Looking for a book for yourself? Or maybe it’s time to start thinking of holiday shopping? Allow me to share a few great finds all available on Amazon.com for around $10, a little less for Kindle editions, a little more for some paperbacks. Most within the $8-$12 range. Stocking Stuffer? Secret Santa Exchange? Age Group Award? OK maybe not the last one…
The book is designed as “advice and inspiration for the open road”. Included are over 300 pages within categories including, but not limited to, “Why We Run”, “Why I Don’t Run”, “Going Barefoot”, “Racing” and “The Pain Game”. As you can see in the photo, each section is beautifully laid out and easy read or scan. The start of each section is announced with a great full color picture and title page.
I wrote about this book before, but I wanted to remind everyone of it, because it really is a great coffee table piece and I find I’m always grabbing it and thumbing through when I need a few quick snippets of exercise fun during my day. How can you not appreciate gems like these?
“Speed is sex … distance is love.”
—David Blaike, Canadian ultrarunner
“Gazelles run when they’re pregnant. Why should it be any different for women?
—Joan Ullyot, M.D.
“I’m afraid the reason so many new runners quit is because they never get past the point of feeling like they have to run.”
The next book on my list is a great find for anyone who wants to dive deeper into their training. Sure we may all know to a degree bones and tissues and movements matter, but just how and why? And where do they all connect to all the other information we’re always noticing?
Anatomy for Runners breaks it down into an easy read with great full color visuals. I am HUGE on graphics in a training book, I need to see it more than I need to read it a lot of the time. There are medical quality images, charts or graphs, general photography and probably any other visual aid printed within this text. One thing I enjoyed was the mix of information with “how to” in order to take it to the next level. The picture above shows the mix of medical drawings and photography for how to implement a move. From what I noticed there was not a need to buy or learn any complicated equipment in order to use the moves in the book or understand the basis of the body.
Another runner focused book, this time taking it in the direction of gender specific. I have to say after reading some of the “female” running guides from the 70’s while at Mohican last spring, it’s nice to read through something that doesn’t suggest cotton as a great work out material or that rapists don’t wear nice shoes.
Running for Women has great visuals and another easy to read layout, but I was put off by the quality of the print and the fact it’s completely in black and white. It reminded me of when I would buy the international edition of text books in school. Same materials, but something about black and white makes me feel like it came from a copier no matter how great the quality. Speaking of text books, this is also about the same size as one, although not nearly as thick and reads like it too. Lots of great information, everything from how the female body is different from males, to learning to run in a group setting, to strength and toning exercises. If what you’re after is a reference guide and not a story, this is a great piece to own.
The publisher of the book is HumanKinetics.com, with a nice selection of other training resources too, if you do not want to go the Amazon route.
Here is a book I was super excited to have access to and have been scanning over all summer. Anyone who reads my blog for an extended time frame or knows me personally knows I have a zillion food issues and medicine issues. I dread putting new things into my body, so any chance I have to avoid chemicals is great. Don’t get me wrong, I am not all natural and super healthy, but I do find myself nervous about new medicines or treatments at times. For example, I do not like to take pain pills, instead I have increased my cherry intake for the week while dealing with inflammation.
Naturally Pain Free was more than I expected. I thought it was going to be a book on how to sleep your way healthy or eat a dandelion root. While some techniques are on par with this, I have to give this book untold amounts of credit because with each ailment, giving a history and treatment guidelines there is a part noting “when to consult a health professional” thank you Letha Hadady (author) for including this note.
Included in my picture are the highlights of two sections I was most excited about, headaches and sciatica. Surprise, surprise. Did you know for headaches….when reading or typing documents should be at eye level? I never took the time to realize my laptop is very much not within the rule…and when I stopped to stretch my neck I noticed tension points exactly where I am strained in order to type. Helllllo nurse! With sciatica I forgot the importance of proper hydration and will have to try the lemon foot soak. If nothing else I do enjoy a good foot soak. Any volunteers to come rub my feet? No one?
When I came across this book I honestly did not know what to expect. I was expecting a small book, maybe a pocket guide suggesting various tabata type intervals for jumping rope. Much like the last book, this guide more than delivered. In the beginning the author sets the stage for the benefits of jumping rope, how to get started and even discusses the types of jump ropes and how to properly fit yourself. If I stopped to think about it I knew there were different materials of jump ropes. There are the cheap cloth type children often use, there were long rubber cords and even those with plastic casings almost like noodles. I did not know they served different purposes and could be used for different workouts…did you? You would if you had this guide!
The book sets up different workouts or drills, with easy to follow charts and photographs to help you learn the moves. At the end there is a section for moves beyond the jump rope and proper cross training. My only complaint is the same as the Running for Women guide…everything is black and white. I need color to help make things pop and to hold visual cues. Perhaps some personal highlighters or post-it notes would help?
The last book I came across was a trip down memory lane when I first started to get into fitness and loved the variety of triathlon. Some may recall one of my 2012 goals was to complete a half ironman this fall. Sadly for me I came across this guide a little late in the season for northeast Ohio and also my body is not cooperating with me this year! Still, I looked over this guide and it’s beautiful. A must have for anyone looking to get into the sport of triathlon or looking for a new approach.
I appreciate guides which do more than just type up a chart with a few graphics and code words and sell it as the latest craze. 7 Weeks takes the time to break down all aspects of the sport, from the history of the “Ironman” name, to what to expect race morning and throughout your training. There is a chart showing various distances and what they are often called (if you’re taking the time to train, you may want to make sure you’re signing up for the right distance). Did you know Olympic and International were the same distance? There is a checklist in the back and a glossary. The glossary is one of the best I have seen. It defines not just technical terms, but also slang. You can find what a “brick” is (paring two workouts together, example bike then run without resting) and you can also learn what a “washing machine” is (the conditions of what the water/swim feels like at the start of a race). New to the sport, trying for a new distance or trying for a new time record, this guide will help.
7 Weeks to a Triathlon is one of several books available from 7 Weeks to Fitness. This is also the only book outside of the $10 range. The Kindle edition is $10, but the paperback will run you $15 from Amazon.com. If you’re into Barnes & Noble you can snag it for $12…or less if you’re OK with used.
Thanks for allowing me to share the various books with you. I hope you have found or two for yourself or a loved one. Something I should read I don’t have listed? Please leave it in the comments and share with everyone!
FTC Disclaimer: I was sent the books by various publishers in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. Thanks to Skyhorse Publishing for Pearls and Anatomy. Thanks to HumanKentics for Running for Women. Thanks to Ulysses Press for 7 Weeks and Jump Rope. And thanks to Sourcebooks for Naturally Pain Free.