Saturday, February 4, 2012

EricG's Running Tips #31 Read! Read! Read!

The first time I ran a marathon back in 2001, I printed a basic training page and simply went out each day and logged the miles. I ran the same routes depending on distance at the same pace for 16 weeks. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. Ignorance can be bliss as they say. I finished but missed my 3:30 time goal nearly 5 minutes, felt like absolute crap and spent about two weeks limping around. I was scarred and would not run a marathon for another 6 years. I wouldn't blame it completely on my lack of knowledge as there were many other reasons I chose not to run. However I think my lack of education about running played an important role. Fast forward to my 3rd marathon in 2008, I had read several books on training and some other "inspirational" and motivating scripts.  That year I improved to 3:28 and felt great before, during and after and never missed a beat.

There are so many great reads out there and if you are anything like me and many other runners I know, you can't have enough information, things to try or good stories to talk about. Here are a few of the reasons I think reading will make you a better runner (better often means simply being motivated to do it).
  1. The more you learn the more things you can try to find out what works for you. And as I always say, the key is to find out what works for you, because we are all different. My favorite training book is called Advanced Marathoning. I have referred back to it many times to refresh or simply to get ideas to change up my routine.
  2. Learning new things to try keeps it interesting. If we stay interested we will stay in the game. It also gives you new things to share with your running friends, so you might actually help them too.
  3. Reading can motivate you to get you off your ass. I remember reading Ultra Marathon Man years ago after seeing Dean Karnases running his 50 in 50. I told myself and my then girlfriend (Tani) that if this guy can do what he is doing, I can certainly get out of bed and run a few miles a day. Less than two years after that comment I ran my first Ultra.
  4. Inspirational pieces like Matt Long's "The Long Run" or Lance Armstrong's "It's Not About The Bike" come to mind. These kinds of books just make me say "Yes". I get goosebumps and just want to get out there and do something cool and fun feeling so inspired by these incredible come backs.
To sum it all up, learning, motivation, encouragement, inspiration and trial and error are all reasons to read. Not to mention there are some really cool stories out there.



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