Recently I’ve been a bit obsessed with reading running books. It’s become a problem. What can I say, I love running. Here’s a review of some of the books I’ve been enjoying lately – though not all to do with running!
Eat and Run – Scott Jurek
Scott Jurek is an incredible athlete blessed with some very nice genes and some great determination and skill. He regular runs 100 mile and above races and wins them. He is incredible and a great inspiration. He’s also vegan and at the end of each chapter gives a vegan recipe. The books is very interesting and you are literally going “wow, seriously?” the whole time.
While the facts and information were great, Scott himself and the tone the book didn’t appeal to me. He came across quite arrogant and made it all seem a little too easy. There was really no grittiness and any hardship he has had was skimmed over. He made me believe that running an ultramarathon was something quite easy and well within anybody’s capabilities. While this is great, I don’t think it’s realistic. He is clearly on the gifted side of the fence when it comes down to running and this skews his perceptions of realistic training. Also his ‘easy’ vegan recipes do indeed seem very easy, if you have a 1,000 of the strange ingredients he lists.
Running and Stuff – James Adams
I would absolutely recommend reading this book straight after reading Eat and Run. Perhaps this man appeals more to me because he’s British and has more of a British tone than Jurek (no offence to any Americans out there but us Brits have a slightly less optimistic outlook to life).
If you were under any illusions that running an ultra would be easy this book will fully reset those expectations. All the gory details of running stupidly far (like across America far) are laid bare in this book – peeing, vomiting, pooing, bleeding. Unlike Scott bounding along through his ultras like a galloping gazelle, this man pretty much crawls to the end of his ultras in a broken, bloody, sweaty heap. But it’s a brilliant read. It by far gives a more realistic idea of what an ultra-marathon is like (not that I would know of course). Another interesting contrast to Jurek’s book is the amount of rubbish food that Adams eats. We’re talking regular MacDonalds, sweets, sugary drinks, fast food…which is vastly different to Jurek’s slightly unrealistic clean vegan (and at times raw) way of eating. I don’t have anything particularly against Jurek but it’s just Adams strikes me as you’re every day guy so easier to relate to.
824 – P J Robbins
This book focused more on a journey towards the so-called ‘hardest race on Earth’, the Marathon des Sables (a six day ultra across the Sahara Desert). Again, kind of similar to the previous book, a British guy going from being a regular runner to suddenly going for the big one. It’s a fascinating read to hear his experiences and the ins and outs of this race. Funnily enough the previous author, James Adams, also writes briefly about his experience with this race and they have polar opposite experiences and opinions on the race. Again nothing like Jurek’s ease with running such long distances, it’s a very gruelling and honest account.
Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
Not a running book, but an account of a young man who went on a crazy trip and sadly didn’t make it out alive. He gave up his normal life (college, family, money) and literally just decided to, what I can only describe as, “find himself”. He walked, hiked, canoed through the tough terrain of Alaska on his own. I won’t lie I did question the boy’s sanity many times during the book but I also envied his ability to just let go and live the adventure he was desperate for. How liberating that must be, but also terrifying. It’s a non-fiction account of what’s known about the boy and at times can seem a bit tedious with some meanderings off into other historical accounts of people doing similar things, but it is an eye opening read nonetheless.
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
I found out about this book because it’s very soon to be a film with Reese Witherspoon, of which I now really want to see. This book is fantastic. I much preferred it to the previous book. It has a similar idea of dropping everything in one’s life and going to find yourself but is easier to read because it’s from the lady herself. I’m not joking when I say the temptation to suddenly going camping and hiking in some remote area of America was strong as I was reading this! It’s raw, real and very engaging.
Do any of these books appeal to you? My favourite was Wild out of them all.
Have you ever been influenced by a book to do something or try something new?
What’s your favourite genre? I don’t have a favourite, I tend to read anything that sounds good, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction.
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**These are affiliated links but all the opinions are my own as usual!**