In addition to a modest bedtime-reading collection, here are some staples on my bookshelf the instructional side of things. While one would probably not read them cover-to-cover, they may come in useful as reference texts. Read on..
– A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running, by Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer (2009)
This was a favourite read whilst soaking in epsom salt baths after my Kinabalu training hikes two years ago. (Epsom salts are a great balm for tired limbs, by the way.) In between hikes at Bukit Kiara (mostly the asphalt route), the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) and the rover trail on Gunung Nuang, I had started to slot in some running in the neighbourhood park as a form of cross-training in addition to hikes on trails, but found that I couldn’t get beyond running 100 metres or so without my knees aching. Internet searches turned up information on pronation and proper posture, but web articles tended to be brief. A friend who was also new to running was recommended Chi Running by her personal trainer. After browsing her copy, I decided to get one of my own.
The book’s content is most useful when you actually practice doing what it asks of you, it in front of a mirror. The authors advocate a running form that makes use of core muscles (I could identify with this, having been doing Pilates since venturing into musical theatre in 2006) and using this knowledge to run in a way that leverages on gravity by ‘falling’ forward with a slight lean (the concept of letting gravity do the work was also a familiar one, from rhythm tap dance – one of my other hobbies), linking it all to running with a mid-foot strike. There are helpful diagrams to guide the reader along, and the explanations make good, and very readable, sense. I also found myself referring a fair bit to the ‘troubleshooting’ section near the end on injury prevention and recovery.
The Runner’s Handbook
The book takes the format of a reference ‘bible’ for beginner and intermediate runners (there is a separate volume by a different title for competitive runners) – with chapters ranging from the basics of fitness and exercise to running in different seasons and weather conditions, to equipment and nutrition.
First published in 1978 as a culmination of running clinics and official training programmes for the New York City Marathon run by the first author, it has been revised over various editions, and provides training programmes for beginner runners, 5K’s, 10K’s, and a runner’s first marathon.
I also found useful information here on running during pregnancy and post-childbirth running performance – more than any other book or website I have seen to date!
– The Ultimate Training Guide – Advice, Plans, and Programs for Half and Full Marathons, by Hal Higdon (4th Ed., 2011)
If you’re all primed to start training for a half marathon or a marathon, veteran runner and contributor to Runner’s World magazine Hal Higdon is well-known for his marathon training plans.
Concise and to-the-point, it deals with building mileage, speedwork, staying focused, pacing, tapering and raceday logistics, amongst others. The Appendix sets out the author’s popular week-by-week training programmes for novice, intermediate and advanced half-marathons and marathons.
I currently have a bookmark placed at page 272, titled ‘Half Marathon: Novice’. The plan maps out 12 weeks.. just about what I have between now and the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur (Half) Marathon on June 30th. Excellent, I’m just in time. Now let’s see.. tomorrow is Friday. And according to the plan on page 272, Friday is to be a day of rest! What an awesome way to start a training programme! ;-D