This is a nonfiction book about being a “middle of the pack” runner: how to enjoy being an average runner while avoiding injury, burnout, and running stress. Of course, Brooks’ idea of “average” means someone who runs at an average pace while running and training for half-marathons and marathons – she calls those who run 5Ks “sprinters” – so it’s not exactly the “average” runner. Still, even though my “long runs” are 5Ks and my “average pace” is a walking pace for most, I found this book to be quite useful and interesting. In fact, I think this would be a good guidebook even for walkers and people who enjoy exercise – or want to enjoy exercise. A lot of the advice on avoiding injury/burnout and on getting the most out of your workouts is universal.
The thing I didn’t enjoy about this book: I listened to this on audio. Now, the audio narration – performed by Dana Dae – was quite good. I enjoyed it and found it pleasant to listen to especially while out on my walks/runs. But there are parts of this book that involve lists of exercises, equipment, schedules, etc that are difficult to process in audio format. They are very useful lists…thus I ordered a physical copy of this book as soon as I finished listening to it. I doubt I’ll reread the entire physical book, but I will definitely refer back to a lot of the information.
I learned a LOT that I didn’t know previously from this book. Examples: how sunglasses can help you to not tire while running, and why regular (aka: cheap) sunglasses make me feel nauseous; why a hydration belt or vest is worth the investment because the handheld water bottle like I have can mess with your hip alignment and lead to injury; the importance of a dynamic warmup before a run (ha! fun that I just learned that a week before reading it here). Lots more than this; these are just the first few things that came to mind.
Like I said before, I think a lot of this book could be universal even though it’s technically about running. Brooks’ writing is down to earth, a bit funny and silly at times, and casual enough that it feels like conversing with a friend even as you discuss lists of strengthening exercises. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I’m glad I gave this one a try!