Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Long Road to Boston

This is a book I was looking forward to reading because I am finally heading to Boston in April. The timing of its release last month seemed appropriate for me for that reason. I also enjoyed Mark Sutcliffe’s previous book about running,  Why I RunYou can read my review here.

The book tells the story of the Boston Marathon before going into Mark’s efforts to qualify for Boston followed by his race day experience when he ran Boston. I enjoyed the historical aspect to the book because I was not familiar with all the stories and events that are described. It gave me a better idea of why the Boston Marathon has become the Holy Grail for many runners. 

Mark’s qualifying experience resonated with me for a few reasons. First, it also took him several attempts with some close calls along the way because he ran his qualifying time. Like me he finally met the qualifying standard in Pennsylvania (the Run for the Red Pocono Marathon for Mark and the Philadelphia Marathon in my case). Finally, when we both qualified we ended up beating the cutoff by 22 seconds. 

Last not not least I enjoyed Mark’s description of his trip to Boston and his race day experience. With my training cycle for Boston about to get underway soon it got me excited to start a formal training routine again and about what I have to look forward to when I go to Boston in April.

If you are like me and are heading to Boston or if you have Boston as a long term goal I recommend grabbing a copy of this book. 

Book Review: How Bad Do You Want It

While I was off work recently due to the birth of my youngest daughter I managed to finish a running related book. This book actually applies to all endurance sports but I was interested in how it could apply to marathon training.

I managed to read a good chunk of this book while I was rocking my daughter…

What drew me to this book was its focus on the mental aspect of training for an endurance sport. The mental aspect is an important part of training for and participating in endurance sports but this is the first book I read that focused on the mental aspect.

Each chapter tells a story about a different athlete and how there surmounted challenges they were faced with. I liked this approach because it made for a quick read and because I was not familiar with many of the athletes profiled in the book.

The other aspect I liked about the book is that it made me think about my own training. More than one of the stories made me think about ways I could improve my training and race preparation.

If you are into endurance sports I think this is a book worth reading.

Book Review: Run Like a Champion

I read this book leading up to the Philadelphia Marathon last month and am finally getting around to posting my review of it. I enjoyed this book and it is one I would recommend to other runners.

Although author Alan Culpepper ran at an elite level, including two trips to the Olympics, runners at any level will find useful tips in this book.

In particular I found his chapter on fuel and nutrition to be particularly valuable as I got ready for the Philadelphia. I found that this book went it to more depth than others I have read with regards to proper race day nutrition.

I particular I was interested in Culpepper’s explanation of how it is more difficult to absorb fuel when it is colder and how that can impact a marathon. This was the first time that I read about this. Previously I had not considered altering my nutrition plan based on the weather.

He explains this  by discussing his experience during his first marathon when he did not adjust his race day nutrition plan due to cooler temperatures and contrasting it with his experience at the Athens Olympics 2004 where he adjusted his plan due to warm and humid temperatures.

Culpepper also provides plenty of good tips on training, recovery, creating balance, injury prevention and racing. Overall I would recommend this book  to any runner who is getting started or is looking to make tweaks to their training.