Running porn reviewed: 3 ingredients for a good running book.

Running porn reviewed: 3 ingredients for a good running book.

love of books

Nothing is better than getting your running shoes on and getting out for a run. But even with the increasing trend towards ultra-distance running and the mantra that we are ‘Born to Run’ not even top ultra-athletes run 24 hours a day (not every day anyway). So what are we mere mortals (and ultra-athletes on non-race-days) to do in those quieter moments in our lives when we are not working, caring for family, sleeping or running? Read about running of course!

Following the success of Christopher McDougall’s fantastically entertaining book ‘Born to Run’ there has been an explosion of running books. The shift to self-publishing and e-books has further fuelled this explosion in the last few years. Now anyone who has put on a pair of running shoes can write a book about their experience. A search for ‘running books’ on Amazon will give you over 4000 hits and even something more niche like the ‘Marathon des Sables’ has been the subject of at least 6 books recently.

These books feed a market. But what sort of person reads these books and what are the elements that make a good running book? For me these books offer a form of escapism and I find them easy to read. My Amazon account reveals that I have downloaded 9 of these books in the last 6 months (which even surprised me). So what is it about these books that makes me keep coming back? Looking back over the recent running books I have read there are a few themes that seem to frequently reoccur.

1. Amazing feats that you too can achieve (from your armchair at least).
For a running book to offer true escapism it needs to offer you a new world to escape to. An amazing feat that you can only imagine (with the help of the book) allowing you to enter a new world. The books I have enjoyed most have started or ended with a great feat like Christopher McDougall’s search for ‘the greatest race the world has never seen’ in Born to Run or James Adams soiling himself for our entertainment during a race across America. These books force you to ask “could I do that?” A book about running around the park just wouldn’t cut it (although if it was well written I think my Amazon account shows I probably would still read it).

2. A spiritual journey and insight into the mind of a fellow runner.
As we read these great feats and ask question of ourselves, the best books also give you an insight into the mind of the author. What motivated them? How does it feel? And how did it change their life after? ‘Running and Stuff’ and ‘Fatman to Greenman’ are good examples of this. So is the excellent ‘The Summit Seeker’ by Vanessa Runs which is nearly all about the author’s psychological journey with the running being something continually happening in the background of the book.

3. Humour.
The final important ingredient has definitely got to be humour. This keeps the book light and fun to read. Self-deprecating humour also plays on the weaknesses of the Author, keeping them human, and allowing you as the reader to say “that sounds like me… maybe I really could do that!”

What are the other elements that make a good running book? I guess we will have to read some more running books and find out, there are plenty to choose from! In the meantime leave a comment with what you think makes a good running book and I can keep extending this article further.

born to run

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