Books and Film

It's intrinsic for me...  Once I start doing something, I want to get better.  Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the easy runs along the riverfront or scenic trail.  However, at the end of a run, I'm immediately checking out my stats... time, pace, calorie burn, etc.  Thus I read up to learn all I can on the wonderful topic of running.  And sometimes I just need a little inspirational push.  Below is a list of books, movies and other resources with my brief review.

"Running Well"
by Sam Murphy and Sarah Conners
This book was like a hidden gem in my local library.  Published in 2008, Running Well is well-written with exceptional chapter layout and page design.  It's an easy read that I highly recommend for beginners and intermediate runners alike.  Divulging deep into the basics of running, the authors provide a good discussion on proper running form,  warmups/cool downs, and stretching.  While it doesn't provide actual training plans, the book dedicates four chapters to smart training, that include strength exercises, nutrition, and cross training.  In the last section of the book, you'll learn how to prevent common running injuries, what to do if you get hurt, as well as come-back plans.  This book is a top-notch resource to have in your private library. 

"Run Like A Girl"
How Strong Women Make Happy Lives
by Mina Samuels
This compelling and insightful book sings the song of a "runner's high".  In sharing the personal stories from hundreds of women, Samuels brings home the impact that sports participation has on women... how the strength and confidence that builds in sports transcends into all aspects of our lives, making us happy women, wives, mothers, etc.  I caught myself yelling out "YES!" in the introductory chapter as I read statements like this... "I discovered a capacity within myself that I never knew I had.  I wasn't just physically stronger than I expected, I thought of myself as a different person, as someone with more potential, broader horizons, bigger possibilities."  I couldn't have said it better.   Running has changed my outlook on life, and I want so badly for everyone to feel that power.  

"Four Months to a Four Hour Marathon"
by David Kuehls
Training for a marathon is no joke, yet this short book reads in a breeze, making the marathon sound relatively simple.  While there is a wealth of information on the basics of marathon training, I found myself needing much more substance.  But I'm also a person who craves the in-depth nitty-bitty details.  For the beginner runner who decides to run a marathon, this may not be a bad pickup.  For example, if you have no idea what the term "taper" means, the book is a solid introduction to all the concepts of training for a marathon (and half marathon for that matter).  The training plans are simple and to the point, offering options for the 4:00, 4:15, 4:30 and 4:45 goal times.

"Run Like a Mother"
How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity
by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
I can't brag about this book enough.  Every running mommy needs this book in her personal library.  Not only is it full of useful information, it's a funny and entertaining read.  The joys of motherhood.  The need to be ourselves, and how running completes that.  They just get it.  The writing is very chatty in nature, like a good conversation with your girlfriend.  For new or experienced runners, they cover the gauntlet of topics - even aspects you're too scared to ask!  The New York Times calls it a "bible for active parents".   So true, because I find myself flipping through it occasionally looking for inspiration.

A Race Like No Other
26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York
by Liz Robbins
The NYC Marathon is one of the biggest races out there, with unbelievable excitement and crowd support... a dream for any runner!  The author narrates the stories of numerous runners in the '07 NYC Marathon, intertwining their stories with the regular fans and volunteers who make the event happen.  I was touched  by the inspirational stories of the first-timers, and completely sucked in by the elites' race to the finish.  So entertaining that you forget it's non-fiction.  I picked this up from the library in the fall, which made it exciting to follow along with the annual November running of the NYC Marathon.

Sole Sisters
Stories of Women and Running
by Jennifer Lin and Susan Warner
A short collection of stories that ignite the inspirational flame of any female runner.  The authors have compiled stories from women in all woks of life that have been tested and prevailed, using running as a key strength.  It's real life accounts that are guaranteed to pull a tear and touch your heart.  The 9-11 widow who runs in honor of her fallen husband... The band of sisters running to celebrate breast cancer survival... The ground-breaking women who busted the gender barriers of the sport... One thing is clear with all 21 women - running has transformed their lives.  I found this a great book to pick up and read one chapter each night before bed.  

Hood to Coast 
~now on DVD~
This running documentary follows a diverse group of teams in running the world's largest relay near Portland, Oregon.  Ordinary people running an extraordinary 197 miles over the course of two days. The individual personalities capture your heart, and have you cheering them on until the very end.  You'll laugh, you'll cry... and you'll definitely leave inspired to run!  Watch the movie trailer here.

More reviews to write.... so come back!

~ Books on my Wish List ~
"The Runner and the Path" by Dean Ottati
"The Champion Maker" by Kevin Joseph
Have a good book that you recommend?  
Post a comment here or e-mail me at

~ My Regular Reads ~
Runner's World magazine - I can't help but read it cover to cover as soon as it arrives each month.  Recycle magazines?  Heck No!  I've kept every copy in my library of resources!  Their website is very informational as well.  In fact, most articles are posted there each month.
Fitness Magazine - I've been getting it for over a decade I think.  Overall a good well-rounded magazine for the female fitness freak.  Although I must admit I glaze over all the hair, skin and makeup advice.
Chicago Athlete Magazine - I little publication that I pick up free at the local running store.  The articles recap a lot of regional events and give adequate training advice. Even the ads focus on Midwest races, which are my interest base anyway.  Cool find!


  1. Thanks for recommendations! I'm going to have to check out Run like a mother.

  2. Loved Sole Sisters (and passed it on), and Run Like a Girl .. currently reading Run Like a Mother as I build my mileage! Love the blog for the stories, encouragement and strength you exude!

  3. Another great read is 'Mile Markers' by Kristin Armstrong. I've read it more than once. So motivating and inspirational, coming from another mother/runner/writer. And I love 'Run Like a Mother'. Their podcasts are great too!

  4. Got a few new recommendations to add to my reading list and one I'll pass on to you. I just finished Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and it was amazing. A truly gripping read about the origins of barefoot running and the heart of runners around the world. Highly recommend it!


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