I really enjoy reading a good book. Particularly when you mix running and people who command attention as both great athletes and genuine human beings. Not all successful runners mix the two well. But I found three that have. Add one more book that exposes the training, culture and success of the Kenyans and you have four good reads for the upcoming long winter evenings. The next four Enjoy The Run blog postings will review each. Up first; Hall, Ryan, “Running With Joy – My Daily Journey to the Marathon”, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2011.
As the introduction serves as a short autobiography – Ryan begins his book with a review of how he started running as a teenager growing up near Big Bear Lake, California. Typical Ryan style – his first run was a long one; 15 miles. Without training. In his basketball shoes. Guess Ryan and I have something in common as my first run was in a pair of basketball shoes; Converse Chuck Conner All Stars, low top, white, canvas. $8 bucks. Ouch. Oh well, the lack of proper footwear did not deter Ryan nor myself.
I really appreciate his willingness to be open and honest. He reveals disappointments – particularly a season or two in college (while attending Stanford) where he nearly gave up running. He also shares the highlights of his success (USA Half Marathon recorder holder 59:43, later a marathon of 2:04:58) – always acknowledging his faith in God. He reveals what it was like training with the Mammoth Track Club. He gives specific insight into his daily routines and training schedules. Even shares a commitment to his nutrition that came about after struggling with his diet.
Following the introduction each successive chapter captures the 14 weeks of training prior to the Boston Marathon, 2010. Embedded in each chapter are sidebars that compromise excellent training hints. These training recommendations are worth reading by themselves. To see how he uses each in his specific training detailed in each chapter are motivating. Very few runners of his caliber are so willing to share how they train. His quest for joy in life is revealed as a journey where his faith clearly trumps any success on the elite runner stage where he frequently competes.
From expounding on his faith in God, his love for his wife Sara, (an elite runner herself) the creation of the Hall Steps Foundation, this book is a good read. Maybe it is the shared faith, maybe it is the shared enjoyment of training hard and reaping the results, maybe it is his transparency; I give this book a high rating.
Up next – the Meb story. Until next time – enjoy the run!