Run with Eric + training

2009 year end book recommendations

To close out 2009, here are some thoughts on some of my recent reading. Listed below are three excellent sport-related books that I highly recommend.

More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way, by Toby Tanser
If you wonder why Kenyan athletes dominate world distance running, this book is a good place to start. The author has spent alot of time in Africa, working with and training with the local athletes and he opens a door into the world of elite Kenyan runners... explaining in some detail the history, culture, the development programs, training regimes and the spartan day-to-day existence of these incredible athletes. He goes into detail about Kenyan training philosophies about nutrition (simple), how training plans are structured, the importance of rest and the
dynamics of group training. Of particular interest to me, were the section containing detailed profiles and training schedules of many of Kenya's most successful runners from distances from 5K up the marathon. There is sometimes a bit more detail than needed... for example, the section entitled "A Typical Kenyan Training Run" is 29 pages long. Nonetheless, it is a compelling and eye-opening read that I would highly recommend to any endurance athlete or coach.

A Dog In A Hat, by Joe Parkin
Joe Parkin is an American cyclist who was among the first to squeak out a living as a European pro in the late 80's and early 90's. His book is a gritty and honest glimpse into his not-so-glamorous life as a touring pro and is filled with hilarious and sometimes sobering stories and anecdotes of his life before, during and after races. If you're a fan of pro cycling, particularly the Belgian one-day races... this is a must-read.

Gold In The Water, by P.H. Mullen
Another profile of the lives of elite athletes... this time, swimmers. I related to this one more than the others because I spent some time in a fairly rigorous age-group swimming program, however the story of Coach Dick Jochums and his Santa Clara Swim Club's elite team's preparation brings new meaning to the words dedication and commitment. The book focuses of three individuals, up-and coming breaststroker Tom Wilkens, Olympic team veteran Kurt Grote and their coach Jochums in their preparation for the 2000 Olympic Games. Mullen does a great job of expressing the monumental physical toil these men undertake, which is compelling on its own, but he also explores the mental anguish these athletes experience. Get a copy and take a read, you won't regret it.

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2009 year end book recommendations + training