September 08, 2013

To Be A Runner by Martin Dugard

I'm always looking for something to inspire me into liking running. I run, I can't say I particularly enjoy it all the time, but I always feel like I've accomplished something after a run. So, enter all the running books I can find for helping with that inspiration. This one had an interesting title "To Be A Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking on a 5-K Makes You a Better Person."

We start the book with how Dugard got into running through his parents. Then we jump ahead to some of the races he's done and his eventual entry into coaching cross-country. In fact, most of this book is about his coaching and his runners and what they do. But he intersperses it with musings, stories about when he wasn't running, stories about injuries, and a few different races (including one that sounds like the original Tough Mudder).

Dugard is very self-focused. This book is about him and I'd call it more a memoir than a running book. Sure, there was a lot of running, but it was more about Dugard running than running in general. He mentions coaching cross-country because of his kids, but we don't really hear to much about his kids in the book. And the same with his wife, she's mentioned here and there, but it's usually just her telling him to go running when he's cranky.

I found some useful tidbits in this book. Like not tracking my time while running and it might make it more relaxing. I'm going to start leaving my tracker on silent and just enjoy my run (although music will still be a must). And I learned the names of several interesting sounding races that might be a goal someday. But I also got to learn of Dugard's disdain for runners like myself. It's kind of clear from his description that I'd more be considered a non-runner rather than part of the elite. But that's ok, I'm likely to never encounter the man so I'll just keep doing my thing. He's a good writer, very eloquent and the story flows nice. It does jump around a bit in terms of topic, but I didn't think it was distracting.

A decent book about running. It has some interesting topics and some not so interesting stories. But I still think it's worth a read.

To Be A Runner
Copyright 2011
235 pages

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