By Brian Metzler
I’ve probably written more than 500,000 words about running this year, but I typically read a lot more than that. There are many great forms of inspirational running content out there — including online stories, videos and podcasts — but books make much better gifts. As a way for you to avoid the madness of Black Friday, here are four new books I would highly recommend for runners of any ability level.
by Alison Mariella Désir
“Running While Black” is a candid and painfully honest look at how racism and the lack of inclusiveness was perpetrated for decades against Black, Indigenious and People of Color — both within running and American society in general — and how Désir’s immersion into marathon training and eventually the running industry fostered hope, and change. Désir is smart, strong, tough and resilient, but also vulnerable, compassionate and willing to do the work to make a difference. In the past several years, she has started Harlem Run, created Run 4 All Women and co-founded the Running Industry Diversity Coalition. No matter what your background or where you’re from, you’ll learn and appreciate how Désir and others have worked hard to overcome adversity through her powerful writing and inspired dialogue.
by Molly Huddle and Sara Slattery
“How She Did It” is a celebration of the individual journeys of 50 successful female distance runners who have achieved success at the high school, college, professional and/or masters level of competition. Huddle and Slattery, both NCAA champion runners who had successful professional careers, conducted candid interviews with each of the subjects they profile and share their instructional, inspirational and empowering stories about their best advice, most effective training catalysts, biggest regrets, funniest moments and hard-won running tips and life lessons. Slattery and Huddle have experienced their own struggles and successes in running and in life and compiled this book to inform and inspire runners of all ability levels, especially in the next generation of girls just getting started.
When Jim Weber took over as president and CEO of Brooks Running in 2001, the company was not one of the leaders in the running industry the way it is today. In fact, it was under a threat of going into bankruptcy for the second time in 20 years. But Weber, with his boundless enthusiasm, business smarts and ability to hire, manage and trust top-tier employees — and, of course the support of parent company Berkshire Hathaway and CEO Warren Buffet — putled the brand to an extraordinary trajectory that helped it become one of the most successful athletic footwear and apparel companies in the world. Under Weber’s leadership, Brooks has surpassed $1 billion in sales, helped runners make it to the Olympics and pushed innovation, comfort and common sense in running shoes, all while creating a fun, happy and inclusive buzz for anyone and everyone interested in joining the party.
Mark Coogan is a former Olympic marathoner who has evolved his background into a smart, well-balanced coaching philosophy as head of the Team New Balance Boston track team. In guiding elite runners like Ellie Purrier St. Pierre, Millie Paladino, Drew Piazza, Heather Maclean, Julie-Anne Staehli and his own daughter, Katrina Coogan, he’s learned that one size doesn’t fit all, and that there’s more to life than running. In his new book with Runner’s World contributor Scott Douglas, he offers up physical and psychological strategies needed to build an aerobic base, explains how to balance hard work and recovery and turn adversity into an advantage. But he also offers key points about recovery, maintaining balance and embracing a life outside of running.
“Trail Running Illustrated: The Art of Running Free” by Doug Mayer and Brian Metzler
Our editors sneaked this one in after Brian submitted his story, so please don’t chirp him up on Twitter for self promotion. Teaming up with his pal, respected trail runner Doug Mayer, the duo produced a fun and graphically-rich book that will please newbies and ultrarunning vets alike. Filled with tips on technique, gear, diet, injury prevention and trail racing, the book has found a warm reception among those who like to venture off the pavement