Running seems like such a simple thing to do. Put one foot in front of the other and take off, right? We did it all the time as kids, right? Yeah, except for some of us, that was twenty years and (*cough, cough*) pounds ago. Running as an adult isn’t quite the same, and you really need to prepare before you try to make your Jackie Joyner-Kersee dreams a reality.
I recommend reading a good, basic guide to running, like Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running by Dagny Scott (formerly Dagny Scott Barrios). Scott is a former editor of “Women’s Sports + Fitness” magazine, as well as a former freelance writer for “Self” and “Runner’s World.” Scott covers all the basics in the book. She says all you really need to run is a good pair of running shoes and, for the ladies, a really good sports bra. I was disappointed that Scott didn’t go into more detail about shoes and other equipment. As a newbie, I wanted to know what all the fancy cushioning, details, and rigamarole on running shoes is for and whether I really need it. However, Scott did answer some basic questions that every newbie needs answered, like how you’re supposed to breathe. (You CAN breathe through your mouth while running–it’s even advised!)
Scott really emphasizes setting goals for yourself and keeping a training log. She recommends that you have short- and long-term goals, but remember that you’re only human. Learning to run, and being able to run, takes time. She offers some example training schedules for everyone from newbies to runners training for marathons.
There’s also discussion about how runners should eat, including important nutrients for your new life as speed racer. This is followed by a chapter on weight loss which really just reiterates the basic rules we all know, i.e., watch your calorie intake and make wise food choices. I appreciated the clear and concise chapter on injuries and other ailments that tend to effect runners, how to prevent them, and how to treat them. Scott devotes several pages (with graphics) of stretching and strength-training exercises for runners. (Surprise–a lot of ‘em are yoga poses!)
Overall, I thought this was a good book for beginners. It’s very simple and to the point, and it answers the basic questions. I’m guessing more experienced runners wouldn’t find much in this book they could use, but us newbies can take a deep breath (through the mouth!) and relax, ‘cause Dagny Scott has us covered.