I was trying to choose which book I wanted to read this month for the Athletic Bookworms, and I got stuck because there were SO MANY on my to-read list, so I decided to go for a bit of a smorgasbord, and do it back-to-school style. You remember being in high school having a schedule of different classes (bio, art, algebra, etc)? That’s what I’m thinking for this month—I know some of you finally have a bit more free time, either because kids are back in school or because your primary racing season is finished… So if you can pick up a couple of these, awesome! If you need to pick just one, that’s great too. I’ll do mini-reviews of all of them at the end of the month—probably not super in-depth, just a couple of main lessons and ‘if I would recommend’ notes… Again, like a book report for class! (I may just have the back-to-school bug now that I’m helping coach a high school cross country team…)
For Psychology… Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen
The author of The Brave Athlete (our first Athletic Bookworm pick last year!) told me that this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to actually make a goal or habit stick. “The solution isn’t to do away with dreaming and positive thinking,” writes Oettingen. “Rather, it’s making the most of our fantasies by brushing them up against the very thing most of us are taught to ignore or diminish: the obstacles that stand in our way.” Simon and I got into a fascinating chat yesterday about how the power of positive thinking is great… but can actually be problematic if we lean on it too much. (I’m writing a huge piece for Canadian Cycling’s December issue on this topic, so stay tuned.) Anyway, Simon says (heh) this book is a great read, and I trust him. Partially because he has a wicked accent, but mainly because I know he’s smart as hell.
For English… Staying with It by John Jerome
If you loved reading June’s pick, Natural Born Heroes, by Chris McDougall, I think you’ll be into this book… And for English-class-loving nerds like me, you’ll be psyched to know that you actually have to get the physical copy of this one! Staying With It chronicles the rigors of the author’s serious athletic training, which took him to Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s Aerobics Center and to an adult swim camp, and reflects on the idea and science of athleticism. It was written in 1985, and it’s a really cool first-hand account of someone learning to rebuild as an athlete. I’m super stoked to dive into this one (swim pun 110% intended). I’m honestly the most stoked to bring this on a couple of upcoming flights so I can actually read a REAL book on the plane!
For Home Ec… The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
Because we could all use a little more happiness in our lives. I love Rubin’s books on habits, and this is sort of the book that started it all. (I plan on using her newest book, The Four Tendencies, as a Bookworm pick in the next few months as well). But The Happiness Project describes one person’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation. I’m psyched on reading this because I think a ton of us are guilty of sorting out ONE part of our lives really well, then ignoring other pockets. If work is going great, my training suffers. If my training is going awesome, our house is probably a mess… You get the idea. (And I can’t even imagine if I added kids to the mix. Parents, I salute you!) So, let’s all get a little happier, shall we?
For Bio… Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally by Kelly Starrett & TJ Murphy
I read this a couple years ago but now that I’ve upped my mileage significantly as I started into the world of ultra-running, I’m finding myself a lot more aware of nagging little pre-injuries (I’ll call them)… My knee clicks a bit, and so does my big toe. I know my right foot kicks out the the side a few degrees more than it should. Small stuff like that. Ready to Run is an awesome in-depth book about not only how to train yourself to run smarter and stronger, but how to avoid injury with prehab, mobility work and other fun stuff. I definitely need the refresher course!
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