Another 20 Books of Summer book (intro post here) and my seventh of the project; I’m reviewing this slightly out of order as I wanted to post my review on the same day as Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home published hers; we realised we both had a copy and wanted to do a little readalong. Here’s Wendy’s post!

This book arrived on 24 June 2021 as part of my Christmas and Book Token splurge (results pictured on 1 July 2021) although I found out about it a while before via a session by the authors through the Runners’ Bookshelf Facebook page.

Martin Yelling and Anji Andrews – “Running in the Midpack: How to be a Strong, Successful and Happy Runner”

(24 June 2021 – book tokens)

It doesn’t have to be right all the time for your running to be going right. One poor or below par run doesn’t make you a crap runner. It’s not true that ‘you’re only as good as your last race’. It takes many different runs to understand you as a runner – great, good and epic fail. (p. 28)

This is very specifically stated to be a running book for people who already know how to run, filling a gap between the multiple how-to books for new runners, books for those at the sharp end, the elites, narratives of various challenges and achievements and supportive books for those at the very back of the pack. Although I’m near the back of the pack, I do manage to come in the first 80% or so of runners and I’ve been running for decades and know a lot of the terminology and theory (whether I apply it is a different matter, of course), so counted myself among the book’s audience.

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a book if there wasn’t a good amount about racing, getting personal records, achieving more (longer, faster or, to be fair on the authors, more comfortably, mentally and/or physically) and training. So that aspect wasn’t particularly applicable to me as I don’t like racing and tend not to do it (also I don’t need a race to keep me running). I was amused to see my kind of running without a particular goal (well, my goal might be to visit a Lego giraffe or photograph an old mill) described as “aimless wafting” (it does acknowledge there is a place for the odd bit of aimless wafting) – I suppose some more substantial mention might have been made about those of us who run because we want to keep fit and well into older age, but one book can’t be everything to all people and there are books that cover that.

So we get useful chapters on psychology, including anxiety, motivation and stress, whole body health, including strength and conditioning, resting and stretching, training, nutrition, including useful information on when the relationship with food and running becomes unhealthy, and finally race day. And I might have said I don’t like racing, but the sections on different kinds of races, from 5k to marathon, and the pre-race-day and recovery planning sheets are massively useful and the best I’ve seen! Women’s cycles are covered (though not menopause stuff) and volunteering is mentioned several times as a good way to give back to the hobby rather than a ‘sacrifice’. Oh, and Ben Smith, the 401 Marathons man is mentioned – hooray!

A good book that covers all the bases with lots of other experts consulted and quoted. You will find something new and challenging here, whatever your running and training experience – I was certainly reminded of the uncomfortable truth that I just don’t like pushing myself or going out of my comfort zone, although realistically I’m not sure that’s going to change. Maybe I can push it now and then!

This was book number 7 in my 20 Books of Summer 2022!

This was also TBR Challenge 2021-22 Quarter 4 Book 1/28 – 27 to go!