As I mentioned recently, I have been listening to podcasts from Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea of Another Mother Runner. I found them funny and inspirational, even though the intended audience is running moms and I don’t have kids. They post every other week (more or less) and I found myself getting impatient for a new episode between podcasts. It was clearly a sign that I needed to order their books.
The first is Run Like a Mother: How to get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity. And hey, I might not have kids, but I have a family and a job! And I’m sane. Er. Most days. I think. So I ordered it, and the sequel, Train Like a Mother.
Run Like A Mother definitely keeps the same funny and honest vibe of the podcast. It’s a little bit of a how-to for beginning runners and a lot of personal essays from the authors, with quotes and short snippets from folks from the ladies’ Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The book is divided into short chapters on things like running gear, music, partners, strength training, etc. My two favorites were chapter 3 – Mental Tougness – Chapter 8 – Races – and chapter 22 – Injuries. My least favorites were the ones about children and pregnancy, because, well, I can’t really relate.
Chapters 3 and 8 were really inspiring. Mental toughness is, as far as I’m concerned, the most important part of running, and it’s a place I fall down a lot. I like to just run! Not worry about speed or hills or anything. I’m comfortable at my pace, and while I want to get faster, I’m terrible about taking the necessary steps to do so.
I don’t mean to sound like a drill sergeant, but if your body never knows what it feels like to go longer, harder, or faster, your mind will never trust that it can. And the only way you can force your mind to believe it is by crossing your own fence, too…here’s a guideline: Go long enough so you’re super uncomfortable and every fiber of you is screaming at your brain to tell your body to slow down. Then go at least a minute – or 5- longer.
The race stuff I already touched on in a previous post, and probably will write about again. It’s an incredibly rich and inspiring book and I’m sure I’ll refer back to it for quite some time.
My love of the injuries chapter is pretty self-explanatory. My injury was pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but it was still a challenge. And this quote from that chapter explains why:
First, it pisses me off that the injury is caused by running, an activity we all agree is good for you. It’s not like I chain-smoked my way to an angry iliotbial band or never ate any green veggies and, as a result, got nailed with a stress fracture…Then there’s the actual physical pain, which can sting initially but then settles into a gnat-like level: It’s just noticeable to be annoying, swarms around endlessly, and is almost impossible to kill.
Yup. That’s exactly it. It’s perfect. The chapter also has a handy Q&A explaining things like how no one cares as much as you do about your injury. It’s great, and again, very funny.
One of my favorite parts of this book is the contrast in voice. SBS is competitve and Type A, whereas Dimity is a bit more relaxed and doesn’t seem to push herself as hard. They alternate chapters, more or less, and the whole book reads like a slightly more formal version of the podcast – it’s like a great conversation between two great friends.
They complement each other very well. Plus, they both rowed in college, which makes me like them even more. They’ve got a great community on their website and on Facebook and Twitter. I highly recommend checking them out even if you’re not a mom or a runner – their advice would probably be helpful for other athletes as well. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Train Like a Mother!