Book Review- Kara Goucher’s Running For Women

I went to the library earlier this week for the first time in a while.  My town’s library recently finished renovations.  This was my first time in the new building after they were in a smaller, temporary location this past year.  I picked up a few books.  One of those was “Kara Goucher’s Running For Women.”  Here’s what I thought:

  • The book was very easy to read.  Each chapter covers a different aspect of running, opens with a personal story from Kara and then lists pages and pages of helpful advice.  You can skip  just to the chapters relevant to you or read the whole thing straight through.
  • Although Kara is an Olympic distance runner, this book is great for anyone who wants to run.  Whether you are male or female, competitively racing or running for fun, this book is worth reading.

Here are some of my favorite tips from each chapter.  I liked the ones relevant to me (obviously) but there are many more that are worth reading.

  • Ch 1 Getting Started
    • To get rid of a side stitch exhale forcefully while bending over at the waist, press your fingers into the spot, or walk until it goes away.
    • Dress like it is 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer says.
    • In tempo runs, keep the pace challenging but controlled.  At the end you should feel like you could have done more.
    • Check out John “The Penguin” Bingham at his website.
    • When running on the road, stay to the left so you can see what’s coming toward you.  (I follow this but I have seen way too many people running the opposite way)
    • Beware of uneven stresses on like (like highly cambered roads) and mix it up.
    • Wave to oncoming cars to get their attention and show that you know you are sharing the road.
    • Don’t take painkillers before a run because it can mask pain (read: DANGEROUS).  Save it for after if you really need it.
    • If you notice your lower legs are sore and fatigued, this might mean you need new shoes.
  • Ch 2 Training
    • Pick a keyword/mantra and use it before and during runs to boost you up.
    • 25% of your weekly runs should be higher quality (speed work, hills, etc.)
    • Make it a habit to finish your runs strong.
    • Some cross training ideas: cycling, elliptical training, inline skating, Pilates/yoga, pool running, strength training, swimming
    • If given the choice, always choose the tougher option.
  • Ch 3 Social Running
  • Ch 4 Staying Injury Free
    • Be careful about your knees: stretch and strength train to keep them strong.
    • Soak in ice-cold water once a week, definitely if you run over 10 miles.  This helps you recover quicker.
    • Strength train and stretch regularly to keep your body in balance.
  • Ch 5 Balancing Running and Life
    • Deny yourself running for a few days to make yourself crave it.
    • Run cathartically.  Use it as time to think over problems.
    • Create a routine that works for you.
    • Pick one new thing to work on every few months (running related or not).
  • Ch 6 Food and Nutrition
    • Consider which foods are pro-inflammatory vs. anti-inflammatory.  Some foods Kara lists as good to eat are apples, citrus fruits, fatty fish, ginger, green beans, kale, nuts, olives, olive oil, onions, pineapples, pomegranates, prunes, turmeric, vegetable oils, wheat germ
    • Drink your recovery shake before doing anything else.
  • Ch 7 Racing
    • Have at least two goals for every race.  One should be a stretch and one should be very achievable (even non-competitive)
    • Remember sunscreen, hat and shades.
    • Break the race into segments.
    • Go to the far end at aid stations to avoid traffic jams.
    • Write your name on your race top so people can cheer for you!
    • Breath from way down in the belly.
    • Run tall and smile when you pass the race photographer.
    • If things get tough, start counting your steps.  Start over every time you get to 100.  This should take your mind off your troubles.
  • Ch 8 Running a Marathon
    • Practice your nutrition before the race.
    • Take the long view.  Enjoy your ride and be patient because it can take a long time to get faster and stronger as a runner.
    • Take the time to visit the race expo.
    • Be mindful of those around you.  Be prepared to catch yourself if you get tripped.
    • Keep your head up and eyes forward to avoid shuffling and shortening your stride.
  • Ch 9 Pregnancy and New Motherhood
    • Interesting advice but revisit this down the road when it actually applies to me!
  • Ch 10 Running for Life
    • Consider supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.
    • Pick one area of weakness each year and improve on it.
    • Learn to breath effectively.
    • Take two weeks off completely each year to prevent injury and keep you refreshed.

Besides all the great tips, I loved learning about Kara and I think she is pretty inspiring!  If you want to learn more about her you can check out her website/blog here.

Check out the book in your library or buy it from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.


2 thoughts on “Book Review- Kara Goucher’s Running For Women

  1. I read that book last year and enjoyed it too! Another running book I really is like and would recommend is Running like a girl by Alexandra Hemingsley. It’s a memoir that is funny and relatable about a girl who never thought she would become a runner. She was surprised about everything that happened to her once she started running. She also has a section on tips and things she learned once she become a runner.

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