This book was recommended to me by a running friend who I respect a lot. I borrowed it from the library and renewed it so many times I thought I should just buy it. Julian Goater talks about his experiences in cross country and track but it's completely accessible to a slightly geeky but "normal" runner. He looks at obstacles such as lack of focus, the need to customise your training, how to shift gears (still working on that), mental fortitude and whether to DNF, the key bases needed for training and how add the final touches. You can see the chapter headings here. He talks about how to train and how to race and whilst I don't agree with everything he writes, his enthusiasm for and love of running is infectious.
His words helped me massively in two races recently.
1. " Remember the basics of good technique...feel as if you are falling into your next step". I hardly ever manage this but having read it here and in Adharanand Finn's books it came to mind at around mile 24 of the Manchester Marathon. Just as form was failing me and fatigue was setting in it gave me something to think about. I didn't feel like I managed it but I'm told I looked strong at the end so I can only imagine it was partly due to this.
2. "Make your move at the last possible moment that suits your strengths and when you make your move, be decisive. Run hard and commit"
When I ran the Forest 5 recently it was a new experience. I was running for placing, not for time. I'd read the "all in your head" chapter of the book where it talked about knowing your strengths and running to them. I knew that offroad wasn't my strong point so when I got overtaken by another lady in a boggy section I remembered this and decided that when I got to firmer ground that was my time to go. At that point I would put as much clear road between us as I possibly could. It was early in the race (Julian wouldn't like that) but I wasn't sure what was coming later. I did it and it worked, the lady was a brilliant trail runner and could easily have smashed me if it had all been on the grass but I managed to draw away enough of a lead to deal with it.
Firstly, these ladies ran the length of the Netherlands in their underwear to raise money for breast cancer charity The Pink Ribbon Foundation. Madness or respect worthy? Who knows. Read about it here.