Review of The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete 


Katie from Keeping Up With Katie said: “What I hoped would be a good read, far exceeded my expectations and left me in tears at some points and feeling motivated and grateful all at the same time.  This is the story of a NY Firefighter and experienced athlete who suffered a horrific accident that left him debilitated and his road to recovery. The most striking element of the book is his vulnerability and humility.  He shares raw details of his body post-accident and his acceptance that he may never be able to compete as the athlete he once was.  While he accepted that he would never run a 3:15 marathon, or an 11 hour Ironman finish, he did not let those disabilities hold him back from what makes him feel alive: competing in endurance events. I could relate to his desire to participate in the things he once loved because those are the things that make him feel alive.  He shares his desire to simply run, even if that meant running a mile slower than most people can walk it.  Running, and competing in races are the things in life that makes him feel accomplished and proud of himself and he did not want to let his accident diminish those desires.  For any athlete out there, or anyone looking for a motivational story, this is a MUST READ.”


Review of Its Not About the Bike

lance (1) 

Kristy from Run the Long Road wrote, “I read It’s Not About The Bike a few years ago.  It’s definitely in my "top 10" list!  There are tons of inspirational books out there but this one takes the cake.  Lance Armstrong describes his battle with cancer in such detail I could not put the book down.  His cancer was extremely advanced (I never knew it was that bad) and doctors literally told him they were going to essentially "kill him with chemo and then bring him back to life".  I’ll never forget that quote.  The second half of the book describes his come back to cycling.  I cannot believe this man won the Tour de France 7 consecutive times!  It really proves that anything is possible.”


Molly from RD Exposed also loved this book!  She said, “Lance is such an inspiration in this book. You find yourself going through each emotion he went through from his diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and triumph.”


Review of Running for Women:


Julie from A Case of the Runs wrote, “Kara Groucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons is primarily aimed toward beginner runners, but even as someone who is training for marathon #9 learned a few things from it.  I love how she doesn’t send the message that you HAVE to run a marathon or even race to be a runner, which is refreshing coming from her perspective.  She covers suggestions for what to carry when running outside, being safe on the roads, how to frame your eating, socks, and what to do on race day and afterward (for shorter and longer distances).  She talks about how she kept pushing herself and getting injured, and how hard it was emotionally to deal with injury (a topic we all know, I’m sure!).  The book also contains some Q&A from both beginning and seasoned runners on unique topics (e.g., how to get over the fact that men run faster). Kara offers some training plans in the book that I am probably going to try out in the future.  She has 5k/10k/13.1/26.2 plans that ask for3 days of running, which would be great for those of us who are busy!”


Review of Running for Mortals:  A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life Through Running

RunningForMortalsPB 0

Holli from The Great Askini wrote, “Running for Mortals:  A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life Through Running is co-written by a running coach (Jenny Hadfield) and a formerly overweight and out of shape man who became an avid marathon runner (John Bingham).  The book covers nutrition, flexibility, strength training, and most importantly, taking it slow to avoid injuries.  It also contains training plans for 5Ks and 10Ks, and a running plan for weight loss plan.  I’m currently using the training plan for my first 10K and am loving it!  And if you’re interested in half or full marathons, they have a companion book called Marathoning for Mortals!


Emily from Healthy Creature also liked this book!  She wrote, “The book is a huge supporter of run/walking and has great tips for beginners. It was the perfect book for where I was fitness-wise when I started. They cover everything from building mileage, how long it takes for the different systems in your body to adapt to running, cross training, and the different heart rate levels (to name a few).”


Review of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen


Jamie from Everyday Dolce wrote, “Before I read Born to Run, I considered running to be a necessary chore of healthy living and fitness. I knew it was good for my heart, burned lots of calories, and helped build endurance. As I read Christopher Mcdougall’s book I noticed with every page I turned, my view of running was shifting. I read about the Tarahumara Indians and their ability to run for hundreds of miles freely like children simply having fun without pushing through pain or injury and it inspired me. I loved this book because it taught me that running was never meant to be a "chore" or consequence of eating too much cheesecake. Running was meant to be spontaneous and free. I’ve fallen victim to not feeling like I’ve run long or hard enough or that I could have done better if I just did this or that differently. In the book, McDougall writes about young children on a playground and how when they run it’s playful and fun. They are not concerned with calories or heart rate. I wanted to learn torun that way again…the way I did as a kid on the playground. I realized that’s ultimately what I should be after and what will help me become the runner I was born to be.


Michelle from Crazy Running Legs did a full review of the book on her blog.  She said, “Ultimately, where he went with this story was awe-inspiring.”


Review of In Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses


Chrissy from The New Me wrote, “In Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, writer Clare Dederer tells the story of her life – from her free spirited childhood raised by hippie parents in the 1960’s, to her own marriage and motherhood – by linking her memories and experiences to yoga poses. Each chapter is named for a pose, and by describing the mechanics of that pose and the physical and emotional struggles that come with it, Clare reflects on her life and the lessons she has learned with humor and wisdom. If there is a theme in Clare’s life, it is that she is often conflicted about the idea of family and that she is constantly striving to be "good" – a good partner, a good mother, a good writer, a good person, a good yogi. Through her yoga practice, which she begins as a way to heal a back she threw out while breast feeding, she is able to confront this idea of "good" and realize, after many years, that just being is enough.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone interested in yoga, motherhood or solid prose – Clare is a great writer with a strong voice, and I loved the way she was able to use humor to explore some of her more painful memories. Plus, how often do you come across a yoga memoir? Not often enough!”


Review of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running


Liz wrote, “A friend gave me What I Talk About When I Talk About Running as a birthday gift this year, two months before my first marathon.  It was a needed kick in the pants as training tapered off.  Murakami does not coddle his readers; instead, he goes through an unapologetic survey of his running career.  The book takes you through marathon training with Murakami over a year, often told through anecdotes about his running and writing career.  Even when not training, he tries to hit the pavement for at least an hour a day and does so because he sees the body as a machine, in need of routine mechanics to keep it running.  I may not be as a stubborn as he is, but I often recall his writing when I have taken too many off days.  He elegantly and simply reduces to prose some of the indescribable emotions triggered by distance running.  Beginners might be put off by his book, but he captures running’s inarticulable nuances in an accessible and inspiring way.”


Book Club Time!  Have you read any of these books, too?  What did you think of them?  (PS – If you’re got a review of a food philosophy, self-esteem boosting, or fitness book that hasn’t been covered yet, send it to



  • Freya April 18, 2011, 7:16 am

    Love this post! I read an interview with Matt Long in RW, and it was amaaazing – he is so inspiring. Annd now I want to read Lance Armstrong’s book (what a scary quote, re the chemo) and ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’. Oh, and Born to Run. Gah, I want to read them all!!

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 7:18 am

      Me too! I haven’t read any of these yet.

      • Baking 'n' Books April 18, 2011, 8:26 am

        I highly, highly recommend Lance’s book. Amazing. What he goes through; and then he gives up on cycling and spends a load of time just “schleping” and eating Mexican food day after day…until he realizes it’s time to change again.

        That’s what I like. It’s never to late to come back.

  • Kara April 18, 2011, 7:19 am

    I recently read “Run Like a Mother” and that’s a great book for anyone who is trying to balance kids and running. Some of the info is old (like the novel idea of hydrating while running), but it’s well written and I enjoyed it!

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:13 pm

      Oh great recommendation! You should send me a full review!

  • megan @ the oatmeal diaries April 18, 2011, 7:25 am

    My mom read “Poser” and loved it! I’m going to get it for my Kindle 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) April 18, 2011, 7:26 am

    This is a great list! Thank you for posting it. I will definitely check them out.

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) April 18, 2011, 7:29 am

    As a non-runner who loved Born To Run, I gave a copy to my runner dad for his birthday this year. He’s now passed it on to another runners in his group so my little recommendation is making the rounds! I always love finding new non-fiction.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 18, 2011, 7:31 am

    Thanks for putting all of these great reviews together, Caitlin! My list of books to read keeps growing and growing!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg April 18, 2011, 7:31 am

    Great book suggestions…just in time for (almost) summer!!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad April 18, 2011, 7:37 am

    I’ve got some new books to add to my reading list!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg April 18, 2011, 7:45 am

    I haven’t read any of them! I plan on starting Born to Run soon but that Kara Goucher book seems to be pushing for 1st place on my list, so maybe I’ll start with that one. Thanks for the reviews!

  • Christine @ Burning It Off April 18, 2011, 7:47 am

    Great picks. I like fitness books that focus more on the mental aspect of training and it seems like these ones do that. I’ll have to check out some of the running books! Thanks for the recommendations 🙂

  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) April 18, 2011, 7:53 am

    I had no idea that Kara Goucher had a running book! I’m going to pick it up, along with some of your other recommendations. Thanks! 😀

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley April 18, 2011, 7:56 am

    I’ve never heard of any of these, but they all seem great! I can’t wait to get my hands on them for summer.

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves April 18, 2011, 8:00 am

    My Life in 23 Yoga Poses sounds really interesting! That’s going to have to be added to my must-read list!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 18, 2011, 8:06 am

    Oh wow! I haven’t read any of these but now I want to read them all, especially Kara Goucher’s book! I think she’s such a great role model and I’m definitely going to look for this one next time I’m out!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 18, 2011, 8:16 am

    These are great reviews! I’ve heard of a few of these books, but I’ve never read any of them. Thanks for posting this!

  • Jennifer Cook April 18, 2011, 8:31 am

    As I type this, I was looking for audiobooks to download to get me through my upcoming long runs. (A friend suggested I do that, what a great idea, right?) This post could not have come at a more perfect time! i am seriously looking for everyone of these books, and I don’t find the audio versions, I am buying the regular versions. Can’t wait to get my hands on them!

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:12 pm

      Yay! Glad the timing worked out.

  • Lisa (I'm an Okie) April 18, 2011, 8:37 am

    Fantastic! Thanks for the reviews!

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns April 18, 2011, 8:47 am

    I read Murakami’s book a few years ago and loved it. I ended up reading several other books of his afterwards. I highly recommend it to seasoned runners. 🙂 Sweet post, Caitlin!

  • Angela @ Pinching and Packing April 18, 2011, 9:15 am

    I really enjoyed Born to Run. The view the athletes in the book had about running is so different from the way the typical American views the sport. I also learned a lot about barefoot running and the idea behind it, although I still haven’t tried it!

  • Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty April 18, 2011, 9:22 am

    I’ve read Armstrong’s book, Born to Run, but am looking forward to reading Poser, and Karla Goucher’s book. Thanks for the reviews. Great ideal.

  • Michelle@crazyrunninglegs April 18, 2011, 9:48 am

    Thanks for the link! I am so excited to read Kara Goucher’s book as I train for my 1st marathon. Awesome post 🙂

    Maybe you could also do a post on inspirational fitness movies? I just watched Spirit of the Marathon and I would LOVE some other recommendations on movies too!

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:10 pm

      Oh I love inspirational movies. I am trying so hard to think of the name of one of my favs but cannot!

  • Lucy @ The Sweet Touch April 18, 2011, 10:02 am

    Thanks for sharing this list. What I love most about these kinds of books is that most of the time you can apply them to life in general, even if you aren’t an athlete.

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:09 pm

      I agree! I think athletic lessons can be applied to much more 🙂

  • Nikki T April 18, 2011, 10:02 am

    Great post! I’ve added a few new reads to my list!

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 18, 2011, 10:17 am

    My friend is obsessed with Born to Run, and has me curious to read it too. Thanks for sharing these! 🙂

  • Natalia - a side of simple April 18, 2011, 10:21 am

    Ooo I can’t wait to get to my library now!!

    By the way, I LOVE your new photo at the top of your page! It’s perfect for you 🙂

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:08 pm

      Thank you so much.

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans April 18, 2011, 10:33 am

    I loved The Long Run. Matt Long’s story really teaches us that anything is possible and that the strength of the human spirit is truly remarkable!

    Thanks for the other recommendations

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist April 18, 2011, 10:40 am

    Running for Mortals is the book that made me realize that I am capable of running. I’m still not a great runner but I wouldn’t be doing it at all if it weren’t for that book.

  • Erin @ Big Girl Feats April 18, 2011, 11:06 am

    Awesome! I love anything John Bingham writes. He’s very relatable. I am now putting these all in my to-read list so I don’t forget! I heard an interview with Claire from Poser and it sounded really interesting.

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:08 pm

      I loved his blog on RW’s… don’t know if he still does it.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) April 18, 2011, 11:10 am

    I can’t wait to have more time to read this summer so I can check out some of these other books!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good April 18, 2011, 11:13 am

    I’ve read some of these. I especially enjoyed Born to Run and It’s Not About the Bike from these selections. I actually emailed you about Born to Run, not realizing it was already covered this morning. 🙂 I may have to check out some of these others! I love to read a book that inspires me!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 18, 2011, 11:59 am

    Great post- I need to read some of these, thanks!! 🙂 I esp want to read that yoga one–how cool is a yoga memoir??!

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:07 pm

      I know! Such a unique concept.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 18, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I’ve never read any of these, but I’m definitely adding Born to Run to my summer reading list! Sometimes I need a reminder not to get so focused on the speed and distance, and to just enjoy running.

  • Sara April 18, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Great list of books! Thanks for posting. The first one sounds really good.

  • The Teenage Taste April 18, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Okay, that’s it. I’m taking a drive to the library and picking up every last one of these books. Thanks for sharing the reviews with us! 😀

  • Aimee April 18, 2011, 12:47 pm

    I am so charged up with “running” energy today. My morning started out with a great run. Then I watched the Boston Marathon which was incredible and so inspiring. And now a fantastic list of books to keep me inspired. Thanks to all who reviewed the books. I’m excited to start reading.

  • Christine April 18, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I’ve read the Long Run and Born to Run, and I just bought Kara’s book (so sad she didn’t win today, by the way, but 5th is still great). I am excited to pick up the Murakami book, just because he is such a great fiction writer.

    Love this!

    • Caitlin April 18, 2011, 2:06 pm

      So sad she didn’t win today, too!

  • Jamie@everydaydolce April 18, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I’m definitely going to check out a couple of these. Thanks again for posting my brief review…Born to Run really had a significant impact on my view of running and health.

  • Angela April 18, 2011, 1:46 pm

    The long run is on my list after reading an article about his story in Runner’s World. The fact that the guy is still alive is a miracle never mind that he completed a marathon afterwards.

    Running for women looks interesting. I’ve been inspired by watching the London Marathon this weekend and would love to eventually run one.

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep April 18, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Awesome! I’ve been needing to find some good, inspiration running books. I read The Non-Runner’s Marathon Guide for Women, and it blew! I don’t suppose you want a bad book review on the blog though.

  • R @ Learning As I Chop April 18, 2011, 4:14 pm

    I’ve really been wanting to read the yoga and Murakami books.

  • Rachel V April 18, 2011, 7:00 pm

    I’d be interested in some bad reviews. What books did people not like? Or maybe a positive review and a negative review for the same book. Not everyone likes the same books, and it’s always interesting to see what people liked/disliked when I decide what to read next. But I really like this new review feature on your blog. I always need help deciding on books to read!

    I recently read Ultramarathon Man and Run!, both by Dean Karnazes, The first was great and inspirational, but Run! was a poor duplication of his first book. It’s probably because he wrote while running and therefore, wrote like a high school student and repeated a lot of the same mantras and advice. On a side note, he took credit for a quote I’ve also seen credited to MLK, not sure what to make of that.

  • Alison April 18, 2011, 9:05 pm

    Great roundup! I have Marathoning for Mortals on my nightstand, great book for beginners! Most of the rest of these are on my wish list…not enough hours in the day! I should download them to my iPad now.

    Also, whenever I hear the title of Lance Armstrong’s book I think of one of my favorite bits from The Daily Show. It isn’t appropriate for mixed company, but basically Jon Stewart imagines the title of the autobiography that The Bike would right in response. You could probably Google it…

  • Jolene ( April 18, 2011, 9:49 pm

    I haven’t read any of those books, but I am thankful for the reviews!!!

  • Melissa @ Running with Needles April 18, 2011, 10:36 pm

    I recently finished “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” and thought it was fantastic. It’s very no-nonsense and straight-forward, but full of wonderful insights and things to think about. He’s actually my uncle’s favorite author, and my uncle named his son after him (Haruki)!

  • Chaaron @Sense and NonSensibility April 19, 2011, 9:46 am

    Excellent list! My summer reading list has just increased by 7 books! Thanks for putting together the “book club” Caitlin!

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