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Book Review: Up and Running

So how are those New Year’s fitness goals going? You know you’ve got them. I’ve got them. I ran a marathon a few short months ago and now I feel like I couldn’t even run 5K. There have been other priorities and then maybe a few too many chocolates and definitely a few too many glasses of wine and, well, I fell off the running wagon. Hard.

But now it’s time to get my head, my legs, and my feet back in the game. So I was grateful to read the new book by my trusted running coach Julia Jones and her partner Shauna Reid. Their book, Up and Running, is primarily targeted at those picking up running for the first time and lays out an 8-week plan to get you from zero to 5K. But the thing is, even as an “experienced” runner, a runner who needed to get her mojo back, I found this book full of wisdom.

There are any number of plans out there that will help you start running or prepare for a specific race goal. Running magazines and websites are chock full of them, plans like the popular Couch to 5K. But while these might give you guidance on a schedule of running workouts, I think they miss the big picture entirely. As I mentioned in my Circle of Running series leading up to Berlin, there is so much more to being a runner, at any distance, than just running. And following a program that doesn’t take a holistic view of how running fits into your life doesn’t help you make running a lifelong habit.

This is where I think Julia and Shauna’s book sets itself apart. Yes, there is a schedule of workouts to follow, but instead of just running, they also include the stretching, strength, and agility drills I’m well familiar with such as skipping, squats, and sprints.”If you want to improve your running style and avoid injury, you need to do more than just run.”

They also talk about how critical it is to understand your motivation for running and identify typical challenges and barriers. “Even seasoned runners can have a difficult time convincing themselves to lace up their shoes.” No shit! So there are practical suggestions on how to confront obstacles and get out of your own way. The key piece of advice that I took away is about making your health a priority and putting yourself at the top of your own to-do list. Put your own oxygen mask on first.

I was also really pleased to see that they included a section in the book about cleaning up your diet. I firmly believe that anyone who believes that some fad diet alone is going change their body and help them get fit is misguided. The same goes for anyone who thinks they can do a load of exercise yet still eat as much pizza and beer as they want. Healthy food choices and exercise together are both pieces of the puzzle. And in my previous training with Julia, especially marathon training, diet was one of the big questions on which she provided guidance. The fuel that we put in our bodies 100% impacts how we feel and how we perform mentally and physically.

I can’t run without a plan. There, I’ve admitted that to myself. I think this is why I’m constantly signing up for races. Without the next “thing” on the calendar or a plan to follow it becomes too easy to fall off the wagon and make excuses. So if you’re like me and looking for a plan to get you into running for the first time or need help getting motivated to pick it up again, Up and Running is worth a read. It will help you run for fun and enjoyment and get you to 5K and beyond.

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UP AND RUNNING is an 8 week plan to go from zero to 5k and discover the life changing power of running. It’s a tried and tested and time-efficient beginners plan, suitable for everyone from manically busy mums to frazzled office workers. We’ve coached thousands of new runners across the world in our 5k e-courses (link to http://www.upandrunningonline.org/5k-course) and discovered the winning formula for 5k success. We learned that running is a mental exercise as much as a physical one and so the program beings with a warm-up week to set your intentions, get organized, and prime your mind for the challenge ahead. This is followed by a realistic, achievable eight-week training programme (including treadmill running options) to ensure that you make it across the finish line. We finish with a Beyond The 5K chapter to help you prepare for the 10k distance.

UP AND RUNNING will get you fired up and excited about running. It will show you how to fall in love with fitness, and with your own life. It’s in stores now from CICO Books – find out more at http://www.upandrunningonline.org/book.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book to review but my opinions and comments are completely my own.

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