Monday, May 21, 2012
Book Review: Running Ahead of the Sun by Greg Strosaker
Initially I bought this book because I have really enjoyed the author, Greg Strosaker’s, blog and following his training on DM(dailymile), a workout journal and social networking site for athletes. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I didn’t think that I would be getting a book that I would put down and look forward to picking back up, but that is exactly what I got. In other words, knowing the book was a compilation of training entries from dailymile and blog posts I was expecting an enjoyable read but nothing that would really grab and hold my attention. I soon found out that the book would be one that I was eager to get back to.
In the prolog you get an overview of the injury that would bring Greg’s previous season to an early end and the treatment he went through to get back to running. This really sets up the book nicely and puts you in Greg’s corner wishing him the best as he begins running again after a season ending injury. Once through the prolog you are taken along on his journey through an 18 week marathon training program as he chases ambitious running goals in the middle of his “real” life as a father, husband, and employee.
I have been following Greg on DM and his blog predawn runner for about 6 months. I know that his entries on DM always provide inspiration and insight. I also know that his blog posts are always worth reading and I can usually apply something from them to my own running. I was surprised how this was amplified in the book. I suppose that is because instead of the entries being separated by a day or two I was able to read through an entire week, or more, and see them not so much individually but in a more connected way.
The DM entries when read straight through in this manner allowed the continuity of the complete training cycle to be much more visible. Being connected to Greg’s training like this only amplified my desire to see him succeed.
Adding to the uninterrupted stream, the blog posts were interspersed and addressed a running theme or sub-theme in the DM posts. As I said, posts on predawnrunner.com are always worth the read but the way Greg fit the posts into the book around the training cycle served to enhance not only the story itself but the points being made and the insights of the posts.
However, the most surprising part of this book was the climax. It’s essentially an autobiography told through a training log. What kind of climax do you expect really? If you thought not much of one, you would be like me, dead wrong. The climax of this book comes in the form of the author’s experience running the 2011 Towpath marathon. At this point you are rooting for Greg from all the setup of the book. He details the race from start to finish. I was taken completely by surprise at the personal excitement and satisfaction I got through the author’s telling of the final leg of the race.
This is an excellent book. The reading is light but valuable, the story is compelling and if you are like me and have aspirations to run at a little higher level than your "average Joe" there is certainly much inspiration to be found. The book is available through amazon both in paperback and kindle editions here. Go get it an treat yourself to a nice summer read.