Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea

I almost didn't buy this book. It showed up in my Amazon recommendations and when I read the description, with its talk of tips for running while pregnant and post-partum and finding time to run while mothering toddlers, I immediately thought it didn't really apply to me since my kids are older. But the reader reviews won me over, and I went ahead and bought it. I'm so glad I did!

The two authors of Run Like a Mother make it clear from the outset that while they have many similarities (most notably a love of running), they also have many differences. Bowen Shea is the more intense and competitive of the two, while McDowell takes a somewhat more casual approach to running. I imagine most readers will identify pretty strongly with one or the other, which gives the book an intimate, conversational feel. It really reads more like friendly advice than an instruction manual, which I really liked.

Chapters are short and typically include an essay by one of the two authors about the topic in question, a variety of sidebars that tend to take the form of bulleted lists or quotes from other running mothers, and an extra ".2" section (for the .2 mile that makes up the end of a 26.2-mile marathon) with fun stuff like playlist suggestions or pre-run beauty dos and don'ts.

Early chapter topics include everything from finding motivation to finding the right shoes. Middle and later chapters deal with different aspects of running (trail running, speedwork, hills, race training) as well as specific considerations for mothers (running while pregnant, postpartum, etc.). The book is chock-full of personal stories and experiences by the authors along with loads of practical information and resources, all presented in a very easy-to-read format.

Run Like a Mother is a great resource for women runners in all stages of life, whether mother-to-be, new mother, mother of teens, grandmother, or don't-plan-to-be-a-mother! More than that, it's a really fun read. You'll feel like you've just taken a run with a couple of friends who really "get it". The authors also have a blog where they keep the conversation going.

I highly recommend this book and expect to refer back to it often during my running (r)evolution.

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