When I saw Jason Karp's newest book, The Inner Runner, I knew I had to read it. The subtitle alone: Running to a More Succesful, Confident, and Creative You--it spoke to me. Who couldn't use more confidence and success? We runners all know that running is good for more than our body. Karp does a nice job putting what we all know into words.
If you are looking for a book that tells you how to run, this isn't the book for you. Instead, this is a book for the cerebral runner, someone who looks for the deeper meaning behind the run. Someone like me...
Karp starts out by asking the question: "why do we run?" Ask any runner and you'll get a variety of answers. Karp sums up my thoughts nicely: "I just do....I don't know how not to run....Running is my sustenance...my companion...my best friend.'"
And more simply: "because we can".
Karp reviews the health benefits of running, which I found fascinating. With my medical background, I really enjoyed learning more about how running benefits our health, physically and mentally. Running increases serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness. Since I have been struggling with some anxiety lately, I found this information really helpful. Running also helps improve immune function--to a point. Like anything in life, too much running can be too much of a good thing. Karp also ponders what would happen to him if he couldn't run.
Perish the thought.
My favorite chapter in the book was titled "Better Runs". Karp outlines the benefits of every type of run, from slow runs to emotional runs, from morning runs to social runs, from solo runs to races. Every type of run has benefits.
As he says:
"Better runs" means a lot of things. It means better movements, better thoughts, better insights, better experiences."Karp talks about how running can benefit and increase creativity. He delves into the physiology of the brain and how running leads to adaptations that positively impact brain function. I don't know about you, but I always feel sharper on the days that I run than on the days I don't. Karp also addresses the runner's high...which he claims NEVER to have experienced. In fact, after reading this, I felt that he was a little skeptical about the whole runner's high phenomenon. He talks about "flow", an experience where his runs become easier and his energy level is higher. But he admits that this is not the runner's high that most of us have experienced from time to time.
I got kind of stuck on that section. In fact, I felt kind of bad for him. I'm no elite runner. I'm just a regular gal, a mom who likes to run. This whole section on the runner's high brought to mind a conversation a bunch of us moms had while playing bunco one night. Who knows what we were talking about, but after a few drinks, one mom admitted that she never experienced...umm...the happy ending. EVER. Stunned into silence by her admission, we all tried to recover and be tactful, and well, you know how that went.
Talk amongst yourselves.
Runner's high? That's what we're talking about here. I have had more than my share. I guess I need to be really grateful for that. I will say that the runner's high seems to come when you least expect it. The runner's high might come after a quickie--a short run around the hood. Or the runner's high might happen after a long, slow run, a tough marathon, where you've left everything you've got on the road. I've had both experiences, and I've had some in-between.
Still talking about running here.
Overall, I found The Inner Runner to be a great read for the experienced runner. If you want to improve your running game, you need to improve your mental game. This book is full of inspiration and suggestions to help a runner overcome weaknesses to become a stronger runner. I really liked this book and would highly recommend it to any runner who wants to look beyond their training plans to become a complete runner.
"If I am because I think, I am surely better because I run."
Did you read The Inner Runner? Thoughts? Have you experienced the runner's high? Care to share your thoughts on that? Does running make you more creative? More confident? More successful?
Here's the link up badge! You can find the link up at the end of this post. The link up stays live for 2 weeks. You can link up your blog post, Facebook post, or Instagram post here. No post to link? Comments stay live forever! Please remember to link back to this post. Try to read and comment on the other reviews. If you want to review a different fitness-related book, please feel free to link those posts up as well. I'm so grateful to all of you who participate in the book club.
Next month I have a treat for all of you! We are reading fellow Tailwind Trailblazer and ultramarathoner Cory Reese's book Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The Pack! You don't have to be an ultramarathoner to enjoy his sense of humor or his story. I'm proud and excited to share his book. We'll be reviewing and linking up on December 16.