While we are all currently practising social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic, you might be looking for ways to fill the extra time at home. Catching up on reading helps to occupy your mind and escape the anxiety of these uncertain times. I’ve certainly used the time to finish off a few books which have been sat on my shelf for a while!
The Pants of Perspective by Anna McNuff
The Pants of Perspective is the story of Anna McNuff’s solo running journey across the length of New Zealand- an incredible 3,000 kilometre journey taking 148 days. She brings her story to life as she describes running through forests, along ridge-lines, over mountain passes, along beaches and across rivers on the Te Araroa trail. Anna is undaunted by obstacles and injuries, as she runs up to 32 miles in a day, carrying all of her belongings in a backpack that weighed 20kg. She writes in such a way that you feel like you are running with her, experiencing New Zealand and it’s people.
Fifty Shades of the USA by Anna McNuff
Another one from the amazing Anna McNuff! This book recounts Anna’s 11,000 mile cycle through all 50 states of the USA. She shares the highs and lows of her epic journey, including the people she met along the way, the treacherous weather conditions and varying landscapes she rides through. Anna’s determination, spirit for adventure and open-minded approach really shine through in her writing. This book really had me wanting to explore more of America for myself.
Running for My Life by Rachel Ann Cullen
Running for my Life is an honest account of Rachel Cullen’s life from childhood to present day. She openly shares her struggles with mental health and how she eventually overcomes her demons through running. The book is interspersed with diary entries and flashbacks to periods in Rachel’s life when she was at her lowest ebb mentally and physically. The narrative switches between self-deprecating comments and humorous anecdotes. It’s an emotional read- particularly the part where Rachel loses a friend to suicide. Her story is proof of the transformative effects of physical exercise on mental wellbeing.
This Girl Ran by Helen Croydon
This Girl Ran tells the story of Helen’s transformation from glamourous party girl to endurance athlete. Her life revolved around boozy nights out with friends, but she realises she needs something more fulfiling and decides to join a running club to meet different people. There’s a lot for her to learn as she swaps heels for muddy running shoes. Helen’s progression is rapid and within two years she qualifies for the Age Group World Triathlon Championships. I actually know Helen through working on media for Triathlon England- she’s an established author and journalist, so I was really pleased that her third book focused on her journey into triathlon.
Dare to Tri by Louise Minchin
Another story of transformation from complete beginner to Team GB Age Group Athlete, as told by TV presenter Louise Minchin. Her journey starts out with a track cycling challenge as part of her role on BBC Breakfast- she finds that the loves the endorphin rush and realises wants to explore a new sport. Louise shares the mistakes she makes and lessons she learns as she transitions into a triathlete. I must admit I wasn’t familiar with Louise Minchin before reading this book, but I always love reading stories of how other people discover triathlon, particularly if their experiences mirror my own.
Jog On: How Running Saved my Life by Bella Mackie
Jog On is an honest account of Bella Mackie’s struggles with deep-rooted mental health problems and how she discovers running as an effective way to manage her symptoms. Her first run ends after only a few minutes, but she gradually builds up the distance and finds that her mood is lifting for the first time in years. My only criticism of Jog On is that it’s quite repetitive and full of statistics- Bella tells the same anecdotes several times throughout the book which becomes a bit tedious.
Do you have any recommendations for books for runners, cyclists or triathletes? Have you read any of these?