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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review: Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner

Worth Every Penny: Meb Knows His Stuff

As I was reading "Meb for Mortals," a non-runner friend saw it. "I don't know what a Meb is," she said. To runners, however, Meb Keflezighi is a household name. Why? Because he is winning in a sport we Americans haven't won very often. His credentials as a marathoner are long and deep. Even as he has turned 40, he is still among the best.

But why this book?

Meb finds that space between inspiring and informative.

It is unlike other distance running books. "Meb for Mortals" isn't filled with detailed workouts 18 or 20 weeks out from race day. Nor is it a long dissertation on the merits of a quality diet. And you won't find it going on and on about some philosophy of running. That said, there's a little of all that in here.

Ghostwritten by Scott Douglas, it is better than most other books on writing. Douglas is a senior content editor at Runner's World (same publisher as the book). The guy knows running and isn't just another hack.

Tony Dungy wrote the foreword. You can skip that. Dungy doesn't really say anything interesting or unique to his relationship to running or Meb. It feels sort of pasted on. But no worries, you are reading the book for the rest, not the foreword.

The chapters:
Think Like Meb
Run Like Meb
Train Like Meb
Race Like Meb
Eat Like Meb
Strengthen Like Meb
Stretch Like Meb
Cross-Train Like Meb
Recover Like Meb

Like the chapter titles imply, we get this from his point of view, from his personal experience as a runner. He's not (yet) a coach, nor does he necessarily have expertise in nutrition and so forth. But he wins. That means it is worth learning how one guy is getting it done.

Within each chapter, he relates the content to his own life. When discussing diet, he tells how much he weighed when, and what weight his physician told he should weigh.

Among the things you'll gain from this is a sense of his personal discipline. He stays on the game even when he's resting. By that I mean he takes seriously the process of making good choices. He doesn't take his success for granted. He reminds us of three simple keys in life:

Good goals
Hard Work

This shouldn't be the only running book you read. Bob Glover's The Competitive Runner's Handbook: The Bestselling Guide to Running 5Ks through Marathons  is a great one, as is Hal Higdon's Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: Advice, Plans, and Programs for Half and Full Marathons. There are too many others to name, but Meb's book is worth your money and time.

Anthony Trendl

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