Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Essential George Sheehan

If you’ve spent any time in runners’ circles, you’ve heard a quote by George Sheehan.  He is perhaps the grandfather of running writers, the spiritual Obi-Wan Kenobi whose happy ghost looks over us all.
Many months ago, Rodale sent me "The Essential Sheehan" to review, and I’ve found it to be a treasure chest of running wisdom.  It took me a while to read only because I did so in snippets, which to me is what makes the book work. It is a series of articles written throughout his life, none of which take more than a few minutes to read, but all of them with something that will make you think and add to your running life.
I knew Sheehan was a mind-body-spirit runner, with all sorts of quotes to evoke emotions, but I had no idea that Sheehan was also a great source of training theories that are practical and tangible. He heralded the power of intervals, how to train muscles that need strengthening for injury prevention, and running less junk miles. I was very happy to read him write, in so many words or less, “I can comfortably run a marathon on 30 miles a week” since that is about all I can get to these days.  Some articles were dated and wore their tube socks, but this added to the charm. Other subjects included the communal nature of races, the role of natural highs as opposed to alcohol use, and a goody bag full of spiritual inspiration.
 This is a book which lends itself to hardcover, to be read many times over and flipped open to random pages, and should have a place on your coffee table, next to your bed, or perhaps the perfect toilet reader. Since some runners may hesitate to buy a hardcover for themselves, this makes it a perfect gift. Huge thanks to both Dr. George Sheehan for his words and to Rodale for this gift. 
The Essential Sheehan: On Amazon

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