During Christmas I asked for and got several books on running. One of them was appropriately named “Running Past 50“ by Richard Benyo. I definitely got a hard time from people around me when I opened this book up on Christmas :-).
This book was published in 1998, so some of the information is a little dated and I wonder how the author would change this book 14 years later?
Initially I honestly didn’t like the tone of the “Running Past 50”, it just seemed so negative about the changes taking place as we age. Instead of focusing on the positives that come with aging and being a runner, it seemed to focus a lot on the negatives and the “runners mentality” of doing too much or not listening to others.
Perhaps it was Benyo’s way of trying to give over 50-year-old runners a wake up call, but at one point I almost just put the book in the give away pile. I already know many of the negatives of aging and want to know how to keep aging at bay or at least some ideas to at least delay it when I can.
However, I continued to plug through “Running Past 50” and ended up reading the entire book.
I disagree with his section on “The Matter of Footwear” pg 33, based on the things we have learned over the past 14 years since the book was published. I tend to think that a more minimalist shoe works best for me and many other runners. His section on how to choose a running shoe does help the reader to understand some of the “games” of the running shoe industry and was enlightening on some things.
As I got further into the “Running Past 50”, it began to take a more positive view, which is what I wanted – I am a glass half-full kind of guy. The chapters rolled by pretty quickly with main topics that included
Part 1 – The Machine
Part 2 – The Elements of Training
Part 3 – The Art and Science of Ingestion
Part 4 – Training Alone and Together
Part 5 – The Walking Wounded
Part 6 – Head Games
At 239 pages the book is a pretty quick read.
The section that I enjoyed the most was “Training Alone and Together”. I have almost always been a solitary runner, with brief periods of running with others. I have thought about trying to get back into the more social aspect of running and to be honest after reading this section I really wanted to again. Sometimes you really don’t realize how much or what you miss when all you do is run to run.
Another thing that I enjoyed were the short bio snippets about runners that I had read about in running magazines over the past 40 years. It gave quick stories about: Helen Klein, Dick Collins, John Keston, Ruth Anderson, Walt Stack, Joe Oakes, Dr. George Sheehan, and Ron Kovacs. I learned a little about each person – although each could/should have their own book and I am sure they would be very interesting reads. The little snippets were great additions to the book, not filler.
The one quote from the book that really stuck with me was:
“Change is going to happen. It happens every day. There is no way to stop it. We have two options: to be “victims” of change, kicking and screaming and whining all the way, or to get a jump on it and embrace the change in our lives by instigating some of it ourselves before it has a chance to instigate itself. The way we have some control over exactly what the change is and what outcome to expect.”
My shortened version of what he is saying is:
It is your life and it is up to you to make the choices that decide what your future can be. Just know what the choices are and what you want.
For a book that I wasn’t going to finish reading, I am glad that I read it. However, it is not a book that I will keep in my running book library and I would like to give it to someone else that would like to read it. No contest or anything, just one runner giving another runner a book.
If runner out there would like “Running Past 50”, just ask for it in the comments and I will email you to get your address and try to get it out to you pretty quickly.
Have you read “Running Past 50”? What did you think of it?
What running books do you recommend that I read next?
I would give it a 5 out of 10.