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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Run Like A Mother: A book review

I came across Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving--and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity about a month ago.  The book was mentioned on my friend Angie's blog (check it out, she's a damn good writer.)  The premise sounded interesting, so I contacted authors Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea to ask if I could review the book.  They happily agreed.  This would be the first book I reviewed on my blog, and it has nothing to do with ultramarathons or barefoot running!

The book is advertised as a resource for running mothers.  At the very least,I assumed I would be able use some of the information and tips to help support my wife Shelly.  She has been making tremendous strides at improving her running after three children and a thyroidectomy.

As a male runner, my expectations for this book were limited. Much to my surprise, this book turned out to be so much more than a book for running moms.

Simply put, this may be the single best "new runner" book I have ever read.  If you are not a runner, this book should be your first introduction to the sport.  If you are an experienced runner, Dimity and Sarah share enough helpful tips to make it a valuable read.  If your female significant other is a runner, this book will give you tremendous insight (and empathy) to the unique issues and struggles she faces.

Hint for husbands... Sarah shares a tip in Chapter 20 that will make up for the cost of a new book many times over!  Oh yeah, and if you are a running mother, this book is DEFINITELY a must-read!

Since I started reviewing things, I have developed a custom of giving the products away to friends that could use them.  So far, the only items I have kept are my Terra Plana EVOs, Invisibleshoe huaraches, Evolution Running DVD, and this book.  I cannot bring myself to part with it.

The Specifics

The book is organized as a series of chapters covering all major topics associated with running.  All of the chapters are divided as each author gives their take on the various topics.  Between the two, Sarah claims to be the more competitive runner.  After reading the entire book, I would honestly say I would classify both as competitive.  As a certified lazy slacker, both of their training routines made my head hurt... but in a good way.

The topics covered range from why they run, motivation, clothing, running partners, nutrition, races, children, injuries, and a host of topics in between.  This book really would serve as a complete introduction to all things running.

Throughout the book, both authors use some self-depreciating humor and excellent story telling to relay critical information.  This makes the book both accessible and memorable.  After reading the book, I feel as though I know each of these women.  I think this familiarity adds impact to their advice.  It feels as if a good friend is guiding you through a journey to become a runner.

Of course, the reoccurring theme throughout is advice on balancing family life and running from the perspective of a woman.  As a father of three young children, almost all of the advice was perfect.  I believe the content and writing style Sarah and Dimity use greatly expands the audience of this book.  Any relatively new runner of either gender will find the advice useful, though most guys may not care much for discussions on sports bras and periods.

The Difficult Part

When I received the book, I was saddened to see chapter five... shoes.  As would be expected from a barefoot runner, I hated this chapter.  Reading it actually made me angry.  I bristled at the discussion of replacing running shoes as they wore down, the wet test, and advice to buy expensive shoes versus cheap shoes.  AHHHH... my head was ready to explode!  If you are a barefoot runner, my advice would be to buy the book and immediately rip this chapter from the book.

Also, there were a few times both authors talked about running as if it were not something to be enjoyed.  In my mind I attributed this to their shod running, but that's probably just my anti-shoe bias.  How CAN you enjoy running with your feet entombed in foot coffins?!?

Their writing conveyed an enthusiasm for running that actually made me want to be running instead of lying on the couch reading.  The incongruities of a few comments about running being difficult or not something to be enjoyed was my other lone complaint.


Despite the shoe chapter and occasional "running is not fun" comments, I loved this book.  Even though it was not written for my demographic, it is one of the best running-related books I've ever read.  I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone new to running, female runners, and the partners of female runners.  As I said earlier, Sarah's tip automatically makes this a perfect self-serving-though-appearing-to-be-thoughtful gift any man could give his girlfriend or wife!  I am actually considering this book as birthday and Christmas gifts for all my friends and family.  Of course, I will remove the shoe chapter before wrapping...

The book is available from Amazon:

The book is also available on the Kindle:


  1. awesome review Jason and I agree with it completely! Thanks so much for the shout out...**blush**

  2. I'm over via Angie. I read (and reviewed) this book, too. I loved it, being a new (although fully shod) runner myself. However, I have to agree with them that running is not always fun. At least not for me. I wish it were. :)

  3. A great book! More than just about running it teaches other valuable lessons like i shared in my book: Boys On The Gold Coast.Barefoot Running teaches about balance in life, the competitive spirit, and something people enjoy.It's an easy read that i would recommend to everybody.Marvin Ferguson, father-in-law to a runner.

  4. I thought that I had won a copy of this book from Barefoot Running University, but I never got it. :(