If you didn’t read my review on the other two books I read (Jeff Galloways Book on Running and Run Like a Mother)….. you won’t know that I HATE reading.  I’ve read a total of 3 books in the past 10 years (other than kids books to my daughter – I kid you not) so if I say I read a book cover to cover KNOW that it was good.

With that said…. I was asked to read and review “The Ultimate Beginner’s Running Guide: The Key to Running Inspired” By Ryan Robert.  It’s an ebook – available for Kindle (which I don’t have) so I started reading on my computer.  Honestly nervous thinking “how am I going to get through a book when I HATE reading” and “what do I say if I hate it or get bored or don’t agree”. I was surprised when I was nodding my head along in agreement with the first line… then the second… by the third line I was highlighting and making note to use the line as a quote (my first kindle book – I LOVE the note/highlight thing!!).

“To begin running is to truly begin to build self confidence, to enjoy being outdoors with friends and fellow runners, or to be by ourselves for reflection and solitude”
Before when my friends would ask “where do I start” I would tell them to start a Couch to 5k or 5k101 program – but in all honestly I will most definitely tell them to start with this book.  It is not only informative but it’s a quick easy read and at $2.99 – seriously I don’t know how you can turn this book down?   I love having it on my phone now because it’s like a quick reference guide.
Ok….so back to the book… I’m not drifting after the first few lines – and actually hanging on each word.  Before I knew it I was literally 1/4th of the way through the book and had found myself constantly highlighting and making notes.  I was highlighting little tricks on form mainly but also nodding along with the benefits on running. 

Yup – I was TOTALLY digging this book!  I think what I liked most about it was not only that I agreed with everything he was saying but I LOVED how easy it was to read.  Very conversational – not overly technical. 

FANTASTIC info on footwear.  I highlighted NUMEROUS things in here that I agreed with.  I won’t spill the beans – but just know he hit the nail on the head.
Loved the info on stretching and totally got called out on the most common “after a run pose”.  Think about it… you run your rear end off – pushing it when you see the finish…. you are tired and exhausted but when the mileage on your watch hits a whole number.  You push stop and what’s the first thing you do?  I bet it’s fold in half with your hands on your knees…. Not supposed to do this.  Um, OOPS.  But again – I’ll make you read the book to see why :)  So even though I’m not a “beginner runner” I’m learning some stuff!!!
I can’t tell you how much I LOVED the section on Confidence, Embarrassment and being Self Conscious…. I mean – you would have thought he interviewed me before writing this book!!!  That was SO me and I KNOW so many of you.  I can remember thinking “I hope no one is looking out their window at me ‘running’ right now….” Fearing they were laughing at the girl that couldn’t make it 20 feet before walking again.  Or even now when I run with my experienced running friends and I think they are judging my sloppy form…  So motivational and this really did put my mind at ease :)  I almost wonder if this should be at the FRONT of the book??!!
Training and Performance:  I loved all the info on heart rate – I wear a heart rate monitor but honestly had no clue what I was supposed to do with the data.  Seems most sites are too technical and this section spelled it out without being way over my head!!  All the tips on training and performance were spot on.  Encouraging hill work, etc (one thing I stress to my friends but rarely do…. I need to take my own advice!)
I know I keep saying I “loved” the info – but I did – and I loved the info on staying motivated because that’s something a lot of beginner runners struggle with!!!
Nutrition and Hydration: UGH this is so huge.  I’m a huge crazy annoying person when my friends run without staying properly hydrated.  As you’ve seen I’m a HUGE HUGE HUGE FuelBelt fan.  I have gotten to the point where I don’t even run 3 miles without taking the palm holder with me…. or at least having fluids before/after the run.  Anything 6 miles or more and I’m generally wearing my FuelBelt. 

Now nutrition…. I won’t explain the crazy wheat/grain free diet that I attempted last month – but I think Ryan does a great job being realistic with food/meals without being fanatic about certain things.  He said I could have sugar.  I’m going to pretend those are doctors orders or something…. Authors orders?? :)  Ok, ok… he said a “little” sugar.  It’s just refreshing that he’s not barking some crazy fad ultimate diet plan – it’s normal “this makes sense” eating.

And finally – injuries.  I loved how he highlighted the most common injuries that runners get – explained why they get them, how to handle them, suggested tips for stretching and how to put them on the mend.  I’m one of the VERY fortunate ones that has not suffered a ‘common’ running related injury – or any injury for that matter, but so many of my friends come to me asking for help and I couldn’t google to find better info than is right here in the book.

Oh and there are a few other sections in here that I didn’t highlight in this review but just know that it was all spot on with what I believe and recommend.

Looking back – the only thing I questioned was his comments on how to heel strike in the form section.  This is a topic I’m hugely conflicted on.  Realistically I KNOW most beginner runners are NOT going to automatically run on their forefoot – so I guess his explanation of the heel strike does help… and he does mention shortening your stride if you notice pain (which is probably due to heel impact)…  But who am I to judge?  I’ve been in Newtons for 3+ years now and just about every race picture I have is me in a heel strike.  It’s HARD to land midfoot/forefoot…. Unless you are running barefoot -but I don’t recommend that to a beginner.  And I’ve been injury free my entire running career – so I guess bottom line is if something hurts, find out why and fix it ;)  So I’ll let that little tidbit go.
I don’t know if you could tell or not – but I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!  “Ultimate” definitely is the word I’d use to describe it!  So………. what are you waiting for – get the book!  Even if you are not a ‘beginner’ – maybe you are newer to running, maybe you have been running for years… It doesn’t matter.  This will reaffirm stuff you think you know – and it brings out a lot of stuff that may be 2nd nature to you now – but it will help you when encouraging new runners!!!

Read and enjoy!!! 

And for the record – I don’t get any kickbacks from this. Ryan didn’t pay me to write this review and he’s not paying me to link to it.  Yes, he did waive the $2.99 fee for me to read it free (not that it would have broken the bank haha) – but I seriously loved this book so much I was pleased to post this spreading the good word!  After you read it let me know what YOU think!!! 

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