Running and Breathing

Like me or not, I am what I am. (George Sheehan)

runners on beach

The mind of meditation (click on photo)

Welcome to RunningandBreathing.com,
a site devoted to self-appreciation, exploration and life practice,
with running at its core.

Here you will find articles and links to thoughtful and well-informed
ruminations on running and life practice.

Click on the photo to the left, as one example,
to listen to Sakyong Mipham talk about running and the mind of meditation.

You will also find links to inspirational videos, books from amazon and other websites.  I hope you enjoy these and that they assist you in your life and practice.

 

 

For informational and instructional videos on all aspects of running, visit the Basics page.

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 Book Reviews

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Body, Mind, and Sport: The Mind-Body Guide to Lifelong Health, Fitness, and Your Personal Best

Without a doubt, this is THE book I have been looking for.  I started out a few years ago following an inner call to return to running/fitness.  My goal was to find some way to integrate eastern mindfulness principles into western fitness practice.  Pretty much everyone told me to try yoga.  But I simply felt no passion for yoga – for abandoning my western fitness roots and replacing them with this eastern alternative.  I LIKE competition.  I LIKE running and jumping and moving my body in ways that are only possible when engaging in western fitness.  I actually started this site as a way to explore my interest, journey and commitment.  But I have to admit I felt stumped.  I was making inroads into the emotional interconnection between mind, body and sport, but not really training inroads.  I was still suffering from injury.  No matter how much progress I made emotionally and no matter how much consciousness I brought to bear while I was training, my feet still hurt.  Then I stumbled upon an interview with John Douillard.  I was so impressed by what I heard, I ordered a copy of his book.  I began reading it as soon as it arrived and have been incorporating the principles outlined in it ever since.  What’s so great about this book is that Douillard succeeds in synthesizing all the concepts I’d been reading about – nasal breathing, slowing down to get faster, eating healthy, etc – in such a way that, finally, I feel like I understand how it all works together.  It IS possible to train in a way that rejuvenates and recharges your body rather than constantly breaking it down.  It IS possible to train in a way that FEELS good, always.  And it is actually possible to improve one’s performance by training in just such a way.  Douillard’s ayurvedic perspective is priceless, as is the method he outlines for transitioning to nasal breathing and, correspondingly, to a training pace that keeps you squarely within the aerobic training zone.  Yes, I recommend this book!

posted on 12/31/2013

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Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You

I have to admit that I did not expect to appreciate this book so much.   I tend to be a little wary of motivational type books outlining the keys to success.  But this one is so grounded in personal experience and humility that the power of it, rather than overwhelming you or wowing you, strokes and soothes you instead.  I have my own ways and practices, and I think it is important for everyone to find what is right for them, but the practices and insights offered here can only help along the way if they feel right for you to incorporate.  I have tested them briefly and they are quite effective.  Even if you are like me, though, and you prefer to stick with your own tried and true practices, it is well worth reading this book.  There are as yet not a lot of people out there actively engaged in the integration of spirit and sport.  Brant Secunda and Mark Allen are two people who are.  And what they have created in the form of this book is a balm for those of us seeking to do the same.

posted on 12/17/2013

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Daniels’ Running Formula – 2nd Edition

I’ve never met Jack T. Daniels’ personally, but he is hands down one of the best coaches I’ve ever come across.  His knowledge is grounded in science and his wisdom is grounded in concern for the well-being of those he is training.  Fortunately for the majority of us, he has taken the time to condense all of his wisdom and knowledge into book form.  It just so happens that I have still not finished this book, despite having started it months ago.  The reason?  I simply don’t want it to be done.  I pick it up, take in a few pages, put it down.  I want to be able to keep coming back to it.  When I’m done, no doubt I will start it again (something I don’t typically do).  What is it that so draws me to this book?  Daniels’ very evident caring.  Despite all the heavy science, the ideas and principles underlying it all come from a place of caring and concern for the athlete.  And that means I both want to and can understand them.  Despite all of my personal experience as a competitive runner and my education as a personal trainer, I don’t think I’ve ever understood the principles of training better than I have since delving into this book.   I’m sure I’ll read other great books by some other masters, but really, as far as I’m concerned, no other book is needed.  Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already and pick this one up!  (Note: there is now 3rd edition available: Daniels’ Running Formula-3rd Edition)

posted on 11/9/2013

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Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life

One thing that seems true in our world today is that, generally speaking, the human organism is not healthy, vibrant and well.  We seem increasingly vulnerable to external disease threats and internal chaos and stress.  From my perspective (homeopathic), our approach to prevention and treatment only worsens our individual and collective state.  We seek to shield ourselves (vaccines) from the enemy without or suppress and palliate this enemy when it makes its way in.  All of these interventions make us more sick and more susceptible to illness.

What does this have to do with Nora Gedgaudas’ book on nutrition?  Well, the first rule of health is, “We are what we eat”.  Gedgaudas’ takes a rigorous, intelligent and essential look at our collective nutrition habits and zeroes in on the main culprits – sugar (which includes basic carbs in the forms of grains and starchy vegetables).  She also examines our reliance on conventional medicines (pharmaceutical drugs) and the unsupported and ill-advised vilification of healthy fats (which includes animal fats).

I don’t happen to agree that there is one diet for all people or even one diet for one person for one’s entire lifetime.  However, it is my opinion that the information in this book (and there is a wealth of it!) is essential to understanding our human predicament, in terms of health, at this time.  If you want to get well, read this book.  Maybe you won’t want to implement her recommendations, but you will come away with much greater awareness and this awareness, ultimately, is the first essential step to a return to health.

posted on 9/19/2013

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For more book reviews, see the Book Review Archives page.

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 Latest Finds

RunnersConnect interviews Dr. Phil Maffetone about the superior health benefits of training at 50% or below of max HR.

RunnersConnect interviews Dr. Phil Maffetone about the superior health benefits of training at 50% or below of max HR. (You need to scroll down once the page comes up)

 

Bill Knowles on rehab/reconditioning elite athletes.  Some great perspectives that I feel will eventually trickle down to how we approach rehabbing the non-elite patient.  In addition to this video, there is a great video clip in the background of this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R65gI-Av0WY

Bill Knowles on rehab/reconditioning elite athletes. Some great perspectives that I feel will eventually trickle down to how we approach rehabbing the non-elite patient. In addition to this video, there is a great video clip in the background of this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R65gI-Av0WY

 

Really great video on how to do A & B Skip drills properly.

Really great video on how to do A & B Skip drills properly.

 

Dr. Jeff Schneider on Active Release Technique (for soft tissue injuries)

Dr. Jeff Schneider on Active Release Technique (for soft tissue injuries; I will be trying this in a couple of weeks for longstanding plantar fasciitis injuries)

For more finds, see the Video Archives page.