Well, I finally found a running book that my library had on the shelves. I finished The Runner’s Field Manual: A Tactical (and Practical) Survival Guide by Mark Remy (and the editors of Runner’s World) in about 24 hours. It’s both entertaining and informative, and I flew right through it.
The premise of the manual is that runners of all abilities and experience need a reference guide to answer questions of technique, clothing, nutrition, safety, and strategy. For novice runners, the manual is full of common running knowledge that they could pick up after months or years on the road. For experienced runners, the manual will surprise them with a few tips and tricks they perhaps have yet to pick up and remind them of several guidelines they may have forgotten.
The most informative chapter for me was Chapter 6, “Dealing with Motorists.” Any runner who has run with traffic can testify that navigating the roads and sidewalks with multi-ton vehicles bearing down on them can be harrowing, but Remy cleverly reminds runners that motorists are afraid of us, or rather, afraid of manslaughter charges. Remy advises us to remember CPR and be Conspicuous, Predictable, and Respectful on the road and of motorists (101-102). In other words, we may need to dress like highlighters to ensure that drivers can see us (102). And we may need to concede that staying alive is more important than being right (102). And we all — motorists, cyclists, and runners alike — need to remember that traffic laws are in place to the road is as predictable as possible (102).
The most helpful tip in the chapter? How to deal with the overly courteous driver. You know, the driver that stops at a green lights and encourages you to run across his + four other lanes of traffic without regard for the drivers behind him or the fact that you’ll be playing Frogger with the traffic in the other lanes. Yeah, that guy. So what do you do? Look at the driver, shake your head, “No,” and wave him on. If he’s really persistent, you may need to take a step or two backward, cross your arms across your chest, raise your eyebrows, and shake your head again. By that time, the light will probably will have changed to red and you can cross safely.
The Runner’s Field Manual would be an excellent addition to any runners library, and it would make an excellent stocking stuffer or good-luck-on-your-race-today gift. While it’s not a training or technique book — books that I’m reading a lot of to shape my coaching methods — I might cite this book in a new runners class. For me it’s a good-to-have but not a must-have book for my library.
P. S. Remy has also written the The Runner’s Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know–And Then Some. No library in my network has it, so I haven’t read it yet, but I can imagine it would be as helpful and entertaining as The Runner’s Field Manual. If you’ve read either one, let me know what you thought of them!