At long last, summer vacation season is here. It’s a rare time when athletes might have some unprecedented free time. Whether you are laying on the beach, sitting on a long flight or relaxing by the pool, these recently and soon-to-be published books can keep your mind on your training, even if you’re giving your body a well-deserved break.
1. IF YOU WANT TO FEEL INSPIRED
“Endurance: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zátopek,” by Rick Broadbent
Emil Zátopek redefined running. A world-record holder and winner of the 1948 Olympic 10,000m in London, he became a global phenomenon. But life wasn’t all about running: He found himself cast into political exile. This book explores his challenges and how he coped.
2. IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THE THEME TO “CHARIOTS OF FIRE” ON YOUR RUNNING PLAYLIST
Featured in the Academy Award-winning movie “Chariots of Fire,” Eric Liddell was an Olympic Gold medalist and the world’s greatest sprinter. However, most people don’t know his inspiring story: He was a devout Christian, who never raced on Sundays. He even opted out of competing in an event in the 1924 Paris Olympics because it fell on the Sabbath day. (He won the 400m at that Olympics.) After winning gold, he traveled to China and ended up interned at a Japanese work camp. Imprisoned, he became the camp’s hardest worker, organized games for the children and became a ray of light for other prisoners.
3. IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY
A “New York Times” bestseller, this book looks at ancient feats of endurance to uncover how our long-ago ancestors crossed oceans and deserts without modern-day comforts. Written by an investigative journalist and anthropologist, Carney tackles this question: Can we tap into our bodies and use the environment to stimulate our inner biology?
4. IF YOU THINK LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES
“Running with Raven: The Amazing Story of One Man, His Passion, and the Community He Inspired,” by Laura Lee Huttenbach
A real-life Forrest Gump, Robert “Raven” Kraft, made a New Year’s resolution in 1975 to run 8 miles on Miami’s South Beach each evening. He has since logged more than 125,000 miles — not missing one night. What started as a lofty goal has since changed the life of thousands of runners who have joined him on a “Raven Run.” From all 50 states and numerous countries, Raven brings people together through their shared passion.
5. IF YOU HAVE A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN
“ATHLETE: Quotes from the Most Successful Athletes of All Time,” by Lucas Smith
Smith compiled a list of quotes from top-tier athletes, which can help motivate you to achieve your own endurance-sport goals.
6. IF YOU HAVE KIDS
“Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win,” by Rachel Ignotofsky
Publication date: July 18, 2017
Already an Amazon bestseller, this book chronicles the stories of 50 female athletes, along with colorful illustrations from the talented designer Ignotofsky. The target age group for this book is 8–12, but adults will appreciate it just the same.
7. IF YOU NEED A GOOD CRY
“What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen,” by Kate Fagan
Publication date: August 1, 2017
Fagan explores greater themes of mental illness and the pressure facing collegiate athletes today through one woman’s story. It hasn’t even been released yet and it’s an Amazon bestseller.
8. IF YOU PREFER TO LISTEN
“Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro”, Audible, by Phil Gaimon and read by Sean Runnette
If you have professional cycling aspirations, Gaimon brings his stories of road rashes and shattered opportunities to give you an honest look at what this life has to offer. Despite all the struggles, he brings a sense of hope and beauty to this challenging sport.