Life is full of rules. From the day we enter this world to the day we slip this mortal coil (not just a triathlete, but all book-wormish too!), we are subject to the rules imposed by our parents, government, friends, society, and even the occasional sport governing agency. Whether we choose to abide by these rules is the topic of another post, and I’m looking at you, drafters.
Needless to say, we have enough rules to remember and follow. Most rules are pretty common-sense. All the “Thou shalt nots” in that really old movie starring that dude from “The Planet of the Apes” are pretty basic, easy to understand, and you know right away when you’ve disobeyed one.
Rules constructed by our government or sport governing bodycan be vague, arbitrary, and even counterintuitive — health care or USAT, anyone? These rules, even though you are expected to follow them, may sometimes seem asinine, but since you weren’t consulted when the rules were made, you still have no choice but to follow them, or at least not get caught if you do break one of these rules. Even though rules are necessary, they can sure make life more difficult at times.
One of the greatest things about running is its simplicity. There’s no learning curve; we all learned how to run shortly after we learned to walk and have been running ever since. Sure, if you’re a “runner”, then there are workouts or tweaks you can make to your form to help you go faster, but for the most part, running faster just means simply running more. There are no tricks, no rules. To run, all you need is a place, a pair of shoes (unless you’re one of those new-fangled barefoot running freaks; be assured, that post is coming), and the ability to put one foot in front of the other, which is a skill that surprisingly escapes me way too often. You can run pretty much anytime, anyplace, by yourself or with others, with a bunch of gadgets or “au natural”. Running allows us to get away from the rules that govern our lives, even if just for a little while.
So who does Mark Remy think he is?
Remy, a writer for Runner’s World, is the author of The Runner’s Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know and Then Some. Remy has decided that there are rules that runners need to follow, that there are a lot of rules, like, more than a hundred, and that we should all memorize each and every one of them before lacing up for our next training run or race. In his book, Remy has compiled such valuable tidbits as:
- Pee if you must (kinda gross, but vital for wetsuit-wearing triathletes)
- Before a race or long run, strong coffee is your best friend (really gross)
- Love your tanlines (you know you’ve been training a lot when you have at least three different sets)
- Approach the expo with caution (or not, have you ever been to an Ironman expo? It’s glorious!)
- The whole pasta thing is way overblown (true – deep fried spare ribs!)
- Learn to love the farmer’s blow (the single most important skill a runner, cyclist, or triathele can master)
…just to name a few.
Each rule that Remy lists (and there are quite a few useful ones in this tome), is followed by a brief and entertaining explanation and why the rule should be important to you. If you’ve been running and racing for a while, then most of these rules will be familiar to you, and you probably won’t learn anything, but you will be entertained for a little while (the book’s perfectly short for the ADD running crowd). But if you’re new to the endurance sport life, then this book will be an entertaining and informative primer into what you can expect in the years to come. It’s not exactly Daniel’s Formula or The Complete Book of Running, but it’s certainly an entertaining look into the joy that running can bring.
Check it out; just don’t try to tell me what to do at a race.