I was given the opportunity to read Running for Women by Jason Karp and Carolyn Smith. Most women’s running books I’ve read were written by women, so it’s a little interesting that a man was one of the author’s for this. However, Jason Karp is an authority on running and training so it’s not like it’s written by some Joe Schmoe off the street.
I really liked how this book covered all the fundamentals of running, from starting out to the challenges one may encounter such as injuries or lack of time. But it’s all done with a slant specifically toward women. The entire book is truly written toward women.
There are the necessary chapters on women’s specific issues (menstruation, pregnancy, menopause) but they’re are in there first and foremost, not as simple afterthoughts like others seem to do. And it actually gets into the nitty-gritty science as to how these issues will affect training and a training cycle.
I loved the included strengthening, stretching and plyometric routines. They describe why each was an important facet to training overall, how it specifically benefits women, outlined how to do each of the moves and included a sample schedule to actually incorporate all of those into your training.
If you know a woman (or are a woman) who is just starting with running, this would be an excellent gift (or purchase). And if you are a female who has been training for years, it is worthwhile to pick through the book and pick up some pointers to improve your training or to at least help cut yourself some slack. I know that women tend to demand a lot of themselves, but there are certain points in your training cycle that fluctuate due to hormones. If you can, it would be wise to build your training schedules with step-back/recovery weeks when your monthly cycle falls. I think that’s a concept I may try on myself in the future.
Basically it just helps us remember that women aren’t just smaller dudes and we need to approach training a little differently. We have different injury potential and different strengthening needs!