Book Review: Complete Book of Women’s Running

Complete Book of Women's RunningRunner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running
by Dagny Scott Barrios
© 2007
324 pages

This book covers many of the topics that are fairly typical for most broad-based running books, with the added exception that it does focus on how some of these issues may affect women. So if you’re a dude… you may not necessarily be interested in this one!

The book takes the reader through the beginning stages of running to more advanced training and competing, complete with plans and information on racing. And like so many other books it has sections on motivation, nutrition, running alone vs. with groups, injuries, etc. Each chapter has a small box called “Training Log” with a first person account on the chapter topic, it makes the book feel a lot more personal and approachable.

The sections where this book really excels and is set apart from the other general running books on the shelves are:

The Balancing Act
A chapter completely devoted to the many demands placed on a woman and her time. More and more women are expected to juggle it all; career, motherhood, fitness, household duties, spouses… and we’re supposed to be cheerful and look good while doing it. That can really take a toll on someone. I don’t have the motherhood component in that mix yet, but all those other elements weigh on me a lot. So it’s nice to hear advice and stories from others on how they make it work.

Caring For Your Body
This chapter addresses many of the common pains that can come from running. But it also takes the time to address other ways your body may rebel. From acne and hair damage, to birth control pill effects & menstrual cycle, breast pain and other feminine issues… this book covers it all. It’s not real in-depth on all the issues, but it is enough to shed a little light on the way things can affect our different anatomy.

The Pregnant Runner
An entire chapter that explains the way growing another human being can affect your body and your running. From conception to birth, the chapter touches on it all briefly. It gives tips on ways to adapt your training through a pregnancy and how to come back after the incubating is done. There are entire books on the market that are devoted to pregnancy and running, and if you’re serious about running AND becoming a mother I would probably devour those as well, but this is enough to get you a little educated on the topic.

Overall, this book is a good resource, especially for a female who is just starting out, this book would be an excellent choice over the other options on the market simply because of the advice targeted directly to those with two X chromosomes. If, however, you’ve been running for a while and have many of the other books on running, this one isn’t going to provide a ton of new insight.



  1. thanks for the review! i have heard about this book but hadn’t read it yet. those first two ‘sections’ sound very helpful (the third just doesn’t quite apply:)). i wonder if i will ever get the hang of balancing my adulthood responsibilities with running. the 2nd part sounds really interesting – i’d definitely like to know more on those issues!

  2. Sounds ilke it might be worth it for me to try to get it from my public library – thanks for the review Jill!

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