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Steve Wagner, Published June 03 2012

Wagner: A good book can offer inspiration, motivation for exercise

Bemidji, Minn.

As summer rolls in, we are rewarded with sunny days, warm nights and boundless opportunities to get outside.

The calendar is packed with events, vacation plans and things to get done. Our best efforts to do everything can be a little mind numbing, which can make it tough to stay motivated.

Choosing the next big race is always a good place to start. Last week, I shared some races to help provide a source for some motivation. But even if you haven’t signed up for your next race, celebrate your freedom and our sport by heading outside Wednesday for National Running Day. Find out more online at www.runningday.org.

Another source of inspiration is simply taking a break and picking up a good book. Granted, it won’t keep you in shape for the next race, but it provides better appreciation for our sport. Here are some titles to keep you motivated:

- “Eat and Run: My unlikely journey to ultramarathon greatness” by Scott Jurek. This book, on shelves Tuesday, chronicles the life of the Minnesota native who burst onto the ultramarathon scene after a mediocre high school and college career. Jurek became a legend after winning some of the most grueling races.

- “14 Minutes: A running legend’s life and death and life” by Alberto Salazar. A name now synonymous with the marathon and Nike, Salazar has become an elite coach after struggling with injuries and depression.

- “Relentless Forward Progress” by Bryon Powell. While it focuses on the ultramarathon, there is some well-worded training advice for those tackling shorter distances.

- “Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze” by David Davis. Ready for release June 19, it comes just in time to get some inspirational reading in before the U.S. Olympic Trials and this summer’s Olympics in London.

- “Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games” by Lopez Lomong hits the shelves July 17. Lomong was an Olympian for the U.S. in 2008, and will again be a strong candidate to make the team this summer.

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com.