Review: The Courage to Start

By | October 9, 2017

I really identify with John Bingham. His No Need for Speed was among the first running books I read when I got into all of this.  Although this is a short intro to some of the topics he covered at length in his other books, I felt like I learned a lot.

I also felt like he was talking directly to me in so many ways. I described this to the aforementioned friends today as feeling like I was talking to a friend vs. just reading an author’s words on a page. It’s almost as if I hired a coach for the price of this book off BookOutlet.

“I realized that the images used to describe runners didn’t fit me. I wasn’t a rabbit. I wasn’t a gazelle or a cheetah or any of the other animals that run fast and free. But I wasn’t a turtle or a snail either. I wasn’t content anymore to move slowly through life and hide in my shell when I was scared.”

I really like his take on Turtle v. Penguin. I’m OK with calling myself a turtle as it accurately represents the speed at which I run. I don’t think it means I’m hiding, but I like his take. I just had a conversation with friends over lunch about how running freed me up to wear hot pink. I don’t think it’s a weight loss thing — I think it’s an OK showing my colorful feathers. And I certainly chose my first 5K in part due to it being the Frozen Penguin.

I completely loved his take on the dichotomy between run faster and run further. I can comfortably push myself to run 5K on my own but never past that point save for that day in July. It’s not to say I don’t push myself when running on my own – I try to go faster or at least have some “speed” intervals and beat my own time. That’s one of my favorite games. It’s not that I don’t want to go further – I just don’t have the motivation to do it without folks around me. Tells me that if I do ultimately want to do longer distance I’m going to have to find a dedicated training partner. I’d like to get to the place though where my weekend long run is closer to 10K. I know I can. It’s just whether I will.

My favorite part? The internal dilemma as to when you can call yourself a runner. I know I am a runner because I go out and run 3/4 times a week. I run. But when people ask if I’m a runner? I can’t say yes because I don’t feel like a runner. Impostor syndrome is a thing – glad to know through reading a published author that I’m not on my own.

This book is short — and I’m glad I found it on closeout. I’m not sure I’d say you have to read this first, but there’s definitely some overlap with his other titles similar to Hal Higdon’s titles. I’d definitely recommend it – especially for beginning or back of the pack runners.

64/91 books. I had a catchup blitz since last post.

2 thoughts on “Review: The Courage to Start

  1. Liz Dexter

    It’s good to be reminded of this as I fret about being the last person on the running club’s marathon spreadsheet (it’s too keep track of who to look out for at the cheer station, but still a bit dispiriting). Thank you for reminding me that it’s OK.

    1. cari Post author

      That was my fear/reality when I had a bad 5K in a small field earlier this summer. I’ve not been last in a bigger run but this field was somewhere around 150 and yeah, dead last. Have a great race this weekend


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *