Running by the Book

This weekend I got chatting with my brother, sis-in-law, and my son in law, all of whom had run ‘Robie’, a race billed as the toughest half-marathon in the northwest because it consists of about 8 miles uphill followed by 5 miles downhill.  If the uphill portion doesn’t kill your knees, the downhill will.

My brother and his wife who’d run the race for fun, enthused about the party atmosphere.  My son-in-law (who doesn’t run any race slow, despite what he sometimes claims) talked about the unusually warm temps that day, and made it clear it’d been a really tough race.

In the midst of the talk, another sister turned to me and asked if I’d ever thought of doing a half-marathon.  “Yes,” I said.  “Someday.   Maybe.”

“You should run Robie with us next year!” enthused my ever-encouraging sister in law.

I have to admit that the thought appealed.  I’m always up for a challenge and in a race that tough, there’s no shame in walking some (or more than some?).  But a half-marathon at this point is far beyond my capability.  These days when doing my favorite 3.6 mile loop, I take at least a couple 5-minute walk breaks.  If I run something this year, it’ll probably be more in the 5K range.  And if I run a half-marathon ever, it’d probably be smart to pick something other than mostly-uphill Robie.

But this morning when I sat down with a heap of books I’d promised to review  (stay tuned for another Mother’s Day giveaway this week!) I opened a book that has been here for a few weeks but that I hadn’t had time to look at yet.  And it immediately sucked me in.

Running by The Book: Becoming Physically and Spiritually Fit is an intriguing mix of race-training manual and devotional.  The book is written by Corinne Baur, a certified running coach who has run distances ranging from 5K to ultra-marathons. The idea of the book is to encourage runners toward both spiritual and physical stamina, with the goal to run either a 10-k (about 6 miles) or a half-marathon (13.1 miles) at the end of 12 weeks.

With this book in my hands, I found myself scheming a plan.  There’s a race called the Harvest Classic in September with distances of 1,2 or 5 miles.  With the help of this book, I’m hoping to spend this summer training to run the 5-mile race.  If that goes well and I remain injury-free, I may even think about trying a half-marathon the following spring.  Probably not Robie –are there any half-marathons that are gentle downhills all the way?? —  but I’m excited to have a goal and interested to see how much I can improve over the next months!

Are you interested in challenging yourself to greater distances?  I have good news.  I’m giving away a copy of Running by the Book to one lucky reader.  All you have to do to enter is to tell me where you are on your running journey.  Are you a newbie?  An experienced runner ready to take your running further? Or somewhere in between?  Have you ever run a race?

For an additional entry,  go ahead and look up a race that happens this fall in your area.  Comment again and tell me when the race is and what distance it is.  Wanna run it?  Think about it!  🙂

I’ll be announcing the winner of this giveaway on Thursday!





  1. This looks interesting. I have just started running again and have entered a 5K race in June.

  2. I’ve been running for a few months now after living a fairly sedentary life. I wasn’t sure I’d get to the point where I enjoyed running, but am pleasantly surprised that I look forward to lacing up my shoes and heading out – especially with good friends to talk with.

  3. Krystal Griffin says:

    I pick it up and drop it off again because of shin splints, but I’m armed with some new shoes as of last week. I hope to run a 5k this summer with my sister.

  4. Oh boy! That book looks great. I ran the Seattle Rock n’ Roll half marathon in 2009. Two sweet babies later, I’d like to get back into running. My goal is to run the Seattle IronGirl 10k in September. Right now, my goal is to just get out of the house for a walk! I’m hoping that warmer temperatures and longer days will allow this Momma the time to get out and get moving again.

  5. I’m currently not running at all, and it’s driving me batty. Last January, I ran my first marathon. Two days later, I found out I was pregnant with twins, and spent the rest of the year on bed rest. Now here I am, the twins are 9 months old (and still not sleeping!!), with 40+ pounds to lose and having to start back at square one…Couch 2 5k, week 1, day 1. Looking forward to it though and always enjoy Your running posts. This book sounds really interesting. I have been constantly amazed at the lessons I learned from running a long distance, how how often I apply those lessons to other facets of my life. It was an absolutely invaluable experience.

  6. This fall, I’m hoping to run the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon in Savannah, GA in November. If I don’t feel ready for that, illdefinitely run one of my favorites, the Savannah River Bridge Run 10k in December, which goes over the Talmadge bridge twice.

  7. Not a runner at all- after living 10+ years of a sedentary lifestyle, finally started thinking about increasing physical activity a few years ago. After thinking about it for years, started going to the gym this past month. So far, have gone once a week for three weeks in a row, for 10 minutes. Not much I know, but better than what I was doing before! 🙂 Don’t think I can run a race yet but hopefully I’ll get there eventually.

  8. I’ve been really interested in reading this book! I trained for and ran a half-marathon back in 2009. I have 2 kids now, and would love to have some fresh motivation to start running again.

  9. Wow, I would love that book. As you may know from my facebook I am on my first running journey. I started this journey in Febuary to lose weight and to totally change my eating patterns. I am down 44 pounds, with lots more to go. After the first two months of walking and cardio, someone told me about the couch to 5k program. Well…I am always up for a challenge. I got two friends to join me, and I am running my first 5k in 28 days!!! I am on week 6 and LOVING it. I have never, EVER, run in my life. Not even to the mailbox. And now I am loving it. I get excited every morning that I am scheduled to run. I have found a new passion. And as soon as I am done with this program, I am going to bridge over to the 10k program. Why not right? God is so good. He literally has buried the old and is revealing the BRAND NEW!!!!

  10. A struggling runner here, I have started couch to 5 k so many times, I would love to read the book as I think a lot of my issues arise from my mental state! Good for you getting out there!

  11. Heather H says:

    I used to run- I ran the Kansas City half-marathon in 2008. Then I fell off the running bandwagon and have been trying to get back on ever since. I need something to motivate me- and since I am a multi-tasker I’d love to grow spiritually and physically at the same time.

  12. I’m a lapsed runner; I had an injury right before a 5K last year & am hoping to start up again soon.

  13. Looks like an interesting book! I’ve been running off and on for about 5 years, and finished my first half marathon (the almost entirely downhill 3M Half in Austin) this January.

  14. Stephanie says:

    So fun to see you mention this book. I am actually planning on leading this study with another women for a medical wives Bible study I in next year. We are planning on starting this book in the spring and ending with running either the half or 10k at the med-city race in beginning of June. I can’t wait!

  15. Newbie! Powerwalk, but I need to throw in some running.

  16. There is a 5K in October – Midnight Run.

  17. I have been running about 17 years. When I was in high school I was about 15 pounds overweight. I began walking and lost the weight and then began running. Since then I have run many 5ks and half marathons. Last fall I completed my first marathon! Right now the half marathon is my favorite distance to race, but I would love to get to the point where a marathon is a comfortable race distance. My friends and family say I am a “hard core” runner, but I say it’s all about the journey. Unless you are an Olympic medal winner there will always be someone faster/more fit than you. Running is a great sport because you can race against yourself. I would love a copy of the book!

  18. I am a wanna-be runner, recovering from abdominal surgery and pregnancy with my 2 week old daughter. Before I got pregnant, I had worked up to running almost 3 miles (or should I say jogging?). My dad, my brother, and my s-i-l are all running enthusiasts, and I have plans for a 10K next summer.

  19. Right now I’m “just” a walker but I go through phases where I run quite a bit. I enjoy it but it is challenging to remain injury free!

  20. Jamie Plank says:

    I am a lifelong runner. Running and competing in local races has been many things in my life – a form of exercise, a source of inspiration and energy, a competitive outlet, a shared pleasure with friends and family. Now that I am a new mother and a new Christian, running has become something wonderful and new again. My three or four times a week runs are my prayer time. A time to reflect on my day and thank God for my life. A time to regain some energy and perspective. A time to share the trails and the lovely spring weather with my little girl as she rides in the jog stroller. One thing about running for new parents: as a nursing and sleepless mother and a stay at home mom, I feel like I have little control over my time and my day and my body. I don’t know how long my baby will nurse. I don’t know how long and when I will be able to sleep. But when I go for a run I know exactly how far and how fast and how long. I have the illusion of control over my body and my movement and my time, and it is a luxury!

  21. After learning not to be afraid of trying to run (it only took 48 years!) I am now helping to coach a Girls on the Run team. Not everyone likes to run, not everyone needs to run, but everyone should know that they can do it if it’s something they desire.

  22. Mrs. Rachel says:

    I’m not a runner at all, but I keep thinking that I’d like to be. Maybe after my baby is born, to get back in shape?

  23. I am stuck in my running journey. I was up to about 6 miles last summer and then I became severely anemic and had to stop everything per doctors orders. I’m still not at the normal level yet, but have started walking and hopefully will start up again.

  24. We have a beautiful Marathon/Half-Marathon (I think a 10K) and a 5K in our town. It’s a Boston Qualifier. It’s on the beautiful Bizz Johnson Trail and has a wonderful slight down hill grade (I think 6%). It’s in mid October when the weather here beautiful and the fall colors are everywhere on the trail.

  25. The Blue Ridge Relay intrigues me. You form a team of 4 to 12 runners who combine to run 208 miles divided into 36 segments. The potential camaraderie and magnitude of this challenge seem exciting.

  26. Total newbie, hate running, not even sure it’s for me … but I’m giving it a chance with the c25k program barefoot. 🙂

  27. A real newbie. Started a C25K program a few weeks ago and am struggling. Caught a flu bug the 2nd week which didn’t help. I’m not giving up and since I’ve already registered for the 5k at the end I’m going to do it even if I walk part. The good part is that the 5k is mostly downhill!!!!

  28. Chrystal says:

    I run for fun, but have never completed a race. I would love to try and complete at least a 5k fun run.
    Good luck in your training.

  29. Because I’m all for getting another chance at this book, I plan on entering the Columbus Marathon on October 21. Never run anywhere near that distance, but if I can birth 4 kids, I can be mobile for 26 miles.

  30. Am 1 year into my running journey, pursuing becoming stronger and love the time of solace and chance to listen to praise music.

  31. Next race is a warrior dash — a first time to do this type of race for me and the hubby, happens next Saturday May 5th and is a 5K with obstacles!

    • Hi Mary,
      I’m new to the whole idea of not only running, but consistent exercise. I’ve always thought of exercising as a way to lose weight,and since I was pretty happy with myself, I figured I didn’t need it:0)
      Well 7 kids (4 bio, 3 adopted) and 10-15 extra lbs later, I found myself dissatisfied; not just with my weight, but with how I lived. I became challenged to challenge myself. I realized that all the things I looked to as “my time” involved food or sitting/sleeping – I didn’t do anything to push myself. Did I mention that I hate to fail?
      Last October my homeschool group challenged the kids and moms to compete in a 5k this summer. (It’s a beach run – I believe on the 23rd of June.)I reservedly took the challenge, but was quiet about it so that if I failed, no one would know. I first attempted a mile. I could barely run a block and thought I might stop breathing. I kept at it though, and discovered I liked running.
      I liked pushing myself physically. I liked being alone. I liked seeing a long straight road stretch out in front of me. I liked the cold. I liked listening to good music that caused me to think inwardly. I liked hearing from God – and how He would use what I was listening to to encourage, convict and motivate me. I liked the parallels between persisting physically and persisting in my faith “run.”I liked the energy it gave me and I didn’t mind sacrificing my other comforts and “treats” to run. I never got fast, but I did run (jog) up to 4 miles and was thinking of the possibility of a 10k.
      And then we moved. That was March and I since have only run about 2 times. I went back to old comforts and the illusion that I didn’t have time. I became ready to make a change again – and hurt my back.
      That happened last week, so can’t run now. But I’m planning on re-starting as soon as I can. The 5k in June is still my goal. And if anything, being injured has strengthened my resolve to run again.
      Thanks for letting me ramble. – Gena
      PS I love your cookbook and use it all the time:0)
      PS The rapper, Lecrae, is my favorite running buddy.

  32. I am a lapsed newbie! I stared off pretty gun-ho, but hurt my heel (planter fasciitis). I read with interest your posts on barefoot running and have been attempting to replicate the gait, and so far so good. I’m ever so slowly getting back into running. This book would be great encouragement!

  33. There is a 5k in our are that is in September during our Wizard of Oz fest – The Emerald City Hustle. They run right by my house and I would love to join in!

  34. I like how Kris above said it. I’m a lapsed newbie who was doing great on C25K when I developed planter fascitis too! Then, I got pregnant, then I had a beautiful boy, then I started C25K again and was doing great, then I had a recurrence with the heel pain, but in both of them. Would LOVE this book!!!

  35. There is a 5K in our town that my husband wants to run with our seven year old. I want to run it too. It’s the Corn Boil Classic.

  36. First, if you are looking for a downhill half marathon, check out Women Rock ( Not only is it downhill, but you get A zone of men fanning you and giving you grapes,
    Cheer zones,
    Plenty of water stops,
    Firefighters handing out your post-race sterling silver and pink sapphire finisher’s pendant,
    Champagne at the finish line, and

    I am currently training for my second half marathon, the Air Force Half Marathon in September. My first half marathon was the Rock N Roll San Antonio Half Marathon in November 2009. And I did it because I hate running. It took me about 10 weeks to train and I completed it in 2:31. This time, I’ve started out much slower in my training and dare I say it? I’m actually enjoying running right now!

  37. I was athletic in Jr high and High school then I got married and had five children. A few years back I was having problems with anxiety and my husband encouraged me to start exercising. Now running has become something we do together. We have done some half-marathons and 5Ks. My favorite race has been a 10K trail run for a Christian camp called River Vally Ranch. I like running in the woods. I am a slow runner who battles shin splints and plantar faceitus, but running become part of my spiritual life. I look forward to the day when I run with out growing weary and with out fear of injury. Right now running is a good time to wait upon the Lord.

  38. Newbie! But I’m doing a boot camp exercise class now and feeling stronger and stronger than I have been since the very last baby was born…13 years ago.

  39. I am new to this. Although I have been making significant changes to my lifestyle in the past month.

  40. jennifer bubolz-miller says:

    Total Newbie- My dh is an avid runner- he ran 13 miles yesterday. Im intrigued by the milwaukee marathon, but I know its a long way off for me

  41. Jamie Plank says:

    I hope to run the I Am Woman 5K in Lynchburg Virginia on October 27!

  42. I’ve always wanted to be a runner and have, at times, worked up to running a couple of miles, using Couch to 5K. Right now, I’m not running, but would like to start again. My son is preparing to do an Olympic length triathlon in June, which is inspiring! I would love to read the book about training physically and spiritually – I’m a multi-tasker!

  43. There’s a five k run at Sunriver, here in Oregon, in September. My mom has a vacation home there and it’s a great place to run! The trails are all nice and flat and the weather is lovely. Maybe, I’ll shoot for it!

  44. I ran track/CC in high school and have been running off and on ever since. I really want to run injury-free and stick with it. My knees aren’t what they used to be, but I’m tired of hearing my own excuses. I would love the book!

  45. There’s a 5K Run to Christ ministry benefit in June in my area. That’s a great goal.

  46. I have finally hit the 5K mark…but I can’t seem to get past that…hoping for some inspiration to get me to the next 5K.

  47. I’ve been training for my first half marathon. It is about 3 weeks away. It has been hard keeping the motivation and finding the time to train. But I’m excited to cross the finish line.

  48. I’m hoping to find more time to train for the October 20th South Jordan Utah Half.

  49. Thanks to your story and encouragement, I started the Couch to 5k plan last year. When I was almost done with the C25k program, I began having difficulty breathing. I was in a 5k and nearly passed out…enter the inhaler!

    Then winter set in, which is no-run time where I live unless you are hoping for broken bones, so I was downright lazy for 4 months. 🙂

    Here I am starting the whole C25k program again. I’m about 5 weeks in and still on week 3 (ahem!), but it’s definitely easier physically and mentally this time around — I know what to expect.

    My goal is to fit back into my wedding dress by autumn for our 10th anniversary…I’d better get running! 🙂

  50. Oh…so many to choose from! I think I’ll join my sister for a 5k race sometime this summer (I’m not sure which one she’s chosen yet), and then I’ve been eyeing some “Adventure” races for autumn…obstacle courses + mud! What’s not to love?! 🙂 (And yes, I am being all ninja-cryptic about location… If you really want to know where, Mary, e-mail me!)