Gerry Curtis – Running Book Recommendations

Today I met with the outstanding athlete Gerry Curtis who has some of the most incredible records over numerous distances including 13.34 for 5,000m and for 28.01 10,000m and 2.14.37 in the Boston Marathon. Gerry invited me to his home to show me the books, that he believes, that any runner, whether you are a 5k runner or a marathon runner would reap benefits from. Gerrys home is a typical runner home stuffed with foam rollers and stretching aids. Gerry has a small group of athletes which he coaches, that he opens up his home to, where they receive the insight in being the best of their ability. Tea and cake were dished up by his wonderful partner Denise, who is a passionate cook, with the choice of 2 cakes to devour, Gerry recommend the chocolate pear was the best and he was right it didn’t disappoint. It was down to business with a stack of running books which all look well read with notes and bookmarks in every book. Gerry broke the books down into categories and the first category was coaching books which Gerry refers to regularly when he is creating his individual plans for his athletes

Coaching Books

Road Racing for Serious Runners – by Pete Pfitzinger

This is a beginner’s book, it doesn’t go into as much depth as other books. This book has training plans from 5k to Marathon. These plans are simple plans to follow. This book deliberates the benefits of base training and discusses how you should do a 10 week base training plan depending on what mileage you would like to be covering on a weekly basis, once you have the base training mastered then you can move onto the training plan for specific distance. He discuss’ what to expect from each training plan. All these plans are easy to follow with only one speed session roughly per week. This book can be used for self-coaching.


Running Formula – by Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels was an Olympian himself and is a Sports Scientist. He has coached some of America’s top athletes over the years. This book describes the types of training that people do such as Tempo, Altitude, Threadmill, VO2 training. It is explained in this book, the purpose of these training techniques and the effects of these types of training on the body and what each person will get out of each of them. Jack Daniels provides training plans in the book. The training plans are colour coded from white up to gold elite plans. The white plan is a starter plan for run, walk, jog. All plans are broken into 12 weeks. All programmes are easy to read and simple to follow and each can progress to the next level. The book explains the effects of running on the body, not just on your breathing, but your cells and bones. It clarifies that it takes a long time for your body to adapt to running, not just your breathing but your body as a whole getting stronger. This is not a beginner’s book as it is quite in depth into running. There is a chart in the book that estimates your marathon running time, if you follow the plan and you know what your pace is for 5,000m. It also breaks down what speed you should be running at for Tempo training, Marathon training, Easy running, Race pace and Interval training. An in depth book for training.

Advanced Marathoning – by Pete Pfitzinger

A book for the more advanced runner. This book is for people who have at least a 55 mile weekly base. This book has 9 different plans for marathons depending on where your weekly mileage is based. The book discuss’ the benefits of recovery, fluid intake, wearing the right clothing, the right nutrition whilst also providing plans.


Running & The Body

The Science of Running – by Steve Magness

This is a very science based book, which goes in depth of how the body works and how it is affects the body. This book is for a strong runner who wants to get more into the nitty gritty of training and body. It also mentions the benefits of weight training in conjunction with running. This book also has good training plans.


Running and Being – by George Sheehan

George Sheehan was a heart surgeon that wrote many articles for Runners world. This book is about the philosophy of running, and the effects on our lives because of running. How our personality changes with running. How running becomes a way of life. It is entertaining book that can be read over and over again.


Anatomy for Runner – by Jay Dicharry

This book discuss’ how mobile the body should be in order to be a strong runner. How a runners’ body should behave and the body’s range of motion. The book highlights how stretching benefits the body and the mechanisms and exercises are valuable to create a good range of motion.


Inspirational Books

Running with the Buffalos – by Chris Lear

This is based on a true story. The Buffalos were an American Football team and Mark Wetmore is a coach for the college who has 12 athletes that he has to train for cross country championships. (There is a sad side to the story that Gerry wouldn’t let me in on so this is one I definitely have to read). The book covers how the team trained and where they trained and how as being a part of a team affected all the personalities involved. It is a truly inspirational book that will fire any runner up especially if someone has reached a lull in their training or if they are injured. And really enforces the power of training as a group or team.


Once a runner – by John L Parker

This is a novel written about a university student training for the Olympics. This book makes you want to get out and run and make the best of yourself no matter what it takes to get there.


From Last to First – by Charlie Speding

This book is the biography of Charlie Speding who finished 3rd in 1984 Olympics. This book tells Charlies story of how he was on the brink of becoming a great runner or being a mediocre runner and how he made his decision to be a great runner. This book speaks of the hard work of getting to the next level in running before the garmins and electrolytes. How hard work and achieving your goals can make you great and having self-belief will bring you further.


In Conclusion

All of the books listed, Gerry believes there is something in them for everyone. Gerry gave me more than his time he gave me some insights into basic grass routes running. A very genuine man, who only wants the best for any runner, and to, better themselves. An advocate for running in Ireland and a legend in running through the 80’s and 90’s setting records that some still have not been beaten. He still trains 7 days a week between running and swimming. I cannot thank him enough for his time and letting GoRun have an insight into the life of one of the greats and also thanks to his partner Denise for the fabulous cakes. His advice to any runner, HARD GRAFT, CONSISTENCY and SELF BELIEF