Book Review: Run Forever by Amby Burfoot

Run Forever, by Amby Burfoot. Hachette Book Group, 2018. Reviewed by trail runner Laura Clark.

While sustainability is the new buzzword, spawning a return to cloth napkins and wooden toys, a true lifestyle approach should embrace more than just the outer trappings and delve more deeply into personal motivation. As runners, we choose an outdoor-centered life where our daily run forms a key part of our take on health and wellness. In Run Forever, Boston Marathon winner and former Runner’s World editor, Amby Burfoot, reminds us that the end of our PRs is just the beginning of a new phase of our running career. For Scott Jurek, it meant stepping back from the stress of winning and tackling the Appalachian Trail fastest known time (FKT). For Katherine Switzer it meant becoming a woman’s running ambassador. For others it might mean race directing, coaching a high school team, or simply enjoying the pleasures of an outdoor adventure.

Burfoot brings us back to our roots when he states that “Running is the simplest of sports,” and the format of his book mirrors this conviction. Chapters are three to four pages in length and each point is given its own black-faced heading– an ideal way to latch onto the topics which interest you. There are no elaborate nutrition plans, training tables or electronic gismos. Advice is basic and doable. It reminds me of my Dad’s maxim that the truth is always found somewhere in the middle.

If you are approaching middle age, Burfoot reminds you to “Celebrate every season of your life” and make your own flexible rules to accommodate each season. He cites the example of Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director, who now in his sixties, still celebrates his birthday by completing his own age in miles, but now adds cycling and swimming to the mix. If a yearly marathon is no longer in the cards, divide your effort into two half marathons. Add some walk/run efforts; keep your muscles sharp with weight training.

As runners, we know all this, but it helps to have a world-class runner and ambassador such as Amby Burfoot give us permission to discover different ways to enjoy the sport we love.