The Muscle Whisperer: The keys to unlocking your back pain by Sophia Kupse (Amazon, £7.99)
If you are a runner and you suffer from back pain life can be tough, can’t it? Trying new therapies can sometimes help your condition. Kupse gives us a self-help guide that explains why neck, shoulder and back pain occur so commonly. Based on over 20 year’s research and using individual case studies, Sophia Kupse, known as the Muscle Whisperer, looks at why back pain has become the silent epidemic of 21st century living.
This book aims to help the reader understand why they suffer from back pain and how they can diminish or eradicate it for life. Sophia challenges the myths surrounding back pain, which state that it occurs mainly from physical trauma. Over 85 per cent of Sophia’s clients see her because they do not know or understand the cause of their pain.
We are also introduced to Kupse’s revolutionary treatment for back pain, the Langellotti Tri-Therapy (known as LT Therapy) which goes beyond normal massage. Kupse is a leading pioneer in holistic medicine, using Eastern and Western methods as the foundations of her treatment, including volcanic heat and ice marble.
Kupse explores how our brain plays a key role in processing the language we use to deal with stress, and how the way we react to challenging situations will cause our neck, shoulder and back pain to intensify. The more negatively we react to a situation, the more adrenaline and cortisol we release. This can then be converted to lactic acid, which may build up in the largest muscle groups of the body – the back. Over time, regular accumulation of this toxin forms clusters that develop into hard knots. These eventually put pressure on the sensory nerves in the neck, shoulder and back muscles, creating irregular and increased pain. The keys to releasing this pain effectively are shared in the closing chapters.
Insightful and motivational, Sophia attempts to not just give solutions, but to help the reader understand and take control of their back pain. I can testify that Kupse is a formidable therapist; let lose on my back she unlocked pain that had been building for four years. If you ever get the chance to attend one of her clinics, you, and your back, will be transformed.
Marathons of the World (New Holland Publishers £14.99) by Hugh Jones and Alexander James
This may well be the ultimate guide to 50 of the world’s best marathons. It’s one of those books that looks, feels, just ‘is’ wonderful to have and to hold. The races are all there for you to dream of escaping to; the practical details, expert analysis and pictures had me salivating as Hugh Jones and Alexander James whisk you off to every marathon you could ever hope to run. The question I asked myself, as I turned each page, is how am I going to fit in all of these amazing races?
This is a great guide to all who run, have run or wish to run, on which marathon to choose and why. I particularly liked the difficulty rating, special considerations and insider information that this book delivers, and felt both marathon apprentice or master would be left with no doubt about which race is right for them. You don’t have to be a seasoned marathon runner to relate to this read. Novices can pick up this book and find motivation on every page.
Once you have gained such an insight to so many potential adventures, it may be a question of fitting in life around future marathon goals rather than vice versa! Any runner will also looking at and learning about all the marathons you haven’t run. And for me, the marathon that most stood out of the pages has to be the Midnight Sun Marathon in Norway… this really looks like a race of a lifetime. Stunning photography and a book for life.
Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for training body and mind by Sakyong Mipham (Three Rivers Press, £8.99)
Are you looking to reconnect with running, and your inner self? This book is insightful, wise and simple, and has the power to allow you to rediscover the joy of running. Sakyong Mipham is able to offer insights into synchronising the mind and body, in a profound way. The basic meditation instructions are instantly accessible, and when repeated over and over gain depth and provide enlightenment to both running and life.
“Running with the mind of meditation is a way to connect with the inherent worthiness that we all possess as human beings,” states Sakyong Mipham. “It is a method to synchronise our body and mind – our life with the world around us – so that we may become healthier and more joyous in every moment.”
As a Tibetan lama and leader of Shambhala (an international community of 165 meditation centres), Sakyong Mipham is a highly respected spiritual leader. He has found physical activity to be essential for spiritual well-being. He’s been trained in horsemanship and martial arts but has a special love for running. His lessons are simple and designed to show how the melding of internal practice with physical movement can be used by anyone – regardless of age, spiritual background, or ability – to benefit body and soul.
This book has the potential to inspire any runner to explore a much deeper level of working with their mind whilst running. Whether you want to buy someone a book to ignite their passion for running, or want to gain greater insights after your own long running career, this book will benefit both body and soul. If you run, walk, bike, or just like being outdoors, this is for you.