Pete Magill’s ‘Born Again Runner’ book offers masters motivation

Pete, who turned 55 in June, wrote a page-turner.

Masters 5K legend Pete Magill has published a new book, “The Born Again Runner,” which gave me reason to interview the South Pasadena author. Among other things, he explains his skepticism of “shiny objects” — digital devices marketed to runners. I also pinned him down on doping. He told me: “Runners should definitely take medicines their doctors prescribe to protect their quality of life. But they should also understand that drugs that function as PEDs don’t give a little boost. They give a huge boost that is unattainable to someone not using those PEDs.” I was very impressed with the dozen mini-profiles in the book, including one of his Speedrunner partner, coach Eric Dixon. It’s heartbreaking. Eric saw his dad shoot his mother dead. But buy the book for the rest of the story.

Masters are profiled in Pete’s first book since “Build Your Running Body.”

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August 24, 2016

6 Responses

  1. Curt Morgan - August 25, 2016

    Obviously, this book’s just out so I haven’t read the it. I posit, however, that there are many good alternatives to (high-impact) running, especially for older athletes. It does seem that “everyone’s” joints eventually go (at least in “my” gym), so why punish them? I like the stationary cycle myself, but there are many other related devices. I myself did run 5K’s until ten years ago but I gave them up (too boring and too tiring). In my 70’s, I run 400m in relays, and the occasional longer distance (1000m, 1500m) and hold my own.

  2. Pete Magill - August 25, 2016

    Curt – If you’re enjoying a solid aerobic workout that isn’t running, that’s one of the other many exercise choices available to us, then by all means stick with it! Distance running isn’t for everyone. But understand that the idea that running hurts your joints is 100% incorrect (I tackle this myth in the book). In fact, non-runners have 7 times the incidence of knee and hip replacement as runners, and almost twice as many walkers as runners develop osteoarthritis (for many, running is part of the treatment for osteoarthritis).

    Just like muscle responds to weight training, bone and other connective tissue are living tissues that respond to stimulus. And the impact of running (plus other stresses created by running) is a great stimulus for connective tissue! Can you overdo it? Absolutely. Just like you can overdo muscle training. Is it boring? Not to those of us who live for the weekend long run through the hills, or whose routines include a healthy mix of distance, tempo, intervals, drills, plyometrics, resistance training, cross training, and, yes, even 5Ks (and sometimes miles, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, and more!).

    Bottom line: If people at your gym are having problems with their connective tissue–with the bones, tendons, and ligaments that form those joints–running is part of the solution, not the problem.

    This book is geared toward new runners and runners returning after a long absence from the sport, as I did at age 39. So if you know someone who thinks they might want to run but also thinks there’s a reason they can’t do it, this is the book for them (the book tackles dozens of myths and excuses). It’s also got a solid section on injury-prevention (photo-instruction for specific injuries), as well as what I consider to be some pretty good advice for all runners.

    Okay, now I’m sounding like a huckster, so I’ll sign out. 😉

  3. Weia Reinboud - August 25, 2016

    I fully agree with Pete. I once had an MRI of my knee some time after a bike accident. The osteopath was impressed by the thickness of my knee cartilage and said it was most likely caused by the very high impact training for the high jump.

  4. Matt B. - August 26, 2016

    Most of my sudden running injuries have occurred while running on trails. Earlier this year, I twisted my left foot so violently the peroneus tendon yanked so hard on my fifth metatarsal it broke in half.
    I’m trying to avoid trails as much as possible now, with all their ruts and inconsistencies. Having had several injuries and sprains over the years on account of that surface, I have had enough!
    I agree the high intensity stuff does strengthen bones in general but if you are genetically predisposed to weak ankles as I am, choose your surface carefully! No matter what I do to attempt to strengthen my ankles, I’m vulnerable. Running on the roads and track with moderate mileage will do just fine for many years to come.

  5. JES - August 27, 2016

    Sounds like the book is aimed at current and would-be distance runners, casual and competitive; is there anything there of interest to middle distance runners and sprinters? Also, it does not appear to be available in Kindle format. Some of us prefer that to dead tree format.

  6. Pete Magill - August 27, 2016

    Kindle is running late – expect it in the next couple weeks (along with other eBook formats). For current middle distance runners and sprinters, who already have a solid base and are competitive, this book isn’t a great fit, although my first book, Build Your Running Body, certainly would be. That said, I utilize the exact same approach (and philosophy) put forward in this book to begin EVERY training cycle–I usually take at least three weeks off at the end of a long training year, then start up again. In fact, I took most of May-June off this summer to start a new biz, then started training again in July. For two weeks, I did nothing but walk/jogging and some cross training (as outlined in book), then used the book’s approach to begin increasing volume and intensity. With the subsequent solid base for all my systems (muscular, nervous system, CT, etc.), I’m already back to 70+ miles/week, including weekly intervals, tempo, hills, a full set of drills, and a long run — all with zero sore spots. So, no, not gonna help you at the high end of your training and racing, but still the best advice I can offer on building your fitness from scratch (either as a beginner or runner returning after time off).

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