Everyone writes books on running. If you run (maybe a little, maybe a lot), you write about it (maybe a little, maybe a lot). I think at some point these running books gain critical mass, and become more than the sum of their pages. Why? Because if you run (maybe a little, maybe a lot), your probably read (maybe a little, maybe a lot).
I love imagining the emergent properties of things, as though you observed it strictly from its behaviour, and don’t understand its innate nature. Running books would have a great story. In the beginning there may have been one or two running books, little critters cowering in the corner of the sports section, thin and emaciated, travelling alone. Then the running book-beast, by all observations, began to multiple at a geometric rate. At some point they gained critical mass – a Phillip Ball phase change, no doubt. They began travelling in herds, swarming across the great plains of bookstores.
The humans continued picking at their masses, but they only grew more – the progeny of word of mouth. They began flocking into your bedroom, lying passively supine, waiting for you to gorge on their dietary suggestions, training regimes, and introspections. Now, few bedside tables have gone untouched, the running book-beast as ubiquitous as its domesticated distant cousin, the post-thanksgiving diet book.
By some groups, it has gained almost religious status, with rituals and doctrines that indicate (again solely by observation) that this animal is almost sacrosanct. ‘Coming of age’ rituals develop between the runners and the book-beasts, e.g. when a running group leader ‘borrows’ a dog-eared, coffee-stained, beast to a neophyte runner uttering sacred words such as “…oh you don’t know about fartleks? This is a great book on it which will help you set up a training regime using fartleks to increase your pace.”