Smart Running (Jen & Sim Benson) – book review

Smart Running by Jen & Sim Benson
Smart Running by Jen & Sim Benson

Smart Running is the latest book by Jen & Sim Benson.

Released in 2024 by Vertebrate Publishing the book takes a look at the technical aspects of running, but in a manner that is understandable to all runners, rather than those already well versed in the detail.

Vertebrate kindly sent me a copy to read and review for the website and whilst this was provided to me, my review is independent with the publisher only reading it at the same time as everyone else.

As a running coach, I have plenty of books on the shelf relating to different aspects of training theory. They are, on the whole, pretty dense tomes of information which can be pretty intimidating if all you are after is a bit of information to satisfy a question that you thought about whilst out on a run!

On the other hand there is the internet. As with anything you look for online, what tends to fill the search results is opinions rather than facts. And unless you’re well enough versed in the subject, it’s hard to extract the proverbial wheat from the chaff, the signal from the noise. And knowing whether something is fact or fiction isn’t always obvious.

Smart Running

This is where Smart Running, by Jen & Sim Benson comes in.

Smart Running by Jen & Sim Benson

Smart Running by Jen & Sim Benson

This 230+ page book is full of useful content, whilst keeping it at an appropriate level for the interested but general runner to understand.

As such, it’s not over-facing, nor is it full of jargon whilst at the same time being much more than a brief skim over the subject matter. Separated into 19 chapters (see image below for their contents) the book walks the reader through all the key areas to consider, from fuelling through to kit as well as how to assemble a basic block of training.

Whilst it’s no substitute to having a coach, it is ideal in helping the individual runner understand the components of good training and how they fit together. It even includes some suggested strength & conditioning exercises that can be done at home as well as ideas for how to structure your long run, tempo run etc. So it is an option to help you improve your training by understanding why we do these things and gives you ideas about what to focus on.

Another advantage of the book being co-authored by this wife & husband team is that it more ably covers different viewpoints and experiences that men and women can experience, be it socially e.g. working with under-represented groups or biological e.g. managing training around the menstrual cycle. Both authors share personal accounts of different parts of their running throughout the book which helps to illustrate the points they are making.

It is certainly a book I would recommend to my own runners to get a more detailed understanding about how they can get the best out of their running, without overloading themselves with the finer details.

You can obtain your copy of Smart Running by clicking the link here.

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