Sometimes we need someone to kick us in the behind and get us moving. If we are to believe the news reports of the ever-growing problem of obesity in the United States, many of us need some encouragement. That's exactly what Ruth Field, a.k.a., The Grit Doctor, gives the readers of her book Get Off Your A-- and Run! A Tough-Love Running Program for Losing the Excuses and the Weight. (This is the U.S version of her U.K. release, Run Fat B---h Run.) (She doesn't obscure the naughty words. This is a family blog, so I have chosen to redact her words. . . .)
Field takes a basic, no-nonsense approach to get the non-runner out the door. Her premise is that anyone can do it. Her plan is pretty basic: start walking for an hour and a half, several days a week. Eventually start jogging part of it. She's realistic about the fact that it won't be easy to get started: "Embracing the fact that this is going to be hard is the only cure for the terminally unmotivated." And she's not out to make you into a speed demon: "Go slow. Go slower. As slowly as is humanly possible. The aim is to go as slowly as you can for as long as you can without having to stop. As soon as you have to stop, it is time to walk, not to sit down . . ." Sound advice for beginning runners who give up too quickly because they go too fast.
Her focus is on women who are inactive, especially those who want to lose some weight. Her basic formula: "run, eat less junk, lose weight." I totally agree with her. Too many weight loss plans focus on a special diet, and underemphasize physical activity. She writes that as we become more active, we will naturally gravitate toward better foods. I think she's overly simplistic on this point, but then I was pretty convicted on the hard line she takes on candy and soft drinks: "Frankly, as an adult, you should be ashamed of yourself if you are still buying candy and soda on a weekly basis. Stop it now."
I might have to try one of her motivational methods: "When I want to lost a few pounds urgently, I look in the mirror early in the morning--pre-shower, no makeup, and with my entire naked body in view--and I repeat to myself over and over again, 'You fat b---h.' I then glance immediately at Cameron Diaz or another equally buff celeb in a bikini. . . and the mantra begins to take on a life of its own." Whatever works, right?
Get Off Your A-- and Run! is certainly geared toward the beginner runner. I guess she figures there are plenty of books on the market that go into more detail about splits and training plans. She talks about running intervals, and long runs, but is pretty casual about times. "Fooling around with stopwatches is generally better for wasting time than tracking it. Just mix up your speed during your regular runs and don't worry about the exact times." I enjoyed her breezy, get-to-it style. She leaves the non-runner with no excuses.
She sums it up nicely: "If you take only three things from this book, let it be these: Run. Drink more water. Eat less crap. You. Can. Do. It." If most long-time runners are anything like me, it doesn't hurt to be reminded of these three basic rules. Field is a motivational running coach with attitude, and has little patience for those of us who can't seem to get off the couch. Run!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!