Running inspiration on World Book Day

ImageToday is World Book Day! With the boom in the popularity of running, the advent of YouTube and more satellite sports channels, there are more great running books than ever.

To celebrate World Book Day, I have decided to list a couple of the running books which has inspired me.

Born To Run

No surprise here. The story sees Injury prone runner and journalist Chris McDougall goes in search of an elusive figure in the ultra marathon world Caballo Blanco (White Horse). His journey takes him  the Copper Cannons the home of the worlds greatest long distance runners the Tarahumara. Chris explores the secrets of the Tarahumara, the history of ultra-running and science behind barefoot running. A group of the worlds greatest ultra runners end up in the Copper Cannons taking place in the greatest race the world has ever seen, this book includes vegan ultra running legend Scott Jurek.

Finding Ultra

Rich Roll was 40 years old, unfit, unhappy in his career as a lawyer and a secret alcoholic. After his 40th birthday he decided this was going to change. He embarked on a remarkable journey which sees him adopt a vegan diet and take part in Ultraman, basically IronMan x3, his journey is a remarkable one and essentially reading for anyone wanting to do something extraordinary.

Eat and Run

Scott Jurek is a legend in the ultra marathon world, he won the prestigious Great Western States 100 mile race 7-times in a row and the Badwater ultra marathon through Death Valley twice. He discusses his upbringing and unlikely running journey. Scott went Vegan in 1999 and believes this has played a key role in ability to recover and run harder for longer.

Running with the Kenyans

This book sees British author Adharanand Finn go and train alongside the aspiring runners in Kenya. He reveals their training secrets and he goes on a barefoot running journey of discovery.

What I talk about when I talk about running

A runners classic, Murakami talks about what drives him to run, why running matters to him and how it enables him to write. A brilliant book which will make you look into yourself and explore the reasons you run.

If you decide to buy these books, please do through using the links in the titles above. The money will go to funding the Rich Roll Podcast as I have used his affiliate links.

What are your favourite running books? Drop me a tweet or comment below. Happy reading and running!

Long miles with a great friend

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Running with friends is the best! Ok, not quite as good as the post run carb fest I usually embark on but it comes in a mighty close second place.

This Saturday marathon training got real for Damien. I had to run for 1:20 hour and I was dreading it. I had asked my amazing friend Joe Phillips to come along with me and although he plays football goes to the gym and has ran some impressive half marathons in the past; he hadn’t ran over 10k in nearly 18 months. So to be honest I wasn’t sure he would make it. But on Saturday morning the sun was shining and Joe messaged me to say he was coming for the run.

We ran to Walthamstow Marsh, along the lea valley river, Hackney Marsh, onto Regents Canal, through Victoria Park, dragged ourselves through London Fields where all our discussions turned to what we were going to eat when we got in and finally made it back to mine with 10 miles in the bag in 1:28.15

Joe was a total hero and a true friend to not moan about my 8 minute over calculation but hey, what is a mile between friends?

Afterwards we embarked on eating some delicious organic bananas before heading to the Vegan cafe the Black Cat to thoroughly carb up and enjoy ourselves.

I am lucky to have a few lovely friends who run with me and hopefully this will be the first of many amazing runs with Joe.

Love Run 10k + marathon training update

Damien Clarkson after the Love Run 10k  (picture by Ivo Gormley)

Damien Clarkson after the Love Run 10k (picture by Ivo Gormley)

Whisper it quietly but I think the pissing wind that has plagued runners for months might have disappeared. Bring on the Spring! Or at the very least some cold and dry weather.

In just 13 weeks and 2 days I will have completed my first marathon. Currently I feel the Edinburgh marathon is looming above my head like a giant zeppelin about to drop a bombardment of ruined feet, shattered hamstrings and chaffed legs.

You would think that following a 16 week plan would leave me brimming with confidence. But boy would you be wrong. I have realised marathon training is hardcore, the sheer amount of miles, the tight muscles, the lack of sleep and destruction of your social life. These are all key elements of marathon training. And I have just taken a work contract at Government Digital Services. And although this is a superbly flexible forward thinking workplace, I am going to be spending more of my time tied to a desk not able to just drop my work and go running when the mood takes me. Scary!

So you would be right in thinking that I am struggling to hit my target miles at the moment. Last week I completed just 16 miles but this did include recording a new PB in the Finsbury Park Love Run 10k. Powered by a 8 banana smoothie, I kept my record of recording a PB in every race since I started writing this blog back in September. I recorded a chip time of 46:13 coming in 53rd out of 293 runners.

Damien Clarkson running the Love Run 10k  (picture by Ivo Gormley)

If you went out running last Saturday you will know how crazy the wind was. Everyone who took part in that race last Saturday or just went for a run anywhere deserves huge credit. It was literally insane, so much so that I got blown to a literal stop running for the finish line.

I was running with team GoodGym last Saturday. Everyone of us put in a wholehearted performance and super speedy Shaun Dixon won the race at a canter. GoodGym Founder, Ivo Gormley took some wonderful pictures I have shamefully borrowed for the site (thanks Ivo) and in other exciting news GoodGym is now an affiliated UK athletics running club. As if you needed another reason to come along and take a look if you live in London. I am already dreaming of the wicking t-shirt I am going to be able to buy with my cumulative £2 pound race entry savings.

I also made a video of the race below. Please give it a watch and perhaps give it a like and subscribe.


What else happened in the last 2 weeks. Well my Garmin 210 decided to stop working, meaning I lost 3 very average miles on Strava. Luckily I was able to exchange it for a new watch today, hopefully this Garmin lasts more than 4 months.

I am also just about the enter the Hackney Half Marathon at the end of June. I am so excited about running the streets of the area I have lived in for the past 4 years. I would love it if you came and ran this race with me.

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If you are training for a marathon how is it going? How do you squeeze the miles in? Also does anyone have an April half marathon they would recommend?

Tomorrow I will be running for 1:20 hr taking my weekly mileage up to around 18 miles. 13 weeks to go, I am nervous but still just about optimistic.

Damien