Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

The Roasting Tin

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 | Books, Food

The Roasting Tin is a cookbook by Rukmini Iyer. It promises “simple one-dish dinners” and it delivers. I like it. Stick a bunch of ingredients in a roasting tin, stick it in the oven and in an hour or two you will have nice food. Not much messing around and nice results.

There is optimum roasting time. The short roasts were a bit dull, and I didn’t get great results from the really long roasts which I think come out better if you slow cook them. But the range of an hour or so seems to be the sweet spot for this book. I recommend the five-spice pork chops and smokey sausage supper, both of which make excellent and easy to prepare meals.

Mindful Running

Monday, August 17th, 2020 | Books

Mindful Running: How Meditative Running can Improve Performance and Make you a Happier, More Fulfilled Person is a book by Mackenzie L. Havey.

It’s a nice read. Nothing suer-new or much I did not know, but if you don’t practice mindfulness already or use it in your running, this would be a recommended read.

It was also a good reminder of what Havey calls our “True North Goal”. The thing that keeps us going regardless of what races are coming up. For many of us, it will be to stay on top of our physical and mental health, to challenge ourselves, to show ourselves we are stronger than we thought. A timely reminder given almost all of the races in 2020 are cancelled.

The Prison Doctor

Sunday, August 16th, 2020 | Books

The Prison Doctor is a book by Dr Amanda Brown. It is an autobiography (or maybe a biography given there is a co-author, although it is written in the first person) that discusses her times working in prisons.

After a spat over the new GP contract, she leaves per practice and goes to work in a young offenders prison, Wormwood Scrubs and later a women’s prison. It’s an okay read. Well written.

Quicksilver

Saturday, August 15th, 2020 | Books

Quicksilver is a historical novel by Neal Stephenson. It is part of the The Baroque Cycle, although I don’t really know what that is.

It jumps around which kept things interesting. The pace differs. Lots of details about the ships, not much about the plague or the fire. Overall, it was enjoyable, and I will probably end up reading more of the series.

Gotta Get Theroux This

Thursday, August 13th, 2020 | Books

Gotta Get Theroux This is an autobiography by Louis Theroux. It was always going to be a half-decent read as Louis is such a good storyteller. Although, he would probably be one of the first to admit that his documentaries are the result of a team of people that he happens to be the face of.

I didn’t know much about Theroux’s persona life. For example, I did not realise that he started by working with Michael Moore. I knew he had a family, but to hear his dreary tales about domestic life was a nice reminder that even rockstars have to do some chores.

Some documentaries get a lot of time. Others don’t get any. As may be expected, there is a lot about Jimmy Savile in the book. The audiobook includes a whole bonus chapter about “Jimmy Savile deniers” have some have dubbed them.

Overall, a good read.

Out of Orange

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 | Books

Out of Orange is an autobiography by Cleary Wolters, the real-life inspiration for Orange is the New Black‘s Alex Vause.

Although the book makes reference to prison, there is very little about prison in it. It’s mostly about the international drug trade and her involvement in it. Nor does Piper feature much in the story. It probably won’t surprise too many people that the TV show doesn’t draw much from reality.

The book is a slow start and I wondered whether to continue. But I thought I would give it one last chance on a long training session and it picked up as it got into the details. It was an okay read; not one of my favourites.

Wicked Healthy Cookbook

Sunday, August 9th, 2020 | Books, Food

The Wicked Healthy Cookbook is a cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno and David Joachim. It’s nice in that it talks a little bit about the theory of making vegan food. But everything felt quite involved and hard to make, or easy to make but with hard-to-find ingredients. None of the recipes has made it into our regular rotation.

Dirty Vegan

Saturday, August 8th, 2020 | Books, Food

Dirty Vegan is a cookbook by Matt Pritchard of Dirty Sanchez fame. I tried a bunch of the recipes but I couldn’t really get into it. None of them has made it onto our regular rotation.

One-Hour Guide to Sport Nutrition

Thursday, May 21st, 2020 | Books

New book alert. If you are an athlete, coach or just someone interested in learning more about nutrition and exercise, The One-Hour Guide to Sport Nutrition will give you a fundamental and practical overview in around an hour’s reading.

We’ll cover macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and how they work. `But we’ll also look at personalising nutrition, the psychology of healthy eating, managing hydration, losing weight safely and how to fuel before, during and after exercise.

It’s available on Amazon in paperback now.

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 | Books

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance is a book by Alex Hutchinson.

It’s an interesting book for understanding the limits of human performance from both a physical and psychological point of view. Not that all questions are resolved. But there is plenty of discussion.

Below, I have picked out a few points.

Typically, you don’t run yourself to exhaustion. Your brain stops you before you reach that point. And that starts from the minute you start exercising. For example, cyclists set off slower from the start on a hot day.

But when you get in sight of the finish, you know the danger is over and you can sprint. Hence we can be hurting so much until the final straight, at which point we find that last bit of energy to push across the line.

How does this work? Is there some kind of internal regulation in the brain that we are not consciously aware of? Or is there another explanation? For example, could we be tapping into anaerobic energy?

It seems likely that the brain does have some control. For example, everyone finishes a marathon in just under 3, 4, 5 hours. Only the brain can respond to these abstract concepts. So why do so many more people finish a marathon in 3:59 than 3:47?

Similarly, how is it that the limit that climbing a mountain without oxygen turns out to be almost exactly the high of Everest? If Everest was a little smaller, or a little larger, would it turn out that the limits of climbing without oxygen were different also? It seems likely given that it was thought to be impossible until Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler did it. Then they changed the sums to show it was just possible.

Finally, a note on hydration. We often hear the idea that if you wait until you are thirsty, it is too late. But voluntary dehydration seems to be fine in the short term. Top marathon runners sweat more than 3.5 litres per hour. They replace nowhere near this much. If our performance drastically drops when we lose 2% of our body weight, how did Gebrselassie become an Olympic champion when losing 10% of his body weight? That is not to say drinking to thirst is the perfect strategy for running a marathon: but it does seem to be fine for everyday life.